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March 22, 2014
Saturday Practice: In-depth instant analysis
The pads went on for the first time this spring as the Gators held a midday practice that closed out the two-day UF coaching clinic event. Hitting was still somewhat limited, but the on-field product was generally more intense than it has been the past few days.
THUMBS UP: It was another day full of positives if your hope this spring is to see the UF passing game revitalized. Once again, it was the quarterbacks and wide receivers with the upper-hand over the secondary for the majority of the day until the defensive backs forced some coverage "sacks" in the last round of 11-on-11 drills. … There were no Oklahoma drills or force-fed physicality on the first day of pads, but the energy was still very good throughout practice, and defensive end Joey Ivie let a couple of players - namely Mark Herndon - know what time of spring it was with a couple big hits. … Offensive line play was generally strong. It was another day of good snaps from new center Max Garcia and there were very few complete misses by scholarship players.
THUMBS DOWN: Poor Antonio Riles and Marcell Harris. The two redshirt freshmen were targeted by their position coaches - Brad Lawing and Will Muschamp, respectively - all day. One day after having issues staying onside, Riles continued to have trouble avoiding over-pursuit of the quarterback and getting pushed out of plays. Muschamp was not happy with Harris' technique. … Muschamp lists the kicking game as his second-biggest concern of spring practice and the kicker showed why today. Austin Hardin and Francisco Velez both had difficulty making kicks in game-like opportunities.
FIVE WHO STOOD OUT
1. WR Chris Thompson: Yes, again. Thompson had the biggest play of the day when he beat Vernon Hargreaves III down the sideline during one-on-ones for a crowd-pleasing touchdown catch from Will Grier.
2. DE Joey Ivie: Teammates raved about Ivie all offseason and with pads on, we're beginning to see why. He worked inside and out, showing quickness rushing around the edge and power pushing through Trip Thurman up the middle.
3. QB Jeff Driskel: The rust is falling off quickly for Driskel who had his best day of the first part of spring practice. The errant throws were much fewer and the decision-making was mostly crisp. Kurt Roper worked with him extensively on his drop-back footwork.
4. LT D.J. Humphries: It's only the early part of contact during spring drills, but Humphries looked like the kind of lineman the Gators need starting at right tackle. He fought off some of the team's better edge rushers and worked with younger players.
5. RB Adam Lane: Florida's resident bowling ball was a load to bring down the couple times hits on running backs was permitted. He rolled through two defenders during one particular short-range run-stop drill.
THIS AND THAT: Former NFL all-pro linebacker Bryan Cox was in attendance to watch his son, Bryan Cox Jr., practice. He kept a close eye on his son all day. … Driskel saw about 50 percent of the offensive snaps Saturday while Grier and Skyler Mornhinweg split the rest. Grier had the upper-hand on Mornhinweg for the second time in three practices. … Trenton Brown saw a small amount of time at first-team right tackle while Chaz Green took the vast majority of snaps.