Notebook: Some highlights from Florida’s second scrimmage

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Florida quarterback Emory Jones (5) provided some highlights in Saturday's closed scrimmage. [Lauren Bacho/Gainesville Sun]

The momentum Florida generated in the second half of last season apparently has carried over into the spring.

For the second straight scrimmage, the Gators made a favorable impression on their head coach, Dan Mullen.

“Yeah, (it was a step forward),” Mullen said Monday of Saturday’s closed scrimmage. “There’s some positives, a lot to teach off of for us. A lot to show guys. I thought it was pretty positive in teaching. I like the teaching moments.

“To sit there and try to feel good or bad after the scrimmage, I don’t know that I feel either. I just want to make sure that we have the right teaching moments and are we headed in the right direction? Are we getting all the different stuff in?

“As I was telling the coaches, ours is making sure we’re getting taught what we need taught, we’re getting to evaluate what we need to be evaluated and putting players in positions to be successful. Overall, I would say it was pretty successful because we have a bunch of teaching moments. We got to see guys do things. It helps us to make better decisions of where everybody is at.”

Mullen said the quarterbacks continue to make progress.

“Yep. Oh, yeah, they’ve done good, they’ve done good,” he said. “You see them a lot more comfortable in the system in year two.”

Redshirt freshman Emory Jones threw three touchdown passes in the scrimmage, while Feleipe Franks had two. One of the other highlights was a 60-yard TD run by running back Malik Davis.

Cleveland coming on

Two of those touchdown passes in the scrimmage went to senior wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland, who continues to make strides this spring.

“He’s done a great job for us,” Mullen said. “He’s getting better, understanding what we’re doing. He probably played a little bit more (in the scrimmage) because Van (Jefferson) wasn’t here, had a family issue.

“I thought he did a great job last year. He’s a guy that understands what it is to go be a team player. He’s a dynamic special teams player for us, as well, made a lot of special teams plays. When you become a mature guy like him, you understand if you want to play after college, being a dynamic special teams player is as important as being a dynamic receiver.”

Young pups up front

The four early enrollee offensive linemen still have a long way to go before they’re ready to play in the SEC, but Michael Tarquin, Kingsley Eguakun, Will Harrod and Ethan White have all taken steps forward.

“Those young linemen have really bought into the program, and bought into football,” Mullen said. “They talk football. They spend a lot of extra time trying to study and prepare themselves and be ready in case their number is called this season.

“ A lot of freshmen come in and are trying to figure it all out. And these guys, you hear them having football conversations about calls, how they’re making calls, how they communicate with each other. Even though it’s a little nerve wracking now, it could be pretty good a couple years down the road when the same guys are still out there.”

Mullen said if the four weren’t on campus early, the Gators likely would not have enough offensive linemen to hold a traditional spring game Saturday.

“I’m thankful they’re here,” he said. “I don’t know how we’d practice (without them). If we didn’t have those guys, the spring game format would probably be more seven-on-seven. I don’t know if we’d play with linemen. It would be more of a seven-on-seven tournament type of deal.

“You’re talking about four guys that are rotating in the two-deep right now that are really high school seniors. I am pleased with their development. I’m pleased with where all those guys are at, how they’re picking things up and how they’re performing.”

13 COMMENTS

    • I agree Jaws. I was expecting big things out of Davis last year before he got hurt. The previous year, he was having success in McElwain’s garbage offense. That should say something. Just hoping he gets enough touches in the fall to show his stuff. The crowded backfield can lead to discontent for those not receiving touches. Really want him to stick around.

    • I agree too. He is explosive . I don’t know what his 40 time is but I haven’t seen many people catch him when he gets loose. Fans said the same thing about Scarlett, how “slow” he was. He ran a 4.4 at the Combine. Davis is probably faster. As for the O line the thing that keeps jumping in my mind are all the great freshmen O linemen we have had over the years at UF. Some of the best in the SEC the last few years have been freshmen or redshirt freshmen.

  1. All I gotta say about the O-line possibly struggling in pass protection early in the 2019 season is this:
    Lamical Perine, RB 5-11 227 lb. Sr., Malik Davis, RB 5-11 191 lb. R-So., and ”proven punisher,” Dameon Pierce, RB 5-10 216 lb. So, POUND THE ROCK! Go Gators! Chomp the ‘Canes!

  2. This quote is kind of scary ……. “You’re talking about four guys that are rotating in the two-deep right now that are really high school seniors. I know CDM and Hevesy are pretty talented coaches, but boy oh boy they’ve got their work cut out for them with the OL.

  3. O line issues were expected this season. It’s no worse or no better. I’d say it’s a little better because of the strength and stability everywhere else for this team. The ones will be solid. It’s the twos that are an issue.
    We’ll need to carry the o-line a bit early to be competitive this season.

    I’ve been around long enough to know there will be despair early in the season for many fans against good defenses. We should improve significantly as the season progresses. More importantly having four freshmen and consistency in recruiting could put an end to chronic UF offensive line issues.