Practice is closed, but …

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Let’s imagine for a few moments that it’s not, that we’re invited inside the gate for the first two days (like a year ago).

OK, we’re in, so what are you going to be looking for?

Here’s what’s on my list:

* First thing I’m checking out is Ronald Powell, the most talked-about recruit at UF since Tim Tebow. I haven’t seen this guy, but I hear he’s really physically jacked and ready to play. I want to see him running around, see what he looks like in drills – and see if he’s going to have as big an early impact as many are thinking he might.

* I’m watching Andre Debose. He missed last season and all but a couple of days in the spring, but on those two days he did perform in April, man, he looked like the real deal at that slot receiver position. I know he didn’t like being compared to Percy Harvin when he signed, but he sure has some of the same explosive ability. If he can stay healthy, the Harvin position really could be back this season in a big way.

* I’m checking out Matt Patchan. He had a devastating knee injury last fall, but he’s back and ready to get nasty again on the offensive line. From what I’m hearing, he’s back close to 300 pounds and ready to compete with Xavier Nixon for the starting role at tackle.

* Mack Brown. I’ve heard a lot about his natural running skills, so I’m going to see what this true freshman looks like with the ball in his hands. Can he catch? Does he have the size to be the every-down tailback in the near future?

* I predicted shortly after his arrival here a few years ago that wide receiver Carl Moore was going to be a bust – and so far, I’ve been right. But near the end of the spring he started showing some of that explosiveness and playmaking ability that were missing before. If he can sustain it in camp, he has a chance to finally emerge. I’m watching.

* I’m going to check out Omarius Hines. As many readers may know by now, I inadvertently left his name off the depth chart at wide receiver in Sunday’s preview of the receivers. That was just dummy on my part, and I deserve any and all criticism that comes my way. I actually had him listed as a starter at one of the three WR positions, then decided to move him down and left his name off, idiot that I am. But Omarius is here, he’s had a good summer and I expect him to emerge as a big-time playmaker in the offense.

* I’m definitely going to watch Trey Burton. He really came on in the spring, improving dramatically as the No. 2 quarterback. This kid is a real competitor and consummate team guy. I think he’s going to be a factor this season in some role in the offense, much like Tebow was in 2006.

* And, of course, I’m going to be checking out true freshmen Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley — perhaps the two highest-rated defensive tackles in the nation. If these guys can give Dan McCarney’s group some quality minutes this season, the DL could be dominant. Throw in Powell and some of these other freshmen, and the future on defense looks very bright.

So, there you have it. Just a few of the things I would be checking out if the gates were open the first two days. What would you be looking at?

11 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Robbie. Great post! I agree with everything you wrote, those would also be what I’d be looking at. By the way, don’t let the virtual critics get to you…members on the GSMB have a reputation for being “over the top” and downright mean. God bless! Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks Robbie … we all make mistakes brother, like i tell my kids, the key is to learn from them … thanks for your years of loyalty to covering our beloved Gators … don’t listen to them “perfect” chuckleheads too much … you do a great job!

  3. I want to watch Johnny Brantley. He’s an unknown commodity simply because he hasn’t been the starter for the last 2 years. But, we know he’s going to be great. You can just feel the explosive effect his long passes will have on defenses once he gets under center and performs his magic. He’s going to be the center of the offense. The team’s future rests on his shoulders and they’re most likely the most capable shoulders in that “pure passer” position in the nation since Danny Weurffel.

  4. Hey Robbie! Awesome article, those are some really great things to look for! Here are a few things I would be checking out…
    * With Urban turning the special team duties over to Coach Durkin, I want to check out how things are going there, especially with Rainey and Demps taking over punt and kick off returns.
    * I would like to check how practice is flowing with our 4 new coaches, especially with Coach Austin. Just want to check the chemistry and see how smooth the transition is going.
    * I want to see if Moody is finally healthy. Is he going to take over for Tebow on 3rd down and 2.
    * I want to see who is going to step up at WR. Who can go deep and stretch the defense. Who can go over the middle, take a hit and hang on to the ball.
    * I want to see who is going to step up and take the other CB spot across from Jenkins.
    * I want to see if the Alabama game is still fresh on the minds of our D line and linebackers! Can we stop the run!
    * Finally, I want to see what the over all attitude is of this team. Is there a chip on their shoulders. How hungry are they!!

    God bless, Brandon
    Go Gators!

  5. DE play. The success of the season depends on the DE play. If we can get pressure on the QB, then I predict a BCS bowl game. If not … Anyway, I’m looking to see if a healthy Trattou can create a pash rush. I want to see if Okine, Lemmens, and Green can live up to their potential.

  6. Marsh and Hines have been team players sense day one. I’ve been routing for Hines for a long time. I don’t know him, I just like the effort and potential he gives. The body and speed of a TE at WR. He needs a chance to turn the corner. Alli is another one I intend to watch closely.

  7. * With Urban turning the special team duties over to Coach Durkin, I want to check out how things are going there, especially with Rainey and Demps taking over punt and kick off returns.
    * I would like to check how practice is flowing with our 4 new coaches, especially with Coach Austin. Just want to check the chemistry and see how smooth the transition is going.
    * I want to see if Moody is finally healthy. Is he going to take over for Tebow on 3rd down and 2.
    * I want to see who is going to step up at WR. Who can go deep and stretch the defense. Who can go over the middle, take a hit and hang on to the ball.
    * I want to see who is going to step up and take the other CB spot across from Jenkins.
    * I want to see if the Alabama game is still fresh on the minds of our D line and linebackers! Can we stop the run!
    * Finally, I want to see what the over all attitude is of this team. Is there a chip on their shoulders. How hungry are they!!