Florida begins spring football practice with two sessions open to the fans and media, Friday and Saturday.
What: First two practices of the spring open to the fans and media
When: 4:25-6:55 p.m. Friday. 12:20-2:50 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sanders Practice Fields on UF campus
Here’s a list of early enrollees to watch for:
Emory Jones, QB: Swaying him away from Ohio State and others late in the recruiting process was big for UF coach Dan Mullen and his staff. He’s the only true dual-threat quarterback on the roster and if he picks up the offense quickly, he’s capable of making a run at earning playing time in the fall, and perhaps even eventually starting.
Iverson Clement, RB: He was listed as an athlete when he signed with UF in December and there’s been a lot of speculation that he could play cornerback or see some reps at wide receiver. But he’s now listed as a running back on the spring roster and will be in the mix for possible playing time there. He rushed for 1,419 yards and 13 touchdowns his senior season.
Dameon Pierce, RB: A four-year starter in high school, Pierce could provide a home-run threat in the running game. Quick and elusive, he rushed for 6,779 yards and 92 touchdowns in his high school career. He rushed for 330 yards and four touchdowns in one game during his junior season. He has breakaway speed and also has the vision and toughness to produce yardage between the tackles. With Malik Davis out for the spring, he’ll have a shot at getting in the playing rotation.
Amari Burney, ATH: This versatile athlete will start his UF career at safety, but he could end up playing multiple positions, including linebacker. At 6-foot-1, 224 pounds, Burney is almost at linebacker size right now. He clearly could grow into a hybrid outside linebacker, or even perhaps into an inside linebacker. And he runs like a safety.
Noah Banks, OL: A former Arkansas commitment, the Iowa Western College transfer arrived in Gainesville in December physically ready to play. The Gators are looking to build depth on the offensive line and Banks likely will get a look at all three positions along the front this spring to find out where he best fits.
Christopher Bleich, OL: He’s probably not as physically ready to play as Banks, but by all accounts, Bleich is a tough kid who will eventually bring some tenacity to the offensive front. Like Banks, he’ll likely be cross-trained at tackle, guard and center.
Five questions that veteran Sun college football beat writer Robbie Andreu will have answers to at the conclusion of spring drills:
1. Will we have a pretty good idea who the starting quarterback is going to be heading into the offseason?
2. Of the early enrollees, which will have a chance to make an impact this season?
3. What playmakers will emerge in the passing game?
4. Will an attacking, blitzing defense produce more turnovers and big plays?
5. Can the Gators find adequate replacements for punter Johnny Townsend and place-kicker Eddy Pineiro?