The Spring celebration of Gator Football is upon us. The Annual Orange and Blue Spring Game will be played this Saturday. Kickoff at 1:00 PM. I have had this date circled since it was announced. My Gators have become a main-stay in the National Championship and BCS talk in College Football and this year is no different.
The Gators coming off another BCS Championship Season in 2008 obviously have high expectations. And, those high expectations are coming from fans, alumni, and of course the team itself. Now, more often than not I attend this game and this year will be no different.
With there being so many changes in the team it will be interesting to see what changed in the overall look of my Gators and what has stayed the same and kept the course of continuity.
How do we look without Dan Mullen calling the plays and without his interaction with Tebow? Now as a Gator fan we have been told many times that play calling by this team is done by committee.
But I have never underestimated the value of Coach Mullen to our success. He was maligned early in the 08 season for his conservative play calling or for thinking that only Harvin could make plays but, post Arkansas he was a Offensive God to many in Gatornation.
How will this new position affect the focus, the coaching, and the motivation of Steve Addazio? Coach Meyer said after promoting Addazio that, "there was no other choice....no doubt in his mind." I am going to hold you to that Coach Meyer.
You haven't disappointed me yet in any of your actions as the Head Football Coach of Gatornation. So, I want to see what this position coach slash Saturday morning wake up caller can do as our new Offensive Coordinator.
What kind of effect will the new QB Coach Scott Loeffler have on Tim Tebow, and John Brantley? I have heard and read that there is a noticeable difference in Tebow's delivery, arm strength, accuracy, and his footwork. As a true homer I didn't think anything was wrong with his performances in the past three years.
But then I love Superman and I think my hand shake with Tebow is as close to perfection as I will get. My desire is though that he will become NFL ready and shut the mouths of the Mel Kipers of the world and all those Stafford lovers. In the mean time I am expecting these new improvements in Tebow to bring about another BCS appearance.
John Brantley: I have always thought he had a rifle arm. And, he showed signs of great promise last year in relieving Tebow in blow out games. This year and this spring game I am looking for more confidence, signs that we won't miss a beat when Tebow walks out of the swamp for the last time.
Now, that maybe a bit much to come away with from the Spring Game. But I do feel that Brantley has the ability to win in the SEC. And, in 2010 he will be a red-shirt junior. Three years of experience so I want no Joe Cox-Matthew Stafford transition kind of talk here.
I want there to be no questions that need to be answered. Brantley also seems to be gaining the confidence of the his receivers and O-line and that is key to his eventual success.
Speaking of receivers I have been reading that no one has been truly separating themselves. But, DeonteThompson and Carl Moore have shown signs of making me feel a little comfort now that Murphy and Harvin have exited to the draft. I thought Thompson had some success last year and showed that he should be our deep threat.
Moore didn't catch many passes last year but those that he did were of course important. I look for Carl Moore to really surprised us. Riley Cooper is busy with baseball but I hoping that he forgoes the Major League Draft and comeback for his senior season.
David Nelson, who became my clutch-time hero in so many games 2008, is out with an injury. But, I will be excited to see him be a go to guy in this offense come fall. I said after last year Nelson needed to gain a little bit of weight and he has done that.
Also, who is this Justin Williams? I have heard he is turning a lot of heads in practice, has great speed and sure hands. Now maybe that's what all receivers have until the lights come on but, I would still like to see what all the hoopla is about with him on Apr. 18.
I was excited to get a chance to see RB Emmanual Moody. But, the injury bug has bitten him again and he had surgery on his hand. Now I hear he is going to be available for the game this Saturday but I don't know how much he will be able to contribute or how much of a statement he will be able to make.
I really think though that with his style of running he can really be a power runner and finesse runner for us. I like what he did in the Georgia game and what he did in the second half of the Alabama game.
I thought Bama really handled our small backs in Rainey and Demps. I am hoping that he can stay injury free and give us a respectable and durable back to rely on.
Aaron Henrnandez: Now Meyer said in the middle of the season that, "Hernandez could be even better if he would focus and work a little harder." I wonder if he reach those standards for Meyer by the end of the season in 08. I thought he played spectacular from FSU on through the National Championship game.
Now I consider Gresham of Oklahoma the beast of all beast when it comes to TE's in College Football. But, I also think Hernandez has to be a close second. He is clutch with great hands and I am interested to see how they use him this Spring and of course in the Fall. The only other TE on scholarship Desmond Parks is hurt and won't see action this spring.
What about this hurry up offense? Are we really trying to installed this for the entire game or the entire season? Or are we just putting in certain plays and packages for a different look for our offense? I will be looking to see what we are doing with this in the Spring Game.
I am not sure we can do much with this hurry up offense with all the injuries to the line this Spring. But, considering how impressed I was with the Sooners and this offense in 2008, if my Gators can pull this off and make it so for the 2009 Season, I think that makes us a huge prospect to repeat.
This is officially now "The Omar Hunter Watch Part II." Needless to say with all the injuries and the back problems last year, Hunter never became anything but a red shirt freshman. But I am hopeful with all the positive news coming out of spring drills.
He has lost weight and showing aggression and intensity in practice. After he de-committed last year from Notre Dame and shun Richt and Georgia I would love to see this player materialize into a monster on our defensive line. Our own Mount Cody if you will. So all eyes on you Omar. I will be looking for you.
Other than that I am just looking to enjoy my Gators. It's just wonderful to see so much orange and blue in one place. I don't care what the score is. I just want to be apart of this special day in Spring '09.