8/18: Florida Gators 2010 fall practice updates

By Adam Silverstein
August 18, 2010

The 2010 version of the Florida Gators is in the midst of their second week of fall practice and, while the activities were once again closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur Tuesday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.

STARTING OFFENSIVE LINE SET?

Stringing together an announcement from offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Steve Addazio that senior center Mike Pouncey, redshirt senior tackle Marcus Gilbert, and redshirt senior guards Carl Johnson and Maurice Hurt have all earned starting jobs on the OL with one from Pouncey stating that sophomore Xavier Nixon has won the starting left tackle job, the Gators front five may finally be set in stone. Nixon was competing with redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan for the role, even though the former started five games for Florida last season. It is important to note that there are sentiments that Nixon has yet to officially win his gig and redshirt junior G James Wilson may have the opportunity to beat out Hurt.

BROWN LOSES BLACK

Freshman running back Mack Brown became the 11th frosh to lose his black helmet stripe, getting it removed on Wednesday with the help of Pouncey. There are 15 more – notably defensive end Ronald Powell – still awaiting this ritual.

A few of you have asked me via Twitter (@onlygators) what exactly the “black stripe” is and what it means when it is removed. Here is a quick synopsis: As freshmen (or transfers), players have black stripes of tape placed on their helmets (front-to-back) indicating that they are new to the program; these are removed once each individual player proves that they deserve to be a Gator. This can occur by recommendation of a coach or fellow player. Head coach Urban Meyer spoke about it Tuesday: “It’s basically to de-recruit, to get rid of the nonsense, to make them understand that they’re not an outstanding freshman. They’re just another guy on the team trying to make their way. […] They walk up in front of the team, either in a team meeting or on the field and the young man stands up and sometimes gets very emotional because now he’s a Gator. His helmet’s like everybody else. It’s kind of cool.”

BACK TO THE FUTURE

After being monitored the last few practices while recovering from a hamstring injury, freshman wide receiver Chris Dunkley is back running at full speed, according to WR coach Zach Azzanni. However, perhaps contrary to what many expected coming out of National Signing Day, all indications are that freshman WR Quinton Dunbar is the more impressive and making the best case for playing time.

In other WR news… redshirt senior Carl Moore clarified to the media on Wednesday that, when he left practice for a few days in the spring, he was not considering leaving the team but was simply dealing with some personal issues. Since returning, Moore has solidified his spot as a starter and – like redshirt junior Deonte Thompson – is making strides every day during practice.

OTHER NOTES

» Redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins is inching closer and closer each day to winning the starting role in the middle.

» Redshirt sophomore DE Earl Okine has been working at tight end the last few practices, according to Addazio. In fact, his position appears to have officially switched if you look at hiss GatorZone.com profile. Okine took limited snaps at TE in high school, catching 15 passes his senior year to go along with his 84 tackles and 11 sacks as a DE.

QUOTES [After the break…]

Moore on his disappearance during spring: “I was dealing with some personal issues of my own. It was just a couple of days. After that it was out [with] the wash. I met with the coaches, talked to the coaches every day, and really I just got through it. You’ve got to play ball, so I just went.”

Moore on if he was going to leave the team: “No, nothing like that. No.”

Moore on returning from another injury: “It’s frustrating, but at the same time, I understand the sport I’m playing, and I understand that we train hard here, so if you don’t treat your body, eventually it’s going to wear down. It was frustrating to know that I was out because I was preparing myself for a season, but at the same time, what can you do? Injuries come up.”

Moore on his motivation and attitude: “I’m definitely motivated. I’m more motivated for team success, though. I’m more concerned with us winning a national championship, especially with this being my last year. I want to go out there and try to win on top. […] I want us to win. I’m just down for us winning and whatever I’ve got to contribute to that, that’s what I’m down to do.”

Addazio on Moore: “Carl has had a great preseason. He’s really locked in right now. I’m really happy with Carl, and for Carl. I really think he’s got the right mindset. I think he’s going to have a really good year this year. […] You know how it is. You appreciate what these guys go through: high expectations, buildup, injuries, disappointment. They’re still kids. They’re young, and sometimes they don’t handle those things always exactly textbook. But they bounce back and they learn and grow from it, and Carl’s come back. To me he’s come back with a great attitude, a great outlook, and I like where he’s headed right now a lot.”

Azzanni on Moore: “I’m really pleased with him. He’s a veteran guy. He’s become a player and he’s talking coaching and he has a good attitude and he’s hungry. He knows this is a limited window for him. It’s time to go.”

Addazio on sophomore offensive lineman Nick Alajajian: “I’m really impressed with his toughness. He’s a tough guy. He just works hard and just keeps coming back. I throw him in at center, where he was developing, and all of a sudden I kicked him over to tackle. You kick him here, you kick him in there, you’re grinding on him. I’m impressed with his toughness and work ethic. He’s grown as a player for sure.”

Senior cornerback Moses Jenkins on the possibility of winning a starting job: “I feel very good.”

Jenkins on preparing for the job: “[Joe Haden and I] broke down a lot of stuff before he left and he taught me stuff – so I learned a lot from him.”

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Jenkins and redshirt sophomore CB Jeremy Brown: “They both have a lot of good things they do. A little different skill set but they can both get the job done.”

Austin on freshman linebacker Michael Taylor: “Mike Taylor is a guy that hits people, he knocks people around. The one thing he’s done is he just runs around and hits people. He’ll learn what’s going on at a later date. He brings the thump.”

Redshirt senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders on the team’s motivation: “Anytime you lose a game [2009 SEC Championship] that big, you always focus on the things that caused you to lose the game. It’s definitely been a factor as to how hard we’ve been training this offseason. We’ve got a lot of veterans on the defensive line this year, and we felt terrible about losing to Alabama.”

Sanders on how the team felt in the locker room: “You would have thought somebody died. It was very quiet and very grim – not what you want to experience from a big-time game like that. […] Alabama had an answer for everything we threw at them, and I would say that we let a lot of complacency set in on the team. They had a bigger chip on their shoulder than we did. It’s true. We got comfortable, and I’d say we felt unbeatable. As a whole, I’d say we probably didn’t prepare as well as we should have. […]We don’t want to feel that heartbreak again. We know that as long as we stay together and play for each other, then there’s no one else who can beat us other than ourselves.”

Thanks to The Gainesville Sun, Palm Beach Post and The Florida Times-Union for some of the above information.

4 Comments

  1. cline says:

    I love the black stripe ritual. It really shows how close Coach Meyer wants the team to be when something like that is described as “emotional”. Gators have the best coach in football. 16 days!

  2. npgator says:

    I still cannot understand why Okine is not making strides as a DE! He has the prototypical size for that postion like no one else.

  3. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Come on Ronald! Lose the stripe!

  4. sky2clear4rain says:

    Black Strips I like this make the new comer show their worth, great job Jelani Jenkins. come on Jaylen Watins lose the Black stripe.

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