Gators' spring breakdown
Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 5:02 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at 5:02 p.m.
Before we start speeding off toward the dog days of summer, veteran football beat writer Robbie Andreu offers these final thoughts on Florida's spring practice:
The 'O' has a chance to really go
Florida's offense will continue to be a work in progress over the summer, but we have a pretty good idea now what it is going to look like in the fall. It's going to have a little bit of everything — a pro-style passing attack, the power I running element, the shotgun, the spread option, the Wildcat formation. The Gators have three quarterbacks who each do different things. John Brantley is a passer, Trey Burton is a runner and a passer, and Jordan Reed can do a little bit of everything operating the Wildcat. With so many options, this offense is going to be tough to prepare for — and tough to defend.
This cat can really scoot (and hit)
If redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins remains at middle linebacker (and that appears to be the plan), the Gators likely will have the fastest middle linebacker in college football next season. This kid is fast, and he makes plays from sideline to sideline, which he showed all spring and in the Orange and Blue Debut. He not only gets there, he delivers explosive hits. Overall, the linebackers may be the strength of this team. It's a very fast group, and Jenkins is the fastest.
Brantley's impressive laser show
Brantley certainly didn't disappoint this spring with the way he was zipping the ball to his receivers with great accuracy (and very pretty spirals). And here's something we haven't seen much lately — a quarterback stepping up into the pocket and delivering laser shots. Brantley looks very much like a future NFL quarterback. Now he needs to keep working on the leadership aspect.
Some questions still on 'D'
The Gators have some potential problem areas to address between now and the start of the season. They still haven't filled Joe Haden's role at the field cornerback position, although Jeremy Brown appears to be the leader (if his back holds up). Depth on the line is also a concern, especially at end. Those three stud freshmen coming in this summer — end Ronald Powell and tackles Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley — could solve that issue.
Comeback player of the spring
It has to be senior wide receiver Carl Moore. Not only was he returning from a season-ending back injury, he made a second comeback after missing practice for two days to attend to personal issues. He came back in a big way, closing with a strong week of practice and perhaps the performance of his career in the spring game. UF certainly is feeling a little better about the situation at wide receiver.
Rainey, Debose looking good in the slot
The Gators never found someone to fill the Percy Harvin role in the offense last season. Now, it looks like Chris Rainey and Andre Debose are ready to do it. Rainey improved his receiving skills this spring and is a breakaway threat in the open field. Debose showed a lot of explosiveness over the final few days and should be 100 percent in the fall.
Some spring superlatives
Best true freshman — it's a tie between quarterback Trey Burton and strong safety Matt Elam. Burton improved by leaps and bounds, while Elam made plays from the very start. Most improved player — Jordan Reed. The former QB should be a major factor in the offense, at tight end and as the Wildcat quarterback. Best tailback — sophomore Mike Gillislee was there day in and day out, consistently making plays. Rising offensive star — wide receiver Deonte Thompson looks like he's ready to take on the role. Rising defensive star — Jenkins looks like the next big thing on the UF defense.