UF Football Notebook: Pittman making early impression


Published: Monday, March 26, 2012 at 9:21 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 26, 2012 at 9:21 p.m.

All the early enrollee excitement entering this spring focused around All-American linemen D.J. Humphries and Jessamen Dunker.

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With the shortage at wideout — the Gators currently have just four scholarship receivers healthy — freshman Latroy Pittman has been able to take advantage of his early arrival. (Courtesy of UF Communications)

But there's another mid-year freshman making some noise on Florida's offense.




“Latroy Pittman is a guy who is really coming on and doing a nice job,” UF coach Will Muschamp said of the 6-foot, 201-pound receiver. “He's still swimming a little bit mentally, which is to be expected. But he's physical, he mixes it in well, he's made some plays down the field for us.”

Pittman, from Citra North Marion High School, had a strong showing in Saturday's scrimmage.

“(He) caught a touchdown pass, caught a nice third down conversion on a screen,” Muschamp said. “I've been very pleased with his progress to this point, I really have.”

With the shortage at wideout — the Gators currently have just four scholarship receivers healthy — Pittman has been able to take advantage of his early arrival. Muschamp said he is “very encouraged” with Pittman's progression thus far.

“Latroy is another guy that came in and had a great offseason,” Muschamp said. “(He) works hard every day, gives everything he's got. (I've) been very pleased with his attitude and his playmaking ability. He's a stronger guy for being a freshman. He should be a high school senior right now.”

Pittman was the first commitment of the 2012 recruiting class and wasn't one of the higher rated recruits. According to Muschamp, those factors caused Pittman to get lost in the shuffle of signees and he never generated much hype.

“I don't know about where he was rated,” Muschamp said, “but we really liked him in camp. We thought he was a really good player. But he committed a long time ago, too, so that lost its luster. If they commit too early they're not as good as the other guys.”

Muschamp also discussed how the other five early enrollees have performed in practice.

"D.J. Humphries and Jessamen Dunker are both doing an outstanding job up front. Both guys are way ahead athletically than most big guys are at this time. Both guys are very talented. How quickly they will continue to pick up on what they're doing? Time will tell. But I'm very, very pleased with both them young men.

“Antonio Morrison is a physical, tough, instinctive linebacker that's done some nice things for us. Latroy Pittman I talked about earlier. Very pleased with his progress. (Cornerback) Willie Bailey just needs to get stronger. Willie can run, he's got length, he's got size for the position. We've just got to get (him) stronger in the weight room. He's got cover skills and he's a willing tackler and he'll take on blocks. (Defensive tackle) Damien Jacobs … shows you really nice things at times. He's just got to be more consistent. Plays with great pad level, plays with great effort, and then the next play, it's not what you want, not in this league."

Muschamp talks Tebow

Will Muschamp's noon press conference every Monday is usually top priority for the media.

Not this week.

He was on Tebow time.

“His press conference is bigger than mine,” Muschamp said. “I'm glad y'all are here. Thank you.”

The New York Jets officially introduced Tim Tebow Monday after acquiring him from the Broncos. Muschamp talked about the former Gator great and his move to the Big Apple.

“I think obviously the New York Jets got better,” Muschamp said. “You look at what he did at Denver in taking them to the playoffs. He did a phenomenal job. You meet Tim and you understand he has the ‘it' factor. He positively affects everybody around him. It's pretty well-documented what he did for the University of Florida.”

Okine out for spring

Redshirt senior defensive end Earl Okine will miss the remainder of the spring with a back injury, Muschamp said. Receivers Stephen Alli (groin), Solomon Patton (groin) and Ja'Juan Story (ankle) are still out, but Muschamp hopes to get Alli and Story back this week. Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Leon Orr, who injured his shoulder Friday, returned to practice Monday.

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