December 24, 2013

Anonymous Player Parting Thoughts, Part III



Each year, Inside the Gators fills its offseason coverage with our "Parting Thoughts" series, a collection of interviews with departing seniors and early-entry juniors recapping their time at Florida.

For the second year in a row, we have decided to open the series with something a little different. We asked an anonymous player to share his thoughts on a wide variety of topics regarding the current state of the Gators. From assessment of individual players to a big-picture look at the major issues facing Florida football, no topic was off-limits in this five-part interview.

As an aside, allowing a player to comment anonymously obviously has its benefits and downsides. The goal of this is to give the reader an honest and freely expressive look inside the Gators' locker room, but we also acknowledge the nature of anonymous comments and the stigma that can come with them.

Today, we discuss a number of underclassmen. From redshirted freshmen to a sophomore who made headlines, we address some of Florida's most prominent unknowns.

Freshman defensive tackle Caleb Brantley: "He came in very, very out of shape over the summer. When the freshmen came in, we had a 110 test. I think he may have made two out of the 20 or 24, however many we ran. He was very out of shape, so he was behind from the get-go. I will say he really came on late in the season. He won one of the scout team defensive awards this year, so he must have done a good job over there. But he definitely came in out of shape, and that put him behind the 8-ball."

-- On Brantley's attitude: "That was another issue they had, especially early on. He didn't take coaching well at all with weight coaches or position coaches. He definitely had an attitude, but that seemed to kind of resolve itself about midway through the season."

Freshman linebacker Jarrad Davis: "He's just a really good athlete and he's very instinctual. I've never seen a kid that young coming out of high school just know how to play linebacker so well. If we hadn't had him, we would have been really hurting. He was a special teams warrior all year, started on all four phases. He's a quiet kid, goes about his business, hard-worker. He's going to be a real good one."

Freshman center Cameron Dillard: "In my opinion, I don't think he'll be ready to go this year. I feel like they're going to have to move someone else there. He's a great kid and everything, but I don't think he's ready to be a starting center in the SEC as a redshirt freshman. He may get there in a year or two, but I don't see it this year."

Freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III: "Vernon is another great athlete. He showed up big time back in camp. I mean he showed up from day one and took Brian Poole's spot at nickel within the first few days of practice, and Poole played a lot for us as a freshman. He's going to be really good."

Freshman safety Marcell Harris: "He had a knee injury. He kept having his knee swell up a little bit. But he spent the entire year on scout team. Early on in camp, he got his opportunity but you had other guys stepping up at safety. He kind of got pushed out of the rotation early on and never worked himself back in. He'll have his opportunity this year."

Freshman offensive lineman Roderick Johnson: "He looked good. He moves well. He's a big kid, pretty strong. If he can stay healthy, he has the opportunity to be pretty good."

Freshman running back Adam Lane: "He's really impressive. I hope he gets in the mix and gets the opportunity to carry the ball. He has such a low center of gravity and he runs it so hard. He's fast. He's an interesting player."

Freshman linebacker Daniel McMillian: "He's a really good athlete. He's fast, runs well. His biggest issue is he's not very smart. He didn't pick things up defensively. Really simple concepts, our most simple concepts, he never picked up. That's why he only played on special teams for us. He didn't play any at linebacker. You could put him out there, but he would literally have no idea what to do. That's a big issue for him. He's a great player, but he's just not very smart. He doesn't grasp the defense very well."

Sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison: "He didn't even get to come to meetings or come to workouts for a while. He worked out on his own. He was a little bit behind having missed all that stuff, but once he rejoined the team, it really wasn't an issue. He got in front of the team and apologized and said he screwed up and that he was going through everything coach Muschamp was making him do extra. Once he rejoined the team, it was kind of squashed. Everyone moved on."

-- On what Morrison is like as a teammate: "Last year, he came in and he was pretty cocky. But this year, he tried to take more of a leadership role on the defense. He was a lot better this year with his attitude. He tried to help the younger guys out, help the freshmen. He tried to help them understand the defense."

Freshman wide receiver Demarcus Robinson: "He's very talented. I don't know if he just didn't know what to do, didn't know where to lineup or whatever. He was on scout team all year and he made catch after catch on scout team. You had to sit back and ask yourself: With all the trouble we were having offensively and not getting much production out of our receiving corps, why wasn't he able to play? Again, I don't know if he didn't know what to do, but he's a special talent. I hope he can get it all together because he can definitely help us out next year."

-- On if he was a noticeable disciplinary problem: "I don't know why he got suspended, honestly. Coach said violation of team rules or something like that. There's something there. He never got into it with a coach at practice or anything like that. He's a real likeable guy."

Who he sees breaking out amongst the underclassmen moving forward: "Demarcus Robinson, if they can get him on the field for sure. Ahmad Fulwood, he played toward the end of the year and had a few catches but he really came on during the season. Keanu Neal, at safety, he played on special teams all year just because we had so many DBs that were older. He has got a chance to play a good bit at safety this coming year."

COMING UP
Wednesday: The seniors
Thursday: ITG subscriber Q&A



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