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August 17, 2012
Florida's wide receivers were heavily maligned in 2011 and there was no mystery why.
Only one wide receiver had 20 or more catches, and the unit generally lacked an ability to help its quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease is looking to change that in 2012 and likes what he has seen so far.
"As a group they've gotten a lot better, because there is a lot demanded of them with route running," Pease said.
Pease said the group has speed and he is seeing more players gain confidence in an ability to stretch the field. He called junior Andre Debose an obvious choice to talk about in that regard but added everything is tough to read being that Florida's defense is much different than what the Gators will see to start the season.
Pease also toned down some of the hype that has been given to freshmen wide receivers Latroy Pittman and Raphael Andrades.
He said Andrades has shown the ability to make big plays, but is still not where a regular contributor needs to be.
"Typical freshman," Pease said. "They're still learning and not consistent enough."
When asked about whether or not Pittman had taken a step back this fall, Pease said it's simply a matter of how much he is responsible for. In spring, it was easy to hype Pittman because he had a limited amount of things to learn. Now that fall camp is here, much more is being asked of him.
"The expectations are a little bit higher," Pease said. "The knowledge of what he has to know is a little bit higher."
Solomon Patton hasn't gotten named much this fall, but Pease did say he had one of the best weeks of any wide receiver this past week.
Quarterback talk: You can't make it through a sit-down with Pease without the ongoing quarterback battle coming up, and Friday was no different.
Pease dodged questions regarding any separation between Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel, instead saying, 'They have both gotten better in all aspects of their game and that's the main thing.'
He is confident in what he can get out of either quarterback, something he said makes the decision a less difficult one to make when the time comes. Pease said reps have been even between the two since Driskel returned to practice Wednesday.
When it comes decision time, Pease said he and Will Msuchamp will be split roughly 50-50 on who makes the decision. "It's probably a little bit more of a 51-49 his decision. He's the head coach." Muschamp tends to evaluate the quarterbacks from a defensive perspective, while Pease gives him feedback from his view daily.
New tight end impressing: Sophomore Tevin Westbrook played sparingly as a freshman, leading coaches to move him from defensive end to tight end. If Pease's comments on how he is handling the move are any indication, expect Westbrook's playing time to increase: "Phenomenal, I mean that kid is a big plus for us. He has a great attitude, works hard. He has had probably one of the best camps of anybody."
Still no Reed: Pease said tight end Jordan Reed would not be taking part in Friday's team scrimmage. Reed has been out of practice since twisting his knee in Saturday's scrimmage.