UF receiver Chris Thompson making move

Florida receiver Chris Thompson catches a pass during a spring practice.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 2:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 2:29 p.m.

You couldn't miss Chris Thompson on the field last year for the Florida football team.


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Open practice, Friday (time is TBA) at Sanders Practice Fields on UF campus
Orange & Blue Debut, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, at Florida Field

It just wasn't with the offense.

The freshman receiver from Gainesville High School made his mark on special teams, flying down the sidelines on kickoff coverage and shooting off the edge on the punt block unit.

The UF coaches presented him with the Most Valuable Special Teams Scout Team Award following the season.

“Some people who come in don't think about the special teams as much, but that's really what got me traveling (to away games),” Thompson said. “It's a big part of the team.”

There are no plane rides for him this time of year, but he's really going places with the Gators now.

After making just two receptions in 2013, Thompson has been one of Florida's most consistent and explosive receivers in spring practice. He's also developed the catching ability and sure hands he didn't have in high school.

The new offensive system under coordinator Kurt Roper is helping him as well.

“I feel like it's more my style,” Thompson said. “There's a lot of open-space plays.”

That's good news for a guy who has recorded a 4.37 in the 40-yard dash, and Thompson has taken well to Roper's coaching.

“Coach Roper is a good guy,” he said. “He's teaching us a lot. He's bringing a lot to the offense by using our speed and being able to spread the ball around.”

Most of Thompson's highlights this spring have come down the field on deep balls, and Roper expects him and two other UF receivers to be vertical threats in the passing game.

“You hopefully have more than one in that position to make the plays,” Roper said. “You'd like to have them on both sides. You have to be able to threaten all areas of the field.

“I think we got some speed. We'll take some shots. You watch Quinton Dunbar, he can run. Chris Thompson can run. Demarcus Robinson can run. All those guys have some speed.”

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