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April 2, 2014

Wednesday Practice: Instant Analysis

Spring practice No. 9 is in the books for the Gators and the dog days of early April were in full effect Wednesday. The weather was warmer than it has been, the end was not quite in sight and the on-field product was somewhat sluggish. Florida worked through it but not in an overly impressive fashion.

THUMBS UP: It was a unique offensive practice in that it was largely a strong day for the wide receivers without being a strong day for the quarterbacks. The wideouts held their own and got the better of Florida's defensive backs even though the throws weren't always there. Kicker Austin Hardin had by far his best day while fellow kicker Francisco Velez had one of his worst, getting two kicks blocked. Hardin was consistent throughout the practice. Florida continued to add new aspects to its offense, including a more complete usage of the "B" position with tight ends utilizing more motion in, especially on read-option plays. The Gators went under-center for the first time during 11-on-11 work near the goal line. Clay Burton was lined up at fullback.

THUMBS DOWN: Quarterback play was rough throughout the practice aside from two big late throws from Will Grier and a couple plays in which receivers made Jeff Driskel look better than he was. A handful of Driskel's dead plays were throwaways, but he had plenty of simple misfires as well. Skyler Mornhinweg was worse, much worse. He once again split second-team snaps with Grier but was clearly the lesser quarterback on the day. Mornhinweg's accuracy was non-existent. Intensity seemed down all around on a day where the coaches were much more vocal than the players. Vernon Hargreaves III, Max Garcia, Trip Thurman and Jay-nard Bostwick were among the players harassed for a lack of effort at some point or another.


1. Wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood: The sophomore took freshman Duke Dawson deep twice during one-on-one drills and came away with big touchdown catches on both to the delite of Joker Phillips.

2. Safety Jabari Gorman: He was the most consistent of the defensive backs and put together two pass breakups to go along with an interception on an errant throw.

3. Wide receiver Latroy Pittman: Flipping with Valdez Showers, Pittman got the vast majority of first-team repetitions at slot receiver. He had arguably the best play of the day, going up over Gorman to fight for a big catch during two-minute drills.

4. Linebacker Daniel McMillian: The defense seems to be coming to him a little easier and the result has been more playing time at inside linebacker. McMillian was constantly around the ball when he got the chance Wednesday.

5. Kicker Austin Hardin: Not missing a kick in the various game-like situations thrown at him will earn a spot on this list given how poor kicking has been at Florida since Caleb Sturgis left.

THIS AND THAT: Mimicking Matt Elam's idea from Monday, Miami Dolphins linebacker Jelani Jenkins went through position drills with the Gators during Wednesday's practice. Simulating an end-of-the-game scenario where there are three plays to score from the 15-yard line, Driskel hit Mack Brown out of the backfield on the third attempt at a touchdown. New soft-spoken offensive line coach Mike Summers yelled for the first noticeable time this spring when he was displeased with the effort given by Thurman and Garcia. ... Senior defensive tackle Darious Cummings was not at practice. He has been dealing with a family matter throughout spring.

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