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Notebook: Powell suffers sprained knee

4/8/2012

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Defensive end/linebacker Ronald Powell was having the best spring of his career until he was forced to leave Saturday’s spring game with a left knee injury.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said Powell suffered a sprain and seemed to indicate that the injury was not particularly serious. However, Powell was on crutches during the second half of the Blue’s 21-20 victory over the Orange at Florida Field.

Powell (6-foot-4, 250 pounds) had been UF’s best defensive player throughout the spring. He was named the defensive player of the day during both of UF’s scrimmages and appeared to be on the verge of becoming the elite pass-rusher many predicted he would become when UF signed him as the nation’s top recruit in 2010.

Powell led the Gators with six sacks last season.

New RBs do OK

Chris Johnson and Omarius Hines moved to running back from safety and tight end, respectively, this spring, and the two did well enough that they will remain at their new spot, Muschamp said.

Johnson led all rushers with 13 carries for 40 yards and one touchdown. Hines had four carries for 13 yards.

“I think both guys are physical guys,” Muschamp said. “Both guys can help us. How much and how far there’s separation between them, I’d like to watch the film first.”

Hines will also work some at tight end and Muschamp said the Gators will use him similar to the way they use Trey Burton -- as a fullback, H-back, slot receiver. Hines caught five passes for 47 yards out of the backfield on Saturday.

“In order to find out what they can do, you need to evaluate them in game-type situations,” Muschamp said. “That’s why today, we moved some guys around.”

Early enrollees shine

All six of the players who enrolled in January played on Saturday, but it was receiver Latroy Pittman and linebacker Antonio Morrison who impressed the most.

Pittman caught two passes for 51 yards -- including a 43-yard hookup with Jacoby Brissett -- and nearly had a long touchdown catch but couldn’t quite get to a slightly overthrown ball. Pittman isn’t a blazer -- he was timed at 4.64 in the 40-yard dash in one combine -- but he has consistently gotten open all spring.

“He’s done a nice job, he really has,” Muschamp said. “We had him in camp a year ago. We really liked him. We liked him at receiver. We liked him at defensive back. He’s a talented young man. He’s physical. He’s tough. He’s got ball instincts. He’s got play-making ability, so we’re very pleased with his progress.”

Morrison made nine tackles, including combining with Gideon Ajagbe to stop Johnson for no gain on one carry and nailing Hines for a 1-yard loss on a screen pass.

“Now that’s a tough 'backer out of Chicago,” Muschamp said. “He likes playing the game.”

Etc.

Linebacker Jonathan Bostic (back spasms) and safety Matt Elam (groin) were held out because of injuries they sustained last week. Bostic’s back started to bother him on Friday. Elam had surgery on his groin in January and aggravated the injury early last week. … Cornerback Marcus Roberson was a non-contact participant in spring practice as he recovers from a neck injury. He did not play on Saturday but was scheduled to fair catch punts. UF, however, did not punt. … The Blue team’s 21 points in the fourth quarter were a UF spring game record. … Kicker Caleb Sturgis missed his only field goal attempt, pulling a 34-yarder wide left. ... UF used four 12-minute quarters with a running clock. The only time the clock stopped was during the two-minute drill at the end of each half. … Wide receivers combined to catch nine passes on Saturday.