Florida’s three quarterbacks all had a productive scrimmage Friday night, but there is still no separation or leader in the competition for the starting role, UF coach Jim McElwain said Monday.
“We’re working on it,” he said.
Feleipe Franks, Malik Zaire and Luke Del Rio all had an opportunity to work with the No. 1 offense in the scrimmage, similar to how they have been sharing reps in practice.
“The quarterbacks, all three handled the first unit really well,” McElwain said. “I think when we were with the twos and threes with those guys, Malik moved those threes pretty well. I thought Luke, especially in our overtime period, did some really good things. I thought Feleipe’s accuracy was pretty good and he was able to show his arm strength well, which was fun.”
McElwain said the No. 1 defense excelled with its fast and aggressive style of play.
“The thing I saw for the first time when I saw that first unit come out is the aggressive nature and their ability to play free and rally to the ball,” he said. “That’s something that really stood out to me.”
McElwain said it was an excellent scrimmage all around for the Gators.
“Where I was more excited than anything was the actual day after the scrimmage,” McElwain said. “I talked to the guys about it, even showed film of the past, where that next day guys were kind of moping around and feeling sorry for themselves from the 100 or whatever plays we were able to get in.
“They chose to come to the field and get better. That was really exciting. I think part of that is the youth we have and really that youth seeing an opportunity to get in and play. We had some guys make the team in that scrimmage and the practices afterward.”
With the suspended Antonio Callaway out for at least one game, the Gators will be looking for some other receivers to fill the playmaking void in the passing game. McElwain said the receivers have the talent to do it.
“Really, to see where we were in that scrimmage and then Saturday and Sunday, and to see the guys that have stepped up in those spots,” he said. “I thought Brandon Powell really showed up, especially in that scrimmage.
“Part of that is the quarterbacks got them the ball. And that’s part of it. I think when you look at Freddie (Swain) and Josh (Hammonds) and what they have done, being able to cross-train now a little bit with Dre (Massey), who is back to 100 percent. It’s great to see him running. And Kadarius Toney, this guy is something. He needs to touch it. It’s pretty cool to see him out there.”
Lack of depth at linebacker was a big concern heading into camp. The situation has grown even more serious with an injury to outside linebacker Kylan Johnson (hamstring) and the suspension of true freshmen linebackers Ventrell Miller and James Houston.
“We’ve got to get Kylan back,” McElwain said. “Right now he’s been kind of just through individuals and that kind of stuff. In the team work, we need to get that piece back because that’s putting some stress on other guys with cumulative reps.
“With that, (Jeremiah) Moon needs those reps. This is a good thing because he’s cross-training at a couple different spots. He’s been able to get some really needed stuff where maybe before he was only getting a little bit.”
McElwain said Johnson’s missed practice time is a concern.
“With any player, you worry about that,” he said. “And he’s had a history of bumps and bruises. I can’t wait for him to get back. He’s a really good football player. And yet, because of some of those things we have to be able to say, ‘OK, what do we do now?’ And I think we’re doing that.”
McElwain said Johnson is day-to-day.
Redshirt freshman cornerback McArthur Burnett (unspecified injury) practiced for the first time Monday. “We’re excited to get him back,” McElwain said.
Cornerback C.J. McWilliams (hamstring), safety Quincy Lenton (foot) still remain out and are day-to-day. Running back Mark Thompson injured his shoulder in Sunday’s practice, but the injury is not considered serious.
“”He had a little thing in his shoulder,” McElwain said. “Nothing surgical or anything like that, but he was held out and will be held out today.”
Tight end C’yontai Lewis (unspecified) and starting offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor (leg) returned to practice Monday.
“We held (Taylor) from the scrimmage simply because of a leg deal, he’s ready to go,” McElwain said. “That’s not a problem, but he didn’t practice in the scrimmage. He went through individual (work) on Saturday and then yesterday’s practice, so he’ll be back as we go.”
SOS on radio
The Head Ball Coach is a radio guy now.
SiriusXM announced Monday that former UF coach and quarterback Steve Spurrier has joined the network as a college football analyst.
Spurrier’s new gig begins today.
The HBC will appear three times per week on SiriusXM College Sports Nation (channel 84 on satellite radios and the SiriusXM app). Throughout the season he will be heard every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. with hosts Chris Childers and Rick Neuheisel, every Wednesday from 5 to 6 p.m. with Mark Packer, and every Thursday from 8 to 9 a.m. with Greg McElroy and Taylor Zarzour.
“I’m thrilled to join guys like Mark Packer, Rick Neuheisel, and Greg McElroy on SiriusXM,” Spurrier said. “I look forward to talking to the fans and sharing my thoughts on college football and the 2017 season. I sure have some things to say.”