The Degory Story and More
Mike Degory
Mike Degory
FightinGators.com
Posted Mar 26, 2004


Regarded as one of the nation’s top thirty-six players at the center position going into next season, Junior Center Mike Degory was selected as a pre-season candidate for the Dave Rimington Trophy, which goes to college football’s ‘premier center’. What does Mike think? Also, how's Jarvis Moss doing and some notes from Friday's practice.

Degory said that it’s an honor to be categorized with such distinction. UF Head Coach Ron Zook agreed. “It didn’t surprise me a bit that he would be recognized in that capacity, because, he is a very talented guy. He has got a chance to be a great football player.”

Degory said that, “it’s still pre-season, you know. We’ll see post-season, I guess. I’m honored to be on that list…but, it’s only pre-season.”

At 6’5” and around 315 pounds, Degory’s presence up front can only intimidate the opposition, especially with his intimidating ‘Grizzly Adams’-type presence.

Last Saturday, Degory took a break without the pads, and ran mildly some, due to a hurt knee. He then continued to practice. But, now, he says, that, “the knee is getting better. It’s kind of the main concern right now. It gets better everyday. I’m just going to do more and more (everyday), and hopefully be at full speed.”

Degory is cast as a main character on the Gators offensive line. And, as far as his squad of linesmen goes, he said that, “everybody’s doing real well. Everybody’s getting adjusted.”

Of course, this Saturday’s practice, for all players, is a chance to impress and ‘strut their stuff’ for their coaches. “We just got a little motivation from Coach Wickline (after Friday’s practice),” said Degory. “Hopefully, his guys come out and play. They will. They’re going to rise to the challenge. They know they have got to compete (now) for spots in the fall. They’re looking forward to it.”

Once the O-Line gets going, it’s all about who the signal caller is. And, who better to get a vibe from Sophomore QB Chris Leak, than Degory at center. “It’s kind of been different since I’ve really had a chance to watch him,” said Degory. “From watching him on film, “he’s looking really polished now. He’s definitely matured and polished up his game…different stuff like ‘play-action’…and, knowing a little bit more about the offense. He’s doing real well, which, he should. He’s a leader now, so, he will.”

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Hey, Snoop Dog! Do you know this guy?
“When I first came on my (recruiting) visit (to Gainesville), they just told me that I reminded them of ‘Snoop Dog’,” said Freshman DE Jarvis Moss, who may also go by the nickname of ‘J-Slim’.

Even though Moss was touted as one of the most sought after recruits in the nation, he said, that, not only does he need to do well individually, but, all of the defensive ends have to do well. “As a defensive line unit, we’re young, but, we have a lot of good talent. We’re only going be as good as all the defensive ends are (as a group),” Moss said, adding that, “I don’t feel any weight on my shoulders…. because, I know the guy behind me, or, the guy in front of me, is just going to play equally as hard.”

As a red-shirt freshman last season, Moss said he understood why he had to watch the games from the bench on the sideline. “It wasn’t (tough). I’ve always been a humble player. And, I just know it takes time to learn the system and know the game. It’s a lot different from high school. I really just want to make sure I know everything before I get out there and try to compete at my fullest,” said Moss.

On ‘actually’ being a red-shirt freshman, Moss said he really didn’t have that big of a problem sitting out. He watched the experienced players on the field, and, that’s how he mainly learned. “I actually am glad (that he red-shirted his first year). It’s a good feeling just knowing where I’m at right now,” Moss said. “I’ve gotten a lot better since I’ve been here…a lot stronger…bigger. Now, I’m ready to go. I have got four years to go at my fullest.”

===========NOTES=======================

***Offensive Coordinator & WR Coach Larry Fedora on Sophomore WR Andre Caldwell: “He has the most speed. He’s got a lot of ability. We have to get each one of these guys to be consistent everyday. And, understand that it doesn’t do any good to just do it one day. You’ve got to do it the next day…and, the next day…and, the next day! That comes with maturity, and, that comes with reps…because, not many of these guys had many reps last year.”

***Senior OG Mo Mitchell, who did not wear pads or play in the last two practices, because of a tweaked knee, saw some action today. “He went a little bit more today, than I originally wanted him to, or, thought he would…because, I wanted to make sure he went tomorrow (Saturday),” said Coach Zook.

***Senior DB Reynaldo Hill is “getting better and better. Once again, you see guys…when they’re thrust into the position of being the starter,” Coach Zook said that, “they raise their level of play and do a nice job. He just needs experience and time. I think him, Vernell Brown, and Dee Webb are all vying for playing time (as well).”

*** Coach Zook said he’s happy with the play during practice of Senior LB Travis Harris, Sophomore DE Joe Cohen, and Junior DB Vernell Brown. “Travis is going back to a position that he had played previously (before last season). I’m really happy with the way Joe has got in there. I didn’t know for sure how he’d like it down there in the ‘briar patch’. But, he’s doing a nice job down in there. I’ve been impressed with Vernell. Of course, he was brought in to be a defensive back.”

*** Junior DT Kenny Parker was at practice but still has a hurt back: “It’s bothering him a little bit…so, we’re holding him…just letting him rest it,” said Coach Zook. “He needs to let it settle down. His back is stiff and sore. There’s no use pushing him and grinding him in spring ball.”

*** Junior C Mike Degory said that Sophomore OL Steve Rissler is coming along just fine. “He’s doing well at center. He’s a young guy, but, he knows his stuff. He’s coming around…having a couple of headaches. But, he’s coming out of it.” Coach Zook said, about Rissler, that, “he’s doing a nice job. He really is. That’s one thing…we’d like to have Mike out there just for continuity, and, so forth. Right now, he’s playing center and guard. The more a guy can do, the more depth it gives you on your offensive line.”

*** Regarding this Saturday’s practice, Coach Zook said that, “the one thing we try to do is make sure there’s competition at all positions. I think that’s important.” On Saturday, the Gators will begin practice at 9:30am at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The public is welcome.

========================================

------STUPID QUESTION OF THE WEEK------
***After Friday’s practice, I asked Coach Zook if he was going to push his players ‘harder’ at this Saturday’s practice compared to last Saturday’s practice. Coach Zook looked straight into my eyes, and asked me: “You didn’t think we pushed them hard enough? (Laughter) I said that I was just asking (more laughter). Then, Coach Zook said, “I tell you…I’ll critique you’re writing and you can critique my coaching.” (Yet, more laughter). I told coach that, “I’m not critiquing you.” (Still, more laughter). After that, coach said, “we can go as hard as we’re gonna go.” (Regarding this Saturday’s practice).


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