Plenty of highlights from UF practice

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The Gators run plays during morning practice Saturday at Maguire Field on the University of Florida campus. [Lauren Bacho/Gainesville Sun]

The Florida Gators would have to rank their first official camp practice a success Saturday.

The offense and defense both had good moments and big plays, the team got a lot of work in on individual drills and special teams — and no one got hurt doing the two-hour practice in the late-morning heat at the UF Recreation Sports Fields.

Members of the media were invited to watch the practice.

We’ll offer observations from the three major phases of the practice — individual drills, seven-on-seven and 11-on-11.

Drills

  • UF’s lack of depth at cornerback is obvious. Cornerbacks coach Charlton Warren had only seven CBs to work with, and three of them were walk-ons.
  • The running backs looked good catching the ball out of the backfield. Lamical Perine and Jordan Scarlett both showed good, soft hands and looked natural catching the ball.
  • Slot receiver Kadarius Toney is tough to cover because of his quickness, but nickel Chauncey Gardner-Johnson suffocated him on a pass in the flat. Toney got zero separation and Gardner-Johnson broke up the pass.
  • Cornerback Marco Wilson intercepted a Feleipe Franks pass over the middle.
  • Brian Edwards broke up a deep pass intended for Van Jefferson.
  • Jaylin Jackson, the preferred walk-on from Tampa, looked really quick running his routes, and showed good hands. He’s on the small side, but that doesn’t seem to deter or limit him.
  • The Gators worked on a lot of special teams, spending time on kickoff returns and punt returns and punt cover.
  • Adarius Lemons, Tyrie Cleveland, Malik Davis and Toney returned kickoffs.
  • During the first break, the quarterbacks had to run sprints, with coach Dan Mullen joining in, while the other position players rested. Maybe they did something the coaches didn’t like in the first part of the practice.

Seven-on-seven

  • Franks threw a perfect pass over the middle to Jefferson for a 20-yard gain.
  • Tight end Lucas Krull had his hands on a pass down the middle, but walk-on defensive back Nick Olerich managed to break it up.
  • Freshman quarterback Emory Jones threw a bomb to Jefferson for a touchdown.
  • Franks threw a long touchdown pass to Freddie Swain.
  • Jones threw a strike over the middle to Daquon Green for a big gain.
  • Trevon Grimes beat cornerback Marco Wilson deep and Franks delivered a strike for a touchdown.
  • Kyle Trask completed a deep pass to Green.
  • Jones threw a long TD pass to Cleveland.
  • Green caught a deep pass from Jones.
  • Gardner-Johnson had a near interception of a Franks pass over the middle.
  • Franks did a nice job of going through his progressions and find Scarlett open for a completion in the flat.

11-on-11

  • While the quarterbacks and receivers stood out in seven-on-seven, the defense dominated when all 22 players were on the field.
  • Outside linebacker Vosean Joseph sacked Franks.
  • A Franks deep pass for Green was broken up by true freshman cornerback Trey Dean III.
  • The offensive line struggled throughout in pass protection, getting beat on the edge and up the middle at times.
  • Cornerback C.J. McWilliams broke up a pass intended for Jefferson over the middle.
  • True freshman defensive end Malik Langham sacked Jones.
  • West Virginia transfer Adam Shuler sacked Jones.
  • Trask threw a perfect pass over the middle for a completion to Jefferson.
  • Gardner-Johnson blew up a wide receiver screen pass behind the line.
  • Defensive tackle Luke Ancrum batted down a pass.
  • Malik Davis had a nice run up the middle. He does not appear hampered at all by his knee that was operated on last fall.
  • Franks hooked up with Green on a deep crossing route.
  • Jefferson made a leaping catch over cornerback Brian Edwards on a 50-50 deep ball.
  • Jaylin Jackson almost broke a screen pass for a touchdown.
  • Redshirt freshman James Houston IV had a big hit on Lemons at the line of scrimmage.
  • On a 50-50 deep ball, Gardner-Johnson broke up a pass intended for Jefferson. Gardner-Johnson appeared to have a great overall practice, making plays all over the field.
  • Wide receiver Rick Wells caught a deep pass in the flat and appeared headed for a touchdown, but he pulled up with what appeared to be a leg cramp.
  • True freshman Dameon Pierce had about a 20-yard run.
  • Walk-on defensive back Patrick Moore intercepted a tipped pass.

Overall, it appeared to be a positive practice (not much yelling from the coaches) — and everyone seemed to come out of it fine physically.

 

49 COMMENTS

  1. Nice report, Robbie. Appreciate the hard work and variety of observations.

    Note how infrequently Trask appears, positively or negatively.

    • Gr8,
      I was thinking the exact same thing, only the opposite for Jones and Jefferson. Jefferson was mentioned with all the qb’s. It seems he may have a nice season regardless of the qb.

  2. Watched Jaylin Jackson play last year in a high school game and he was amazing on the field as an option QB. And when Florida got him to become a preferred walk on back in February, I came on here an posted that he could become a player for the Gators. He is really small, but he is almost impossible to catch and tackle. He is extremely quick. If he adds some weight and muscle to his frame, he could really develop into an outstanding player at the slot receiver position in the future. Maybe even this year. And wish we could find out what is going on with Jacob Copeland. It is shame he is not practicing with the team. And now Henderson. Not good.

    • Well a DB from the Tampa area is no longer on the team. Only seems appropriate to hand that scholarship over to this young man.

    • Look for Copeland to probably have knee surgery and red shirt this year. Mullen will probably announce it later when he does his injury report. I’ll tell you now Trask is by far the most accurate passer on this team….he along with Jones throws more short passes … These RB’s and WR’s are the real deal !!!!

    • Tampa (or anyone),
      Im sure im about to be ridiculed for my lack of knowledge, but can someone please explain the difference between a “preferred” and a regular walk on. Thanks.

      • They met with him and asked him to walk on. Probably told him he would have every chance to beat out guys and win a scholarship if he did.

        As opposed to a guy that shows up to the college like Rudy and then tries to make the team.

  3. By the way, Robbie. Nice practice report. But would like more elaboration on the offensive line. Is it showing any progress or looking the same as last year, especially in pass protection. Seems from your comment, not much has changed from last year with the OL.

    • Agreed. The only mention of this foundational element of the offense is ominous. Are these guys getting any push on running plays? Are they at least holding the line of scrimmage on passing plays? Do they seem to know their assignments? The Sun continues to avoid a fair and objective analysis of the OL and QB position.

      While I’m optimistic that Mullen will eventually restore our damaged program, there are too many unanswered questions on the OL to get overly excited about potential results this year. Let’s hope to see improvement in execution and physicality, before worrying about wins.

  4. And by the way. Jaylin Jackson is also a very intelligent young man and of extremely high character. A Tampa kid. Florida got real lucky getting him to walk on, as he could have gone free ride with either Air Force or Army.

    • Nice. Sounds a lot like a Chris Rainey, minus the character issues. I’d like to see a video of Mullen surprising him with a scholarship. Maybe the one vacated by Watkins. On another note, don’t get discouraged by the fact that the offense is behind the defense right now. When learning new systems, defenses always come along quicker. Feeling a little better every day about this team.

      • I am too, but I’ve got to be honest with you….I’m a little “brittle” about the OL, so I spent a lot of time today thinking about it. Your explanation is a good one, tho.

        • Brittle is a good word. I’m very optimistic because for the first time since 2010, we have offensive coaches that I feel can bring out the best in the players. Only time will tell though. It is nice to hear that the offense is having some success (this early in the Mullen Era) against what I believe is going to be a very stout defense. Here’s to hoping!

        • Seriously, Gator 6, you spent “a lot of time” thinking about the OL today? I spent a lot of time swimming in my pool and cooking out for friends today.

          • Rather limited for a while longer, but hope to pick up more steam and get to more normalcy by September. So actually yes….have had quite a bit of time on my hands this summer, sometimes I sit and think, and other times I just sit!

          • Maybe a good book would help? Reading Franklin and Winston by Jon Mecham right now. Good read and can help you get to Sept. one.

          • Thanks, been doing a good deal of reading, but will check that one out since it sounds interesting; enjoy historical pieces, particularly more in depth ones regarding actual relationships (and that era especially).

            After next set of labs in a couple of weeks, expect to adjust meds and I think more than anythings else, that will do the trick and get me over the hump. My primary care physician is all of 12 years old, but he is a Texas A&M graduate, so I’ve no choice but to trust him!

      • I get you, but the offensive line shouldn’t be behind anyone. Those guys have been here for three to four years. The defense should be having to adjust to them. On a good note, Jones seems to have had a good day passing. If he becomes a good passer, he becomes the biggest threat at QB for us–at some point. Still early. They all seemed to play well at QB. Need to get that line together, though, and fast!

    • Thanks for the local info on Jaylin Jackson Tampa. Can’t wait to see him play on Saturday. If the kid produces on the field in the fall he should definitely be rewarded with a scholarship. I am sure Coach Mullen will if he has one to give as he preaches you earn what you get. They should give him the one Justin Watkins had.

  5. This offense has a lot more ground to make up than the defense, which likely is one of these two or three our offense will face this year. Especially up front where we have the size, athleticism and depth to dominate a lot of offensive lines. The clock’s ticking but I believe the O-line turns out to be much better than we’ve seen in years at Florida.

    So what’s the story on Henderson?

    • Clyde. I would just like to read, after a practice, how the offensive line was dominating someone. It has been a long time since we have heard anything like that. We hear all the time how the DL is dominating the OL and how often the QBs are being sacked. Bad memories to mind.

      • Exactly – well said. The Sun chooses to focus on the spectacular plays, and not what Mullen is communicating to GatorNation that is important. That is physicality and execution play to play. We have no idea how the OL is progressing, or not. So how can the Sun claim that this team will win 8 games? Let’s hope to see improvement in the keys Mullen is preaching. The wins will follow.

  6. I believe that the defense is typically ahead of the offense this time of year, so no worries– yet. The only reason the online stuff worries me is because of the past. Hopefully, it’s still just a learning process and also our defense being really good. I was very excited to read this line:

    Gardner-Johnson blew up a wide receiver screen pass behind the line.

    Hopefully, this will lead to less ridiculous screens that don’t work, also known as 50% of the Suckmeiser offensive “gameplan.”

    • Jaws,
      That’s exactly what ive been hoping, that our dline is so good it is making our oline appear worse than it is. But, Ive been hoping that for the last 6 years and so far it hasnt meant that at all, it meant our oline sucked. Guess we will see in a month.

  7. One thing, I was particularly interested in watching was our new FG and place kicker…He did fairly well and by my count he was 5-6 in FG’s, just barely missing from about 36 yds and making one from about 48 yds and one from about 56-58 yds… all under a rush. I do think Franks may have the better day of the QB’s and got the first snap series, but Franks seems to get sacked the most of the QB’s. Trask did have a sprained fingers that were tapped and looked a little off, but he still looked good and seems to avoid the sacks … The preferred walk on WR Jackson may really be a special player would like to see him run punts and kickoffs back. one of the best plays of the day was at the goal line… Davis ran the ball in behind a block by WR Grimes who put the defensive player on the ground…Mullen was all smiles seeing this block by a WR… There is nothing about this team that reminds me of last years team…it’s like night and day…I will say this, Mullen loves and is excited about this team !!!

    • Cody Alan. Do you have press credentials? Were you are the practice or just watched video of the practice? How do you know about Copeland? Just wondering.

      • No Press Credentials but do have access to watching practice when I’m in town…as a former player many years ago and being a bull gator booster I usually have access along with other former players…I have known Mullen from his days as OC under Myer
        I have many connections with the university but no press credentials…There are certain things I know but just give them out in order to keep my privileges of watching practices and coaches opinions.

        • Tampa,
          THAT WAS AWESOME!! Kind of like those Instant Karma Bully Fail videos, but in a comment section. Thank you Cody, you just made my week and restored my faith in humanity in one post. Bet you didnt see that one coming, Tampa, when you attempted to belittle and undermine Codys opinion(its sort of what we are all giving) like you tried with Henry. Nobody asked you what special relationship you have with Jackson that allows you to comment on his character. Im sure he’s a good kid, but how often have you hung out with the guy? Or are you just giving your opinion based on watching him play a high school game and reading some articles? It’s ok if you are just giving your opinion, what isnt cool is you questioning the credentials of other posters doing the same thing you are(except cody who actually does have insight most of us dont) like you are the comment section police. I wouldnt be shocked to find out you are the guy in the apartment complex who has elected himself as the person who is making sure everyone’s grass isnt too high or their car isnt parked across the sidewalk. I hope this post is ok with you, please dont call the HOA.

  8. Oh my gosh fellas….don’t keep getting me so hyped up. I’ve penciled in this team for 8-9 wins. If I keep hearing stuff like this my expectation is gonna be higher and I won’t be able to take the disappointment if we don’t get there.

    I really get the sense that Mullen will truly play the QB he thinks gives the team the best chance to win. I haven’t felt that was the case in many years.

    It really sounds like this team will be 180 degrees from last year’s team. 🙂

  9. Last year nine players were suspended for engaging in criminal activity. This hurt the Gators severely, ending up with the dismissal of the coaching staff (probably would have happened anyway due to the obvious lack of preparation shown by the team). This year we have Watkins kicked off the team for his antics. He was sorely needed at CB due to the lack of quality depth at this position. This demonstrates how players who get into legal trouble hurt the team. I hope that every member of the team reads this message – stay out of trouble, not just for your sake, but also for the team’s sake. You owe it to your team. Sounds like this was a good practice with a lot of effort. The improved discipline, hard work and training is beginning to show. GO GATORS!

  10. Looks like some guy at the orlando slantnel has Frank’s with the quarterback job already, some guy named Edgar something, I for one sure hope not if he’s looking better than the others Lord help the Gators other sites show that they were all about the same, obviously this guy is a Frank’s guy

  11. Decent report but it seems like only the big plays were reported. Having difficulty on 11 player drills on offense indicated issues with the oline. How many corners do you actually need? Seems like four should be enough unless you have 2 injured, and if that happens you are in trouble.

  12. The reports on the offensive line seem about the same as the last 6-7 years at this point in the preseason, which is scary. Franks is still getting sacked frequently and Trask is still the most accurate in spite of hurt fingers. Deja vu all over again?

    • A big, strong precise rout runner that gets open. Another Tampa Bay kid I followed from his days at Tampa Bay Tech. He played alongside Dion Cain…really pulling for this young fella!

    • Is that actually you Ciatrick? May seem like a silly question, because I have no clue who may or may not take someone else’s name on an Internet post, but if it is, that’s ridiculous! (And I mean that in a great way). An amazingly electric (C-4 explosive) running back that rarely gets mentioned with the other legends of Emmitt, Errict, Neal, John L., Fred, Matt J., Tony Green, J. Papa Hall, or others that I am sorry I neglected to mention. If not, and you just took his name, great choice. I often write things that are critical of what is going on, sometimes too much, but seeing that user ID made me smile. By the way, we have a a few young men on this current roster who are close to making this list (Jordan, Lamical, Malik, Adarius, Iverson, we will watch you Dameon, hope it goes well).

  13. A big, strong precise rout runner that gets open. Another Tampa Bay kid I followed from his days at Tampa Bay Tech. He played alongside Dion Cain…really pulling for this young fella!

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