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In-depth Defensive Observations | Kurt Roper talks Florida offense | Instant Analysis: Top performers
Wednesday morning was hotter than your average practice at the Dizney Lacrosse Stadium. Regardless, the Gators' offense saw some good reps without its two top tailbacks. Here are some in-depth offensive observations from day 10 of fall camp.
- Jeff Driskel may not have had his two top running backs, Kelvin Taylor (strained hamstring) and Matt Jones (knee), at his disposal. but he still had a good practice overall, completing a few nice passes downfield.
- After going full contact for the second half of Tuesday's practice, freshmen signal callers Will Grier and Treon Harris returned to the red (non-contact) jerseys Wednesday. Neither had the smoothest of practices. During the first two-minute drill, Grier saw two of his passes knocked down and was forced to run with the pocket collapsing. Harris took a step back Wednesday and continued to display that his naturally tendency is to run the ball when the pocket breaks down. A lot of times, that resulted in a would-be sack or no gain.
- Grier and Harris got the first go at second-team reps in 11-on-11s, but Skyler Mornhinweg eventually got his turn and shared the snaps. He found Mack Brown wide open down the middle for a decent gain, but ultimately didn't impress or show much consistency during the drill. He also threw a pick to Marcus Maye. The trio of backup quarterbacks saw several of their passes picked off during 1-on-1 drills between the receivers and defensive backs.
- With Brown and Taylor out and Adam Lane in an orange non-contact jersey, Mack Brown saw the majority of the first-team reps. He looked better than he has in the past catching slants and passes down the middle, but he couldn't find too much success getting past the defensive line on the run.
- Mark Herndon had a strong practice Wednesday in the absence of his competition. On an option play, he ran it down the defense's throat for a decent gain. Later in the morning, he did the same on a run up the middle, cutting well and getting past the defensive tackles.
- Freshman tailback Brandon Powell also saw considerable action Wednesday with the second team.
- During the 1-on-1 passing drill, the defensive backs won the battle against the wide outs. Corners Jalen Tabor, Quincy Wilson and J.C. Jackson each notched a pick.
- Ahmad Fulwood continues to look like one of the Gators' strongest receivers. Wednesday, he caught a deep pass in a difficult spot from Harris. Fulwood also beat Brian Poole for a long completion in another drill.
- Quinton Dunbar also had a productive practice. The redshirt senior in full skeletons caught a deep ball from Driskel wide open up the middle for a touchdown. Jake McGee lining up out wide opened the field for Dunbar and gave him some space with the defense distracted.
- Demarcus Robinson's day wasn't the smoothest. After falling on a route and missing a pass from Grier, he lost the battle against Jackson in 1-on-1s. Jackson dove for an interception, beating out the sophomore receiver.
- Maye got the best of freshman receiver C.J. Worton during the final two-minute drill. The defensive back read Worton's route and made the pick.
- Alvin Bailey continues to see snaps in the slot and is slowly working his way up into the rotation. He's seeing as much time in 11-on-11s now as Valdez Showers. On a few instances Wednesday, Bailey lost the battle against his coverage. Marcell Harris batted down a fourth-down pass intended for Bailey, while Wilson earned an interception on a pass intended for Bailey in 1-on-1s.
- Redshirt senior receiver Andre Debose (knee swelling) returned to practice Wednesday in a full-contact jersey.
- Jake McGee continues to see first-team reps and grow comfortable in the Florida offensive scheme. He almost hauled in a deep pass Wednesday - one that would have been an extremely difficult completion by most standards - but Antonio Morrison dropped back in coverage and was there to break it up in time. McGee almost had it.
- Clay Burton and Tevin Westbrook saw some first-team action with McGee, while DeAndre Goolsby played with the second team. The freshman tight end got the better of Wilson on a pass from Grier down the right flank.
- In the final two-minute drill, the offensive line got bullied in pass protection. The Gators' offensive tackles struggled to block on the edge and allowed pass rushers Gerald Willis and Alex McCalister to get to the quarterback on multiple occasions. Offensive tackles D.J. Humphries and David Sharpe both struggled to contain the edge rush.
- With Trip Thurman out for an undisclosed reason, Trenton Brown saw first-team reps at right guard with Tyler Moore moving over to the left hand side.
- Line coach Mike Summers had plenty to say to true freshman Travaris Dorsey after a play where he almost allowed a sack on a poor block.
- Summers monitored Sharpe closely all throughout practice and made him re-do drills he didn't do correctly. Humphries also took a leadership role with Sharpe, a project at offensive tackle. During drills, you could hear Humphries instructing Sharpe and giving him pointers.
THIS AND THAT
- Robinson, Debose and Vernon Hargreaves III lined up to catch punts Wednesday. Kyle Christy was the first-team punter and Robinson lined up as the first-team punt returner. Johnny Townsend was the second-team punter. On one of his earlier punts, Christy shanked it badly, but then he bounced back and kicked it with much better aim and distance. Townsend fared well during the drill.
- In 11-on-11s, Brooks Abbott missed the game-tying kick. The snap and hold weren't to his liking as he took an extra step before kicking it.
- During route-running drills, tight ends coach Derek Lewis could be heard yelling: "Shut up, it's supposed to be hot" as the sun baked down.