After overseeing the morning’s Pro Day, Gators coach Dan Mullen got back to business.
Florida opened its eighth spring practice to the public Wednesday afternoon, and the second-year UF coach repeatedly advised his team to take a page out of his playbook and “attack the day”.
Florida’s final opportunity for the public to view spring practice was attended by more than 150 people and they were treated to considerably more action than the morning’s festivities, which ultimately were closed to the public due to the threat of inclement weather.
While quarterback Feleipe Franks continued his strong start to camp, it was UF’s defense doing most of the head-turning Wednesday.
- Freshman defensive back Chris Steele made a nice pass break-up defending Tyrie Cleveland on a pass from Kyle Trask.
- Steele later defended Van Jefferson well, drawing a “good job” from the veteran receiver.
- Cleveland made a tip-toe catch despite physical coverage from safety Brian Edwards.
- CJ Henderson jumped the route and made a nice interception on a pass intended for Trevon Grimes.
- After missing Saturday’s practice, redshirt freshman wide receiver Jacob Copeland was back in pads Wednesday. He warmed up separately from the team, however, and seemed still on the mend from a nagging hamstring injury.
- Trask hit tight end Kemore Gamble in traffic for a would-be touchdown for the period’s first reception.
- Emory Jones hit Grimes in stride on a slant route. Jones stayed on-target, finding senior running back Lamical Perine on the next play.
- Freshman quarterback Jalon Jones put his throw just high enough for only Jefferson to make a leaping reception in the end zone.
- Following a few misfires, Franks found Josh Hammond on an out route for his first reception. His next pass was on target, too, although Franks had to wait a bit for it to develop before Rick Wells could shake the coverage and make the reception.
- Trask found former walk-on Jaylin Jackson, expected to play a role in the return game for the Gators this season, wide open and delivered the ball on the money.
- Despite Emory Jones’ pass being tipped at the next level, Kyle Pitts was able to turn his body back in time to make the reception.
- The defensive line strung together several impressive sequences early in the period. Jabari Zuniga beat the lineman for a would-be sack on Emory Jones. Soon after, defensive tackle Adam Shuler got to Trask before the play could develop. Trask was pressured on a corner blitz by Trey Dean on the next play, forcing the quarterback to overthrow a streaking Gamble.
- Malik Davis’ first rushing attempt was eaten up by defensive tackle Kyree Campbell. Several plays later, however, Davis would break several tackles and get to the second level.
- Jaylin Jackson made another impressive 25-yard grab midway through the 11-on-11 period, this time on a pass from Jalon Jones.
- Franks continued flashing his improved confidence as a runner. On one play, Franks lowered his head and broke several arm tackles on a designed quarterback run.
- But there were times when UF’s quarterbacks, namely Franks, expressed frustration with the apparent ease with which the defensive line got into Florida’s backfield.
- Trask hit tight end Dante Lang on a corner route despite solid coverage.
- Perine continued an impressive start to his senior spring. Despite the inexperience on the line, Perine continued to show he’s UF’s best running back when it comes to finding and hitting the hole. Wednesday’s practice featured an increase in passes to the running backs, and Perine seemed ahead of the pack there as well.
- Florida has high expectations when it comes to using Pitts in the passing game, but the sophomore tight end mad several drops Wednesday to the chagrin of receivers coach Billy Gonzales.
- Late in the period, Trask fumbled on the end of a run. Despite diving on and recovering his mistake, Trask still punched the ground in frustration.
- Franks stiff-armed Brad Stewart on a run and emphatically spiked the ball into the crowd while jawing with the safety. Franks trucked Stewart several plays later while barking “you’re too little” in Stewart’s facemask.
- Defensive tackle Tedarrell Slaton went down in pain with an apparent right arm injury, but Slaton would return to practice after being observed by team trainers.