Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Notebook

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Notebook

Article excerpt


University of Florida defensive coordinator John Hoke says the Gators have a new weapon on defense this year, one which is guaranteed to make them a better team: The bench.

Unlike last year, when the Gators broke in 11 new starters on defense, this year's squad has nine returning starters. That means much more depth, Hoke said, and it gives the coaches more options if someone isn't playing well.

"Guys will be benched if they don't play well -- that's the best thing we've got going," Hoke said. "Last year guys didn't step forward enough. You had that guy to play and that's what you had to live with. He was the best player. Right now we have some options and if one guy's not doing it he can come watch."

Hoke is making sure his players know that applies to practice, too.

"If they want to get in the game they'd better practice and show that they're worthy of playing in that ballgame," Hoke said. "If they do that they'll get that opportunity. If they go out there and aren't performing to the ability we think they should be, they can come over and watch."


The injuries along the offensive line have had a dominoes effect on the remaining healthy players. Some have gone from one side to the other, from one position to the other, and some have been elevated from backup to starter. That's the case with Thomas Moody, who is listed as the starting left guard because Leon Hires has moved to left tackle to replace the injured Mike Pearson.

But Moody's situation is different. At least the other players have experience. Moody has only been an offensive lineman since the spring, and he's still got a lot of work before the season opener on Sept. 2.

"We certainly anticipate and hope that he does much better in two-a-days than what he did in the spring," offensive line coach Jimmy Ray Stephens said. …

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