Hammond's redemption at UF


Florida's Frankie Hammond Jr. dives for a touchdown during the second half against Bowling Green at Florida Field in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, September 1, 2012.

Doug Finger/ Staff Photographer
Published: Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 9:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 2, 2012 at 7:08 p.m.

Through fall camp, Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease raved about the consistency of senior receiver Frankie Hammond Jr.

Two early drops by Hammond didn't do much to support Pease's glowing evaluation.

But Hammond redeemed himself with the biggest offensive play in UF's 27-14 win over Bowling Green at Florida Field on Saturday. Hammond delivered a 50-yard catch and run for a TD in the fourth quarter that extended Florida's lead to 24-14 with 13:18 remaining.

“I've worked hard all camp and to finally see something pay off, it's exciting,” Hammond said.

Hammond said the early drops didn't affect his confidence.

“That's one of those things you have to live with being a receiver,” Hammond said. “You drop some and you just have amnesia and move on to the next play. I dropped those balls and I had to come back and make up for it.”

Hammond's fourth career TD catch came on a 10-yard out route thrown by Florida sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel. After the catch, Hammond spun free from a tackle and planted his right hand into the ground.

“Jeff threw a pretty good ball and I just turned outside and I felt them wrapping on me,” Hammond said. “I tried to just keep my balance and once I got upfield I saw green grass and just ran through it to try to get to the end zone.”

For Hammond, it has been a career of highs and lows. He lost his scholarship during his sophomore season following an offseason DUI arrest, but remained on the team in 2010 as a walk-on. Hammond regained his scholarship when Will Muschamp took over for Urban Meyer before the start of the 2011 season.

“Frankie has always been a consistent guy for us, and like I said, it's just a matter of going out and making some plays,” Muschamp said. “He finally did it.”

The change from Meyer to Muschamp has resulted in a change in offensive philosophy. Hammond said as a receiver he's tried to stay patient and know his role in a run-first offense. The Gators gained 220 yards rushing against Bowling Green.

“The opportunities are going to come, and when they do come, you have to be ready,” Hammond said. “Blocking somebody to spring a big run for Mack Brown or Mike Gillislee, is something we have to do and is part of the game. Teams have to respect that.”

A fifth-year senior, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Hammond is being counted on to lead a young group of receivers while increasing his own production. Hammond appeared in all 13 of UF's games last season, but had just 15 catches.

“It's my last shot,” Hammond said. “So I just want to lay it all on the table and do what I can do, send it out on a good note.”

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