Notebook: D-line picks up depth

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UF defensive line coach Sal Sunseri. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Florida’s defensive tackles have an addition to their ranks.

It’s West Virginia graduate transfer Adam Shuler. The 6-4, 275-pound Shuler played defensive end for the Mountaineers, starting eight games last season. But he’s been getting reps at defensive tackle with the Gators.

“I like that he is really a hard worker,” Conliffe said. “Really good with his hands. It’s pretty much just him getting in and learning the playbook, I know he is going to make a real big impact.

“Right now he’s working at tackle to learn that position and getting that down.”

Copeland misses practice

Freshman wide receiver Jacob Copeland, one of the highest-rated players in the 2018 recruiting class, was not at practice Tuesday. In the first practice of camp last Friday, Copeland was limping slightly and was wearing a knee brace.

Wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales was asked after Tuesday’s practice if something was going on with Copeland.

“Coach Mullen will address all those things,” he said.

The rush is on

The expectation is the Gators’ pass-rush will be markedly better in 2018. It should be, when you consider edge rushers Cece Jefferson, Jachai Polite and Jabari Zuniga all return.

And, there’s a chance all three will be on the field at the same time in coordinator Todd Grantham’s aggressive, attacking scheme.

“Oh yeah. Most definitely,” Polite said. “Most likely, (opposing offensive coordinators) should be scared. Me, Cece and Jabari on the field at the same time, it’s going to be crazy.”

There are other ends also lining up to contribute, including redshirt freshman Zachary Carter, Antonneous Clayton and the two true freshmen — Malik Langham and Andrew Chatfield.

“We’re loaded on the edge,” Carter said.

Confident QBs

Sophomore wide receiver Daquon Green said there’s been a noticeable change in the quarterbacks since the spring.

“Biggest difference I’m seeing is that they’re a lot more competitive and they’re more confident,” Green said. “You can tell in their play, they’re getting a better understanding (of the offense).

“And there’s better communication between the quarterbacks and the receivers and the rest of the offense. I feel like this season is going to be really good.”

Growing Gators

For those interested in the height and weight of the players, there’s an updated roster that was released Monday that shows some players making significant gains.

The biggest weight gain was by freshman tight end Dante Lang, who has gone from 222 pounds to 253. The second biggest gain was by quarterback Feleipe Franks, who was 219 in the spring but is now listed as 240.

Here’s a look at some more of Nick Savage’s handiwork: wide receiver Kadarius Toney (from 180 to 190), linebacker Jeremiah Moon (218 to 232), wide receiver Freddie Swain (186 to 199), defensive end Zachary Carter (263 to 277), linebacker Lacedrick Brunson (220 to 234), linebacker Nick Smith (213 to 227), offensive guard/center Tyler Jordan (309 to 321) and offensive guard Fred Johnson (311 to 330).

6 COMMENTS

  1. I’m concerned yet about the injuries. But with Heggie in a walking boot and Copeland already limping in a brace I hope this isn’t an ominous sign of the gators having another inury plagued season. Last time a check it’s impossible to be successful if you can’t keep your players on the field.

    • My satisfaction line is 9 wins. Below is a disappointment and above would be phenomenal. The schedule could not look any better.

      • Fair enough, Rocketman — everyone has their own balance of logic and emotion. I was calling it 8-4, plus a decent bowl win for 9-4, but have since changed my outlook to 9-3 regular season, 10-3 overall. Know what though? None of us really will know a damn thing, as TampaGator would say, until “toe meets leather”. Which is 23 days and a wake up now, no matter what time zone you dwell in.

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