Florida football is nearing the tail end of the 2016 spring practice season, with all eyes on the developing Gator squad headed into the Orange and Blue debut April 8 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
This will be Florida fans first look at the new Gator offense and transitioning defense. Florida has lost key defensive players to the draft such as defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard, linebacker Antonio Morrison, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III and safety Keanu Neal.
Co-Defensive Coordinator Randy Shannon is excited with the progression at the linebacker position specifically and said he was impressed to see other veteran player stepping into the leadership role.
One guy Shannon described as “big” for the Gator defense is senior linebacker Jarrad Davis. Davis finished last season with 98.0 tackles, 11.0 for loss and one interception. The Gator defense will need senior leadership from players like Davis to fill the hole left by the loss of Antonio Morrison.
Coach Shannon expressed what Morrison meant to the Gator linebacker position saying he plays the game like its supposed to be played and the loss of his “say it how it is” leader will affect Florida but should also encourage others to step up.
Some players Shannon mentioned were stepping up to the plate included senior linebackers Daniel McMillian and Alex Anzalone. With the help of his senior leaders Shannon also mentioned that freshman linebacker David Reese is progressing quite well.
The talent is certainly there and that is why Coach Randy Shannon and the rest of the coaching staff are excited to see how the hard work done in spring practice will translate to the big stage. You can see for yourself at 7 p.m. Friday April 8 in Gainesville.