Spring football tracker: Running backs have impressive day
Published: Monday, March 24, 2014 at 10:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 24, 2014 at 10:40 p.m.
QB UPDATE: Florida's three quarterbacks had their share of nice throws Monday, but all three were inconsistent at times. It should be noted the D-line pressure and coverage in the secondary didn't make their lives easier. Driskel displayed accuracy over the middle on short-to-intermediate throws, especially in pass skel, but struggled with many of his passes to the outside and in the flat. The redshirt junior hooked up with receiver Quinton Dunbar several times, including a nice completion on a post route and another into double coverage on a ball that was perfectly placed by Driskel. However, a few of his swing passes and check downs were low or hit the dirt, and safety Jabari Gorman broke up a couple of his attempts and made a diving interception late in practice. Skyler Mornhinweg continued as the No. 2 QB and found some success on the outside, such as a sideline completion to Ahmad Fulwood on the run, but a handful of throws were behind his intended receivers. As for true freshman Will Grier, some of his passes were either too short or too far, but he improved toward the end of practice like he's done previously.
TRENDING ON OFFENSE: This was the best day of practice for the running backs. Mack Brown and Kelvin Taylor reeled off big runs, and former walk-on Mark Herndon is the quickest of the position group and showed it Monday. At one point, Taylor bounced outside to the left for a big gain, causing UF coach Will Muschamp to go off on his defense. Receiver Raphael Andrades returned to action after sitting out previous practices with an injury. He caught everything that came his way and was easily the player of the day, scoring several times. Sophomores Demarcus Robinson and Chris Thompson also stood out, with Robinson receiving much more reps with the first-team offense. While centers Max Garcia and Cam Dillard had difficulty snapping the ball, offensive tackle D.J. Humphries turned in an admirable performance and was one of the few offensive lineman who could handle the pass rush.
TRENDING ON DEFENSE: Dante Fowler Jr. continues to be unblockable, and on one play he ran Driskel all the way toward the sideline and forced a throw out of bounds to the amusement of his teammates. Bryan Cox Jr. received some first-team reps at defensive end and made a nice tackle off the edge. At defensive tackle, redshirt freshman Jay-nard Bostwick appears to be catching on and earned praise from defensive line coach Brad Lawing. Michael Taylor and Jarrad Davis were the most impressive and consistent linebackers Monday. Both were always around the ball. Taylor blew up a third-down passing play that forced an incompletion and field-goal attempt, while Davis picked a pass and had one of the hardest hits of the day on Brown. It was an all-around solid showing for the secondary. Returning cornerbacks Vernon Hargreaves III and Brian Poole were stout in coverage, while starting safeties Gorman and Marcus Maye made a number of strong breaks on the ball and in run support.
TRUE FRESHMAN SPOTLIGHT: While freshmen defensive backs Marcell Harris and Jalen Tabor received an earful from Muschamp and secondary coach Travaris Robinson throughout practice, Duke Dawson heard from them the least. He was physical in pass skel and delivered a jarring hit on one play. Dawson also held his own in tackling drills.
PLAY OF THE DAY: After dropping a snap and falling on the loose ball, Grier came back the next play and found Andrades on a corner route with a perfect spiral over the shoulder that fell right into his hands for a first down. It was one of Grier's best throws in 11-on-11 drills this spring.
INJURY UPDATE: Running back Brandon Powell (foot), receiver Andre Debose (knee), offensive lineman Nolan Kelleher (back), defensive tackle Leon Orr (wrist), linebackers Neiron Ball (knee), Alex Anzalone (shoulder), Matt Rolin (knee) and safety Keanu Neal (hamstring) are all still limited or sidelined with injuries. ... Fullback Gideon Ajagbe returned from his hamstring injury and caught a short pass during 11-on-11 work. ... Defensive end Jordan Sherit was in an orange non-contact jersey and had a soft brace on his right arm.
NEXT OPEN PRACTICE: Wednesday, 4 p.m. at the Sanders Practice Fields.
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