Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Hoping Corners Can Cut It; Florida Is Inexperienced at the Position and Still Seeks Another Starter

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Hoping Corners Can Cut It; Florida Is Inexperienced at the Position and Still Seeks Another Starter

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

GAINESVILLE - Doc Holliday, who coaches Florida's safeties, has an easy job during this spring's practices. Two experienced players already have locked up the starting jobs for the 2007 football season.

Holliday's counterpart, Chuck Heater, isn't so lucky in overseeing the cornerbacks. He's trying to convert a running back to the position, figure out who his two starters are and have three other players ready to play significant time.

"There's never enough corners," Heater said after a practice earlier this week. "We'll take as many as we can."

Right now, Heater has six players he believes will play this coming season: Markihe Anderson, Markus Manson, Wondy Pierre-Louis, Joe Haden, Ahmad Black and Jacques Rickerson. Anderson has probably locked down a starting job, but after that ...

Anderson, who will be a sophomore this fall, received playing time behind starters Ryan Smith and Reggie Lewis in eight games last season, including the Southeastern Conference and BCS national championship games. His best outing came Sept. 9 against Central Florida, when he broke up a pass and made four tackles.

Anderson's 2006 totals: eight tackles, one pass breakup. Not much of a resume, but the Fort Myers native certainly has the confidence that cornerbacks must possess.

"It's a lot of pressure [replacing Smith and Lewis]," Anderson said. "Those guys right there were tremendous guys on and off the field. Lot of big shoes to fill. I've got a lot of respect for those guys.

"I'm anxious for them to come back and see what they taught me and what I learned. Hopefully, they'll see I'm earning the No. 1 corner spot."

Pierre-Louis made the most impact as a freshman last season, but it wasn't in the secondary. The special-teams mainstay recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown that erased a four-point deficit against Arkansas and propelled Florida to a 38-28 victory in the SEC title game.

Manson spent his first two season at running back, but he wasn't able on the field much, rushing for 380 yards and two touchdowns on 85 carries. …

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