Early in the season, it looked like Florida’s three promising redshirt freshmen receivers (Frankie Hammond Jr., Omarius Hines and T.J. Lawrence) were going to have a chance to contribute this season and give the Gators some much-needed depth at wide receiver.
Then, they disappeared. Hines caught a few passes early, then faded away. Hammond got some playing time, then he too disappeared. Lawrence got a handful of plays, but now is out for the season after injuring his knee.
The week before each game, Urban Meyer and wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales would say Hammond and Hines were getting close to being where the coaches wanted them to be and there was a chance they would play. Then they wouldn’t. It got to the point in recent weeks where everyone assumed those two would not been seen again until next spring.
Then, out of nowhere, Hammond and Hines showed up on the field in the first half of last Saturday’s Georgia game in Jacksonville.
Even though neither caught a pass, it was an obvious sign the two have made strides in practice and have finally earned the trust of the coaching staff. Offensive coordinator SteveAddazio said Hammond and Hines have earned the right to see more playing time in UF’s remaining games.
“We’re going to continue to try and do that, give guys a chance to get a blow,” Addazio said. “We needed to do that (against Georgia). So, that worked out pretty well.”