Notebook: Powell on point

Florida Gators linebacker Ronald Powell runs a drill during the first day of football practice at Donald R. Dizney Stadium on Thursday in Gainesville.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, August 5, 2013 at 5:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 5, 2013 at 5:25 p.m.

Outside linebacker/defensive end Ronald Powell, who is coming off two ACL surgeries on the same knee in the past year, has passed all the early tests in practice. But there are more to come, including today, when the Gators practice in full pads for the first time.

“He's playing fast and physical. On point and strong,” UF coach Will Muschamp said Monday. “(Sunday night) was the first night of contact for him in a long time. It was good to see him out there and mix it up ...

“I told him last night, 'You've got to be honest with me. I don't ever question your toughness, so let's be smart. We need to make sure, because whenever you come off of something like this, the wear and tear of training camp can wear you down.'

“We need a fast, physical player on Aug. 31 that's ready to play. There's a fine line there. You need to monitor him through the process because he's a guy who is going to take every rep that he can.”

Lot of 3-4 for the defense

Some have questioned whether the Gators have enough linebackers to be effective in a 3-4 defense, a scheme the coaches plan to use a great deal this season. Muschamp said Monday that UF's personnel is a good fit for the 3-4.

“I think the odd-man front fits us very well,” he said. “The thing you've got to have is two really good outside linebackers, and I think we do in Ronald Powell and Dante Fowler. You have to have a good nose (tackle). When we're in a pass-rush situation, Dominique Easley would play the nose.

“In run situations, Damien Jacobs and Leon Orr would play the nose. I think we have two good noses inside.”

Muschamp said the 3-4 seems to be the most effective scheme against the hurry-up offenses that are becoming so prevalent in college football.

“The odd front against the no-huddle, you're symmetrical,” Muschamp said. “You're balanced in your looks. A lot of times in the no-huddle, teams are looking for a lesser technique inside, a two, where they want to run the ball, where they need to set their protections.

“So, that helps you a little bit in no-huddle situations, which a lot of teams are going to.”

Freshman QB can sling it

Muschamp said he's been impressed with true freshman quarterback Max Staver's arm in practice.

“Max has got a live arm. He's done some really nice things,” Muschamp said. “Brent (Pease) and I were talking this morning and (we're) pleased with him. Skyler (Mornhinweg) has been a guy that's progressed well, but you see some of the big throws that Max can make.

“That's something that jumped out at us at camp. He's swimming right now, but because of the situation he's been able to get more reps maybe than he would have before.”

This and that

Former players Willie Rodgers and Henry McMillian attended practices the past few days. “It's good to see some former Gators at practice and have those guys be a part of what we're trying to do,” Muschamp said. … Muschamp said Cody Riggs has distanced himself from the other safeties and is a clear starter at one of the two safety spots. … Steve Shaw, the SEC's head of officials, was at UF on Monday to meet with the coaching staff and players to discuss the new targeting rule. … Muschamp praised the work of true freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor. “I've been very pleased with where Kelvin is,” Muschamp said. “I thought he progressed very well during the spring. He's a very talented runner. We've just got to make sure systematically that he's able to handle all the stuff we do.” … Start times for the open practices: 2:45 p.m. Aug. 15 at Dizney Stadium, 9:05 a.m. Aug. 17 at The Swamp, 7:45 a.m. Aug. 19 practice fields and 9:35 a.m. Aug. 20 at The Swamp. All times are subject to change.

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