Wrapping up Gator spring football


Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 1:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 1:44 p.m.

Before we start sprinting off toward summer, here are some final observations from Florida's spring practice:

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Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy throws the ball during the Orange and Blue Debut at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp watches from behind.

DOUG FINGER/Special to the Guardian

With so many receivers out or limited by injuries in Saturday's final practice, Jeff Driskel and the Gators never really had a chance to show the progress the offense has made in the passing game this spring.

When the Gators are back to full strength in the fall, the offense (and passing game) is going to look much different and be much more productive. Will Muschamp kind of summed it up several times over the course of the spring: the Gators need to play better around their quarterback. If that happens, Driskel is going to have a chance to emerge as one of the SEC's best quarterbacks in 2013.

— Even though he missed a big chunk of the spring with a high ankle sprain, true freshman wide receiver Demarcus Robinson showed enough that the coaches think he has a chance to have a major impact in the fall. He's got size, speed, hands and seems to have a knack for coming down with the football.

— I only saw him in that one practice, but true freshman Kelvin Taylor looks like the purist runner (vision, feet, cutting ability, acceleration through the hole) the Gators have had in quite some time. Taylor, Matt Jones and Mack Brown could combine to blow away the numbers Mike Gillislee piled up last season.

— The addition of transfers Max Garcia and Tyler Moore is huge. They have become instant starters on the offensive line, which should be very, very good when everyone is healthy again in the fall.

— Trip Thurman was having a great spring before he injured his shoulder. He's going to get lots of playing time at OG next season.

— The offense will revert to its 2011 form if Drikel gets injured. Tyler Murphy and Skyler Mornhinweg have some skill and are trying their hardest, but it's a huge dropoff if the Gators have to rely on their No. 2 quarterback.

— The lack of production from the tight end position is a little bit alarming. Jordan Reed was the go-to guy in the passing game last season, but the Gators don't have a TE anywhere close to him in terms of skill set.

— Florida's pass rush should be significantly better in 2013, with Dante Fowler Jr. and Jonathan Bullard coming off the edge and Dominique Easley coming from both the inside and outside. Alex McCallister and Bryan Cox Jr. also look like they're going to have a chance to make plays at defensive end.

— Antonio Morrison looks like he's poised to emerge as one of the SEC's elite linebackers in 2013. If he keeps progressing like he has, he has a chance to become one of the best LBs in school history. He may already be the hardest hitting one.

— Even though safeties Matt Elam and Josh Evans have moved on, the Gators have a chance to be even stronger in the secondary than they were last season. UF may have the best group of corners in the SEC, and redshirt freshman Marcus Maye has to potential to grow into a big-time safety as he gains experience.

— One of those top corners, Loucheiz Purifoy, did not have a chance to show much at wide receiver in Saturday's practice, but the offensive coaches are excited about what he can bring to the passing game in 2013. He'll have a package of plays and will have a chance to use his speed and ball skills at wide receiver. He's already a dynamic player on defense and special teams. Maybe he can also be that kind of player on offense.

Robbie Andreu is a Gainesville Sun staff writer.

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