Notebook: Freshman CB Roberson stepping up for Gators
Published: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 9:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 9:35 p.m.
It's still early, but Florida coach Will Muschamp said some players have made some positive impressions during the first week of camp.
One surprise has been the play of Florida true freshman cornerback Marcus Roberson. A Fort Lauderdale native who played at St. Thomas Aquinas High, Roberson has impressed Muschamp both on and off the field.
"Marcus comes from a great high school program, first of all," Muschamp said. "He has been very well coached. He's a guy that football is very important to him. He spends an awful lot of time studying the game, spending extra time in the meeting room. He's always early to the meeting room."
On the field, the 6-foot, 178-pound Roberson has shown the ability to cover UF's first-team receivers in practice.
"He gives great effort on the field and God has blessed him," Muschamp said. "He's got length. He's got top-end speed. He's got great ball skills. So all the critical factors you are looking for in a defensive back, he's got."
Muschamp has been cautiously optimistic about the play of Roberson. But he also understands Roberson will need to maintain consistent play in the next few weeks to have a chance to move up the depth chart.
"I've been very pleased in five practices," Muschamp said. "He's got to continue to do it. A lot of times in my position and my experience freshmen hit a wall sometimes. We'll get to that 12th, 14th or 16th practice, and then to consistently do it over and over again, for some guys, it's hard.
"I'm not saying it hasn't happened. But I'm saying that is something you generally are looking for when they hit that wall. So we just have to keep pushing them through that and hopefully they can get better."
Fan day upcoming
Florida will hold its football fan day on Aug. 20 from 3-6 p.m. at the O'Connell Center.
The fan day also will include the UF volleyball team. Members of the Florida volleyball and football programs will be available to provide autographs on Gator team posters provided by the Florida athletic association. Fans cannot bring in their own items to sign due to NCAA compliance issues.
Gates will open at 2:30 p.m. for the event. In addition, the lobby of the Heavener football complex will be open from 2-6 p.m. for fans to be able to view the national championship trophies from 1996, 2006 and 2008.
Beating the heat
Muschamp was asked whether there had been any heat-related incidents through the first week of camp. He responded by knocking on the wood table below him and saying, "No we have not."
The heat index in Gainesville hovered between 102 and 106 on Wednesday. Florida held its practice in the morning.
"Gatorade does a great job for us in our training stuff," Muschamp said. "They know how to handle it. We've got tents on the practice field. During our breaks we get them out of the heat. We have misters and all of those things over there. So, so far we've been pretty solid with that."
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the tragic death of Eraste Autin. Autin, a freshman fullback, died from complications related to heatstroke following a voluntary Florida workout in July of 2001.
Muschamp thanked Florida lacrosse coach Amanda O'Leary for the use of the lacrosse facility for early practices. Muschamp said he intends to spend at least another week practicing there before coming back to the UF football practice fields.
"They've got a great surface and our people do a great job (maintaining it)," Muschamp said. "I think our guys have enjoyed a little change of pace to go over there."
Florida had previously held camp at the intramural field adjacent to the Southwest Recreation Center. The new camp has been more cost-effective because the lacrosse facility is owned by the UF athletic department. In prior years, Florida had to lease the intramural fields.
No squats for Sturgis
Muschamp said place-kicker Caleb Sturgis is kicking the ball well early in practice. Sturgis didn't boot kickoffs during spring drills, but has done some kickoffs early in camp.
"He's been kicking some kickoffs, but not at the tempo we want him to have it," Muschamp said. "He's strong. He had no issues in the summer. As far as workouts, he's changed his routine."
One of those changes has included in the weight room. Muschamp has had strength coach Mickey Marotti alter the strength program for Sturgis. Sturgis suffered a back injury while lifting weights that forced him to miss the final nine games of the 2010 season.
"He's not doing squats anymore," Muschamp said. "Mickey wants to have him to power clean and squat and dead-lift and we need him to be a good kicker."