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Can Zach Azzanni Do What Billy Gonzales Couldn't?

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The thing that everyone missed during the fuss over Deonte Thompson's comments comparing John Brantley and Tim Tebow was this; Thompson was getting the ball a lot in practice. For the first time in his career, Thompson is being treated like The Guy and that can be attributed to the work new receivers coach Zach Azzanni has done.

Last season, aside from Riley Cooper and Aaron Hernandez, Florida did not develop any receivers. David Nelson, bless his championship game hands, was never an every down guy. Thompson was not ready, Omarius Hines and his thoroughbred legs couldn't get off special teams, Frankie Hammond's talent from 2009 Orange & Blue Game was missing in the fall, and UF lacked Carl Moore and Andre Debose

Azzanni can't get his hands on Moore (personal issues) and Debose (hamstring), but Thompson, Hammond, Hines and freshman Solomon Patton are blossoming under Azzanni. The Gators are expected to be a run-oriented team next season as they break in Brantley and adjust to life without experienced receivers. But this is at least a two year plan. Florida is not going to compete for a National Championship in 2010. Azzanni is not going to make Debose into Percy Harvin in one season. The growth of each player is what is most important, not numbers or wins in 2010.

A lot of the responsibility to get better will rely on each player, as well. Moore was doing well in recovering from back injuries until his unfortunate leave. Thompson is clearly clicking with Brantley and don't forget the Canadian Stephen Alli and his 6-foot-5 frame. Like the defensive side, there are a lot of talented kids at WR, but it may take a season to see how good they are and how well Azzanni has done with them.