Notebook: UF up to speed


Florida's quarterback John Brantley hands the ball off to running back Mike Gillislee.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 11:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 at 11:33 p.m.

JACKSONVILLE — Florida's offense was back at full strength Wednesday with the return of wide receiver Deonte Thompson and tailback Jeff Demps.

Thompson was sick and missed Tuesday's practice, while Demps was excused from Tuesday's practice to attend to a personal issue.

Interim offensive coordinator Brian White said Thompson showed no signs of being sick at Wednesday's practice.

“He did some pretty good things today,” White said. “He didn't have any issues with reps or stamina. I was pretty pleased with how he practice.”




Brantley under center

Now that his high ankle sprain has healed, quarterback John Brantley will be able to go back under center for the second game in a row.

When the Gators wanted to go under center for select plays when Brantley was hobbled, true freshman Jacoby Brissett came in at quarterback.

White said Brissett has been getting reps in practice, but that Brantley will be under center when the Gators choose to go that route.

“John is doing everything,” White said.

Gillislee in the game plan

White said the offensive coaches planned to play tailback Mike Gillislee in the Florida State game, but when the Gators fell behind early, that plan was tabled and Gillislee spent most of the night on the bench.

“We wanted to use him a lot more in that game, but you're playing behind and sometimes it doesn't go according to your plan,” White said. “Mike has made improvement. We're looking forward to him having a role in this game (against Ohio State).

“To say that it's going to be any more than a role would be disingenuous.”

Some SEC speed at OSU

Every time a Big Ten school goes against an SEC team in a bowl game, the speed question always comes up.

Can a Big Ten team keep up with SEC speed?

In this case, it can, White said.

“Ohio State always has a lot of speed and they have a lot of high quality athletes,” White said. “Just look at NFL roster. The quality of their players speaks for the university itself.”

Big bump in 2012?

White said that whoever ends up being the new offensive coordinator, the Florida offense should be much-improved now that the players have had a year in the system.

“I would say that there is always a learning curve in the first year in any program,” White said. “Once you flatten that learning curve, you see exponential jumps. Certainly, that's what we're hoping for.

“I have seen a lot of progress without a lot of our young players. Chaz Green being one of those players. Andre Debose being another, along with Hunter Joyer. Invaluable time and reps for a guy like Hunter.

“There are a lot of players who have improved dramatically. Hopefully, they can put that performance on the field (in the Gator Bowl) and really use it as a springboard into 2012.”

The scoop on Mickey

Several media members who cover Ohio State were at UF's media opportunity after Wednesday's practice. Some were asking the Florida players about Mickey Marotti, the strength and conditioning coordinator who recently left UF to join Urban Meyer's staff at Ohio State.

“He put us through a hard offseason,” junior defensive tackle Omar Hunter said. “He's a great strength and conditioning coach.

“(The offseason) wasn't that bad. We all did it for chemistry of the team. This team is not where it was last year. It's better. Believe it or not, it's better than last year.”

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