Receivers show big-play ability


Florida's Latroy Pittman pulls in the pass during the first half of the Orange and Blue Debut at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville Saturday.

Doug Finger/ Staff Photographer
Published: Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 5:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 5:36 p.m.

The focus around Florida's spring game Saturday centered around the quarterback competition between rising sophomores Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel.

But it also was a chance for Florida's much-maligned receiving corps to show its ability to make plays.

Front and center was incoming 2012 freshman receiver Latroy Pittman, who had two catches for 51 yards. Pittman showed his ability to separate from coverage on a 43-yard catch on a pretty deep ball thrown from Brissett.

Florida coach Will Muschamp has raved about Pittman all spring.

“He's a talented young man,” Muschamp said. “He's physical, he's tough. He's got ball instincts. He's got playmaking ability so we're very pleased with his progress.”

Driskel said Pittman, a 6-foot, 201-pound early enrollee from North Marion High School in Ocala, has made plays every day during spring drills.

“He's one of our top guys right now,” Driskel said. “He's only going to get better, along with everyone else this summer.”

Pittman wasn't the only Gator receiver who made big catches Saturday. Redshirt junior Andre Debose had a 44-yard catch and run, while sophomore Quinton Dunbar had three catches for 17 yards and a touchdown.

“They're making plays downfield,” Driskel said. “They're making catches in tight windows. They're making us look good.”

The Gators played without senior receiver Frankie Hammond, who sat out with a sprained ankle. Muschamp said the injury wasn't serious.

“Quinton has been very consistent in his performance,” Muschamp said. “Andre needs to continue to come on. Frankie Hammond did sprain an ankle in Monday's scrimmage and probably could have gone today, but Frankie has played well for us and we know what he's going to bring for us.”

Florida had a dearth of big plays at receiver last season, a reason why the Gators struggled offensively once Southeastern Conference play began. Debose led Florida in touchdown catches with four. No other Gator receiver had more than two touchdown catches last season.

“We've improved a lot,” Dunbar said. “We've still got a long way to go. For us to win, we've got to make plays, and we know that.”

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