Driskel displays command at UF practice
Published: Friday, March 15, 2013 at 9:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 1:43 a.m.
The Florida Gators opened the gates of their practice field Friday to a crowd of about 200 fans and dozens of media members.
It was the second day of spring football practice for UF, and the players were still in shorts and no pads.
There was no media availability after practice, but plenty of action took place on the field.
Here are some observations from Friday:
*Jeff Driskel looked much more comfortable than he did last spring, when he was battling former UF quarterback Jacoby Brissett for the starting role. He had command of the offense and carried himself with confidence. The junior made several nice reads and delivered some darts across the middle. He still holds the ball a bit too long when he goes through his progressions. However, he was surveying the whole field much more than last season, when he often only read one side of the field. His worst play of the day came on an underneath throw that was short and picked off by first-team safety Jabari Gorman, who was a standout in the secondary Friday.
*Quarterbacks Tyler Murphy and Skyler Mornhinweg struggled with their passes at times, but for different reasons. On multiple reps, Murphy didn't get rid of the ball fast enough and would have been sacked in a real game. Mornhinweg's delivery was the cause of several low throws and needs some work. Although both players have flaws, Murphy is clearly the second-string QB at this time.
*The running backs didn't get much work in Friday, but all three showed some flashes. Other than a dropped pass, starter Matt Jones ran clean routes and was a smooth ball-carrier. Backups Mack Brown and true freshman Kelvin Taylor were effective at finding the hole and hitting it without hesitation. Each one of them had a nice reception as well.
*Wide receiver was the most impressive unit of the day on offense. Quinton Dunbar, Andre Debose and Latroy Pittman all caught several passes, displaying reliable hands and great technique in their routes. Cornerback/wideout Loucheiz Purifoy showed some explosiveness at receiver. He's incredibly quick on end-around runs and receptions over the middle when he has room to run. Demarcus Robinson didn't have any highlight plays, but the freshman was able to get separation against the secondary.
*Clay Burton didn't drop any balls in Friday's practice, which is something he's had problems with in the past. The other three tight ends — Kent Taylor, Colin Thompson and Tevin Westbrook — didn't stand out. Taylor could still use a few more pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame, and it will take Thompson time to get acclimated after missing all of 2012 with a broken foot.
*It was an up-and-down day for Florida's offense line. They provided time for the quarterbacks on a handful of passing plays, but some of the starters struggled. Nebraska transfer Tyler Moore, who played exclusively at right tackle, had trouble with Dante Fowler Jr. throughout practice. On the left side, D.J. Humphries was beaten by the bull rush of Jonathan Bullard several times. The versatile Kyle Koehne got a lot of snaps at center.
*Dominique Easley lined up at both end and tackle in practice, but he sat out toward the end so other players could get more reps. Redshirt freshman defensive ends Bryan Cox Jr. and Alex McCalister both bulked up in the offseason and stayed late after practice to get some extra work in with new defensive line coach Brad Lawing.
*Linebackers Neiron Ball and Antonio Morrison are also much bigger than they were in 2012. Morrison was the best player at his position and appears to be headed for a monster sophomore campaign.
*The injured players in the pit on Friday were offensive linemen Jon Halapio, Chaz Green and Ian Silberman, defensive end Ronald Powell and linebacker Matt Rolin. Defensive back Jaylen Watkins tweeted after practice that he dislocated his finger.