Forget rumors, Powell and Easley at practice


The Gators' Dominique Easley speaks with the media during the 2010 University of Florida Football Media Day, Tuesday, August 10, 2010 at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla.

Erica Brough/ Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 5:32 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 at 5:32 p.m.

It started out as one of those simple Internet rumors that came out of nowhere and grew and grew and grew over the course of the day Wednesday.

The original rumor was five-star Florida freshmen defensive linemen Ronald Powell and Dominique Easley failed to show up for Tuesday's practice because they were unhappy with the way some of the older players were treating them.

By noon, this little nugget was added: Powell and senior offensive lineman and team leader Mike Pouncey had gotten into a fight the day before.

By the middle of the afternoon it mushroomed into this: Someone "reported" that Powell and Easley had cleaned out their lockers and were on their way out of town.

At about the same time the latest rumor surfaced, Powell and Easley were spotted by The Sun, in uniform, walking into the practice field for Wednesday's practice. Powell was wearing a smile on his face.

Because no UF coaches, including head coach Urban Meyer, were available to the media Wednesday, it could not be confirmed whether Powell and Easley had actually missed Tuesday's practice (and if they had, the reason for it).

But they practiced Wednesday, and both are expected to see playing time in the Sept. 4 opener against Miami of Ohio.

Starting quarterback John Brantley was the only UF player made available to the media Wednesday. He said he'd heard the rumor about Powell and Easley earlier in the morning.

When asked if he knew whether Powell and Easley had practiced Tuesday, Brantley said, "I do not. I've heard those rumors from people, but that's the coaches' deal. They take care of that behind closed doors."

Meyer will be available to the media Thursday evening.

Powell's high school coach said Wednesday that he talked to Powell last week and that the nation's No.1-rated recruit expressed no negative feelings about UF or Gainesville.

"He's very happy and excited there," said Pete Duffy, the coach at Rancho Verde High in Moreno Valley, Calif.

Even for five-star recruits, the early phase of their college career can be stressful and demanding, and some think about leaving. The Gators have already had two four-star recruits quit — safety Jordan Haden and wide receiver Adrian Coxson. Both received their release from UF. Coxson has decided to transfer to Maryland.

Brantley said the veteran players and the members of the 2010 recruiting class have, for the most part, gotten along well and there have been no obvious problems.

"We've been mixing with them fine," Brantley said. "They came in here and they're going to try to make an impact. They've been working hard, and you can't ask for anything more.

"We don't do any of that hazing thing here at all. Just like everyone else, they want to try to come in here and find a spot and play. You've got to respect that. As long as they're working hard, we don't mind."

Correspondent Edward Aschoff contributed to this report. Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com.

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