I was probably like everyone else at the practice field who saw true freshman quarterback Trey Burton throw the ball for the first time. I was a little shocked at how awkward his throwing motion is. But after watching those NFL guys nit pick and harp on all the negatives about Tim Tebow for the past two months, I’m not going to use this space to be critical of Burton. Instead, we’re going talk about the positives.
The big thing I noticed with Burton is that he has a very strong and lively arm. And he seems to know where to go with the football most of the time, which probably is a little unusual for such a young quarterback. This kid also is a big, sturdy, strong, confident athlete who appears verycoachable, and very capable of making some big things happen with his legs.
The key this spring is for Burton to take all the coaching he can from Scot Loeffler, a proven quarterbacks coach who will bring out the best in Burton. If Loeffler can improve Burton’s throwing motion, Burton will get even more out of what appears to be a very potent arm. This is going to take some time, but I think Burton has a chance to develop into something special because he has so many tools to work with and he looks like he’s willing to put in the work.
* I haven’t seen enough of true freshman wide receiver Solomon Patton to form an opinion on him yet, but Urban Meyer seems to love him. After Wednesday’s practice, Meyer singled out Patton, saying he was very impressed with his speed and explosiveness. I heard the same thing about Patton when I was in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl. Patton played his high school ball in Mobile, and I ran into an official working with the Senior Bowl and he told me Patton is going to do some huge things in UF’s offense. This guy told me Patton is electric, and reminded him of a smaller version of Percy Harvin. He’s definitely a kid to keep an eye on this spring.
* Redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown looks great physically and is moving around extremely well. If his chronic bad back can hold up, he’ll probably be the guy who replaces All-America Joe Haden at cornerback . The coaches are going to hold Brown out of contact for another week or so just to make sure he’s ready to go. One player who is not a factor at Haden’s old position right now is sophomore Adrian Bushell, who showed so much promise last season. Meyer said Bushell has some catching up to do in the classroom (and in his personal life) before he can start practicing with the team this spring.
* True freshman Gerald Christian appears to be the tight end most physically ready to play right now. He seems to be much more developed than redshirt freshman Desmond Parks, who still needs to add weight and muscle. Redshirt freshman Jordan Reed, who has made the switch from quarterback, is a prospect the coaches seem really excited about at tight end. Meyer said Wednesday that Reed has a chance to be a Cornelius Ingram-type player at the position. Tight end will be one of the more intriguing battles of the spring.
* Brendan Beal looks like he’s overcome his neck problem and is ready to compete for serious playing time at middle linebacker. He’s a fast, physical, nasty guy. He and JonBostic should stage quite a battle for the starting role this spring.
* Wide receiver T.J. Lawrence appears much more explosive and much more confident making plays than he did a year ago as a redshirt freshman. He made some plays in the first practice and looked very quick.
* I know it’s early still, but the new leaders on the defense appear to be senior strong safety Ahmad Black and senior defensive end JustinTrattou. Black has really added some muscle mass in the offseason.