Gators spring practice news and notes – 03/26

By Adam Silverstein
March 26, 2010

With the Florida Gators 2010 spring practice now in full swing, there is plenty of newsworthy information around the program. Rather than publishing it all in long form, OGGOA thought it would be best to lay it out piece-by-piece. We continue this series with a look at spring practice from Fri., March 26.

» Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley returned to practice after missing it Wednesday with what the school said was a sore throat and the flu. He also has a bruised left knee and has been (and likely will continue) wearing a brace.

» Wide receivers redshirt freshman Andre Debose and redshirt junior Chris Rainey each saw limited action Friday. The Gators will be cautious with both players and not work them too hard until summer practice begins.

» Redshirt sophomore WR T.J. Lawrence visited Shands Hospital to undergo tests Wednesday before practice. Friday, the school explained Lawrence had an issue with low blood sugar. He also returned to action.

» Redshirt senior running back Emmanuel Moody, who left the field on crutches after injuring his ankle Wednesday, was back with the team but noticeably limping. He had minor surgery on the ankle last January and has had injury issues throughout his career.

» Sitting out for the remainder of spring practice are sophomore defensive back Josh Evans (left knee) and redshirt freshman offensive lineman Kyle Koehne (elbow). Many of the offensive linemen continue to sit nursing injuries, and junior RB Jeff Demps remains out due to his participation in the outdoor track and field season.

Check out many more practice, notes and interesting quotes…after the break!

Practice happenings:
» WRs: Redshirt junior Deonte Thompson, sophomore Omarius Hines and redshirt freshman Stephen Alli are all connecting well with Brantley and seem to be comfortable in the offense. Thompson and redshirt senior Carl Moore are penciled in as starters.

» Four-star frosh cornerback Jaylen Watkins had a nice interception and continues to impress his coaches, teammates and spectators.

» Three-star frosh Neiron Ball, who played defensive end in high school, is getting a lot of work at linebacker during the spring. Head coach Urban Meyer loves players who can and are willing to play multiple positions.

» Speaking of Meyer, he was more hands-on Friday than he has been thus far in spring practice. He spent a lot of time working with the special teams unit (his favorite) as well as with position players in drills. Previously, Meyer had been taking more of an observation role, letting his assistant coaches handle must of the drill work.

Other notes:
» Former Gators WR Percy Harvin and CB Joe Haden attended practice Firday.

» Players and coaches continue to be off-limits for the most part, though beat writers on-site were able to acquire a few quotes on recent happenings.

Interesting quotes:
» Senior safety Ahmad Black on being a leader and teaching the younger players: “I take on more of a leadership role this year. Make sure everybody’s in line. […] We have a heckuva lotta talent, talent everywhere across the field. I’m excited to see us play. […] You just go out there and be ball hawks. When the ball’s in the air, we’ve got to go get it.”

» Co-defensive coordinator, safeties coach Chuck Heater on Black: “Ahmad’s a very smart guy, that’s why he plays as well as he plays. He’s a very instinctive player. He plays a little faster because he anticipates things. […] He’s going to be biased against a little bit [by NFL scouts] because he’s not very big. But he’s such a great player. He’s gotten thicker, bigger. I think he’s gotten a little faster as well.”

» Heater on Meyer’s angry comments: “Urban’s a real passionate guy about his players. So yeah, I think it was real positive from that standpoint. Everybody sees it and everybody gets it.”

» Senior center Mike Pouncey on the same subject: “Oh yeah, of course. He got our back, and we got his.”

» Brantley chiming in: “That’s what you want to see out of your coaches.”

Special thanks to the Orlando Sentinel and Palm Beach Post for the above quotes.


  1. ReptilesRule says:

    First of all, good to hear T. J. is ok. Second, maybe Urban didn’t handle the reporter thing as well as could be, but it’s clear from the players comments that he clearly got his message across. Could it also pay off in recruiting?? We’ll see in the long run but I sure don’t see it hurting. Third, looks like maybe Urban’s getting back into the flow of things. We all want him to be able to recharge but we don’t want to see him lose the fire. Hopefully he’ll take some additional time off this summer and find the balance he needs. Who knows, he could come back happier and even stronger!

  2. SC Gator says:

    ESPN also running with the “players back Urban” story:

    Not that I’d expect any of the players to think different, but it does reinforce the notion that at least some of Urban’s intent was to cause exactly this reaction.

  3. Daniel M. says:

    I’ve been waiting patiently for years for Moody to bust out. I’m about ready to move on. A few months ago there were stories about him being finally healthy and ready to throw down. The ankle issues were supposed to be behind him finally.

    Is Gillislee considered a power back? I have watched him on film and he looks like he’s between power back and scat back. He does hit people but he mostly just outruns them ala Demps. His film has play after play of him receiving out of the backfield in space. It looks exciting but doesn’t impress me as a power back?

    I’ve seen plenty of Moody running over people. Does Mack Brown have this in him? Adam? Anybody?


    • Mack Brown, from what I have seen, has all of that and more. However, he has also been nursing injuries over the past few months/year. I believe his hamstring(s). I have to believe he redshirts.

      Gillislee does not appear to be a true power back, but he is better suited for that roll than someone like Jeff Demps would be. Personally, I expect to see him get a good number of carries this year even though Drayton loves Moody.

  4. Daniel M. says:

    I dunno Adam. I’m seeing Mack Brown listed at 185 pounds. I know these guys put weight on but that still would seem to exclude him from the “power back” designation. I’ve seen varying weights on Gillislee. The highest I saw was 205 so he’s prolly right in the 200 pound range.

    At what weight does a guy start to look like a power back. 210ish?

    • Ability, not size, matter to me. Brown is 185 in high school. Put him in a D1 weight program for a few years and see what happens. He’s not going to be Brandon Jacobs size, but he’ll be big enough.

  5. Wingtee says:

    Gilleslee is the best back UF has and it is not close.. Remember Percy? Hello gilleslee

  6. Daniel M. says:

    I’m not doubting Mack Brown. I like all of our backs. In the end I’d just like to see a guy that runs between the tackles all day long. I find it fascinating that “little” Demps runs between the tackles. That’s one tough dude.

    Out of all of our backs Moody looks to be the most physical by far IMO.

    Is Mack Brown a guy that could move the chains by putting his head down and plowing between the tackles?

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