|Defending champ Florida begins practice by looking at freshman, future|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 05 August 2007 21:38|
Coach Urban Meyer's highly touted recruiting class, the consensus No. 1 group in the country, worked out without any of the program's veterans.
Normally, the session would have provided fans with a glimpse of the practice squad or maybe some future stars. But this season, after losing 14 starters from the team that beat Ohio State 41-14 in the title game and having a program that includes just 20 upperclassmen, these guys are going to play.
And many of them will see significant time.
``You can tell right now the ones that are going to play,'' Meyer said. ``I can. I'm not going to tell you, but I have a good indication of who's going to play already.''
Defensive linemen Torrey Davis and John Brown could help right away. The Gators lost starters Jarvis Moss, Ray McDonald and Joe Cohen following last season, leaving them with little experience and even less depth along the line.
Davis, a 6-foot-4, 285-pounder from Seffner, was considered one of the top prospects in Florida. Brown, a 6-foot-1, 285-pounder from Lakeland, was ranked one of the best in the nation.
Brown's future at Florida, though, remains unclear. Although he practiced Sunday, Brown has not yet qualified academically. He has two weeks to get certified or else he might have to sit out the season.
``He has 14 more days to be officially cleared,'' Meyer said. ``It looks like it's going to go that way.''
Brown declined comment.
Davis said coaches told him not to speak to the media, but he offered one line as he walked off the field: ``I'm just going to use what God has blessed me with and do the best job that I can.''
Carlos Dunlap, Jay Howard, Duke Lemmens and Justin Trattou rounded out the talented class of defensive linemen, and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said Trattou and Davis stood out.
``Freshmen, to me, aren't freshman anymore once they get on campus,'' Mattison said. ``The best players play.''
Offensively, running back Chris Rainey, quarterback Cameron Newton and tight end Aaron Hernandez could play extensively this fall. Newton and Hernandez were two of a record nine freshmen who enrolled in school in January and participated in spring practice and summer workouts.
Newton already has earned the backup spot behind Tim Tebow and did not practice Sunday because he was taking care of some academic issues, Meyer said. He said Newton should be back by the end of the week.
Meyer said he was pleased with the other freshmen.
``I was very impressed,'' Meyer said. ``It's not fair to single one guy out or two guys out. ... In my opinion, they're all going to play. It's sheer numbers, first of all. And then I think they're that talented.''
Meyer also said James Wilson (knee), a 6-5, 305-pound offensive lineman from St. Augustine, will be sidelined at least three more weeks.