VETTEL: What and Who to Watch Saturday

Photo by Glenn Danforth

I've always been of the mind that you do not learn much about a football "team" from a spring game, but you can learn about individual players or different units. In order to do that, you need to focus on what you really want to watch when you visit The Swamp Saturday or watch the telecast in the future.

Maybe you're someone who loves to watch the trenches. Perhaps you want to see the receivers and defensive backs play after play. Either way, a spring game is the best time to focus in on that. Let's ace it. We may all go into regular season games wanting to watch such things, but with the excitement of the real games we end up following the ball most of the time…. At least I suspect that's what most of us do.

So here are some of the opportunities that you should take advantage of during the Orange and blue game to see just how well some aspects of this team are coming along.

  • Offensive tackles vs. Defensive ends ----- Last year almost every snap on offense included Lance Butler and Randy Hand at the tackle spots. They are both gone and the battle to replace them has been a good one with Phil Trautwein and Jason Watkins competing on one side and Drew Miller taking claim to the other. Saturday let's see how they do at full speed with the crowd watching and the cameras one when they protect against Jarvis Moss, Derrick Harvey et al. This will also be a good opportunity to gauge the progress of guys like Carlton Medder, Javier Estopinan and Darryl Gresham Junior.
  • Wide Receivers vs. Cornerbacks ----- With Vernell Brown and Dee Webb out of the picture, the cornerback position is a major issue with the Gators. I think the Gators are fine with starters Reggie Lewis and Avery Atkins, despite Atkins missing the past week. Saturday they'll get to deal with the very talented Florida receiving corps. You'll also get to watch Tremaine McCollum --- who is now the # 3 guy --- as well as Nick Brooks and walk on Lamont Sheppard. Also it's a big opportunity for Louis Murphy, David Nelson and Nyan Boateng to make a statement.
  • Wynn and Manson vs. Everett and Siler ----- Much has been said and written about Urban Meyer's dissatisfaction with the play of his tailbacks last fall and again this spring. What better way to put the boss in a good mood than for one of these guys to power their way to a big performance in front of the faithful on Saturday? This is extra important to Wynn who should be the top guy in the backfield with his combination of ability and experience. Everett and Siler are so far ahead of the rest of the linebackers they absolutely MUST stay healthy.
  • Cornelius Ingram vs. Underneath Coverage ----- The former Hawthorne star has had a terrific spring and looks to impress the partisans with another good day at the office. He has the potential to be as big a nightmare in terms of match up situations as anyone the Gator offense has ever had. Often the "Sam" linebacker has to deal with him, but sometimes it's a safety. How well will they do?
  • Tim Tebow vs. Expectations ----- Not much is expected from Florida's freshman quarterback, is there? He's only supposed to be a combination of Danny Wuerffel and Rex Grossman. He's only supposed to be the next Kenny Stabler or Boomer Esiason. He's only supposed to challenge a three-year starter as a true freshman. The scary thing about all the hype is; he just might be all of the above. Still, watch him outside the pocket. He really is a special talent.

So those are some good things to be looking for on a warm spring afternoon in the University City. It should be a good min-homecoming for all concerned and a solid springboard into the off-season program for the Gators. This team has the talent to beat anyone it plays next year, but faces as difficult a schedule as UF has ever assembled.

See you there!

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