August 6, 2009

Florida Gators football fall practice - Session 1

The Florida Gators football team got fall practice underway this morning, starting with a session for returning players.

Not so bright, but very early, Urban Meyer led his Gators to the field and got things underway, with a surprisingly large turnout.

I've put together some notes from the practice based on things I've picked up from various people that attended and bits floating around the internet. I won't be able to make it out to the fall practice sessions that are open to the media due to some exams today and tomorrow, but I'll still try to provide a good recap.

Obviously, there were no pads on today, so most of the drills were light on contact, and there were some pass skeletons (paskels as they're referred to) today. These are 7-on-7 drills without any lineman, and strictly linebackers and defensive backs against the quarterback, running backs and wide receivers.

First off, a couple players sat out of today's morning session. Ahmad Black, Emmanuel Moody, Carl Moore and Brandon Hicks were notable absences. Black was not at the session at all, reportedly banged up. Urban will comment on all of the injuries later today after the second session. Moody and Moore both seemed to have very minor injuries and were on the bikes in The Pit. Hicks will practice in the later session today.

Deonte Thompson stuck out at wide receiver today, showing some great hands and good chemistry with Tebow. He looks to be the go-to guy at wide receiver, but I'll wait until we see him on the field in the fall before making any final judgments. Thompson has always been extremely successful in practice and a virtual highlight reel. For whatever reason, that hasn't translated to a live game yet. Hopefully that will change this year.

Thompson burned Janoris Jenkins on one deep route for a really nice catch. Jenkins will be wearing Percy Harvin's old No. 1 this year.

Riley Cooper was on the field today and didn't show too many signs of not being with the team for an extended period. He caught several short balls over the middle and in the flats from both quarterbacks today.

Overall, the wide receiver position was still lacking, as there were several dropped balls. That shouldn't be too concerning for the first practice, as players often take a day or two to get readjusted to live practices. Ever Hernandez dropped a few balls today.

The offensive line was without Maurkice Pouncey. He might be practicing with the freshmen this afternoon, but until we see the practice what's going on with him is anyone's guess.

The starting offensive line today from left to right was: Matt Patchan, Carl Johnson, Sam Robey, Mike Pouncey, Marcus Gilbert. This might not be a good indication of how we'll start the season because we're not in pads yet. Obviously, Maurkice Pouncey will be starting in there somewhere as well.

There wasn't a whole lot of news out of the first session of practice, so I'll try to get more stuff from the freshman practice later in the day. I might even try to make it out to the morning session tomorrow, as I'd like to introduce myself to some of the guys from the Gainesville Sun.

Speaking of the Gainesville Sun, beat writer Ray Fitzgerald put together a really nice practice report from the first session, where I got a lot of this information from.

I'll be back later in the day with more updates.

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