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March 24, 2014
Monday Practice: Instant Analysis
On an unseasonably cool afternoon where rain threatened but never struck, Florida went through its fourth practice of the spring. The Gators worked heavily on position drills and special teams with some 11-on-11 action mixed in.
THUMBS UP: Momentum shifted back in favor of the defense Monday, as the secondary once again took control of the passing game and the front seven made multiple disruptive plays during 11-on-11 drills. Linebackers have seldom had a stage on which to shine during the early portions of spring camp, but Jarrad Davis and crew put on a show in the fourth practice. Michael Taylor continues to be impressive and the group as a whole excelled. … Kickers have caught a lot of flak this spring, so it's worth noting Austin Hardin and Francisco Velez both had much-improved days.
THUMBS DOWN: Offensive play was overall about as bright as the dreary Gainesville skies. Quarterback play was spotty at best. Jeff Driskel struggled to find any sense of consistent accuracy and threw one pass off the helmet of an offensive linemen ending in an interception. His backups followed suit with lackluster days of their own. … In the quarterbacks' defense, troubles started at center where Max Garcia and Cameron Dillard both had rough days getting them the ball. Garcia's snaps were often low, while Dillard had some trouble keeping his down. … Though it was mostly a positive day defensively, Marcell Harris and Duke Dawson were targeted by Will Muschamp for poor decision-making.
FIVE WHO STOOD OUT
1. Buck Dante Fowler Jr.: He hasn't had to have too many big moments this spring, but Fowler showed flashes of why he beings the potential of excitement forcing Driskel out of the pocket and into an eventual incomplete pass.
2. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III: More often than not, he's the best player on the field. He was tight in coverage all day and didn't get beat once. Hargreaves is also taking on more and more of a vocal role within the secondary.
3. Wide receiver Raphael Andrades: After a rocky experience in the previous offensive system, Andrades finally saw his first real opportunity to stand out in front of Kurt Roper Monday and took full advantage. He caught everything thrown his way and was physical fighting off defensive backs.
4. Linebacker Jarrad Davis: The sophomore is starting to hit his stride and show why coaches were so high on him in 2013. Davis seems like he is always around the ball and picks things up quicker than any linebacker other than Taylor. He had a huge hit during 11-on-11 as well as an interception.
5. Running back Mark Herndon: At some point, Herndon's practice prowess has to translate into a more serious opportunity to see the field when the games matter. He made plays in space and was an explosive threat out of the backfield.
THIS AND THAT: Four-star 2015 wide receiver John Burt was in attendance and was side-by-side with Joker Phillips for the early portion of practice before leaving. Treon Harris watched the entire practice from the sidelines. … Safety Keanu Neal (hamstring) worked in "the pit" for the third day in a row. Buck Jordan Sherit wore a non-contact jersey and had a new soft brace on his right arm. Defensive tackle Darious Cummings was not spotted at practice.