Observations from open practice Saturday

Florida players run tackling drills Saturday at the Indoor Practice Facility on campus. [Lauren Bacho/Staff Photographer]

By Zach Abolverdi, Correspondent

Florida opened football practice to the public this weekend for the first time since the spring, and about 200 fans took advantage of the opportunity.

Inclement weather caused Friday’s open practice to be closed, and the forecast Saturday forced the team to use the Indoor Practice Facility. Fans gathered inside the IPF to get their first glimpse of the No. 10 Gators before their Peach Bowl matchup against No. 7 Michigan on Dec. 29.

Florida coach Dan Mullen walked down the sideline to shake hands with fans and ask them if they were having a good time. After practice concluded, the players made their way over to the crowd and thanked them for coming.

The Gators will hold one more open practice for the fans on Sunday from 2:25-4:40 p.m. at the Sanders Practice Fields.

Here are observations from Saturday’s session:


  • Cornerback C.J. Henderson got beat on a double move, but showed elite recovery speed and laid out for the ball to break it up.
  • Making the throw on that play was quarterback Kyle Trask, who practiced in a boot on Saturday. Mullen said earlier this week that Trask (foot) has a “good shot” to be available for the bowl game.
  • Trask showed his accuracy on a corner route by wide receiver Van Jefferson, who got open by putting a great move on defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.
  • Freshman defensive back Amari Burney made a nice pass breakup during 1-on-1 drills.
  • Left tackle Martez Ivey and tight ends C’yontai Lewis and Moral Stephens graduated on Saturday and did not practice.


  • Franks threw a deep touchdown pass down the middle to Jacob Copeland, who was one of the standouts Saturday. The freshman wide receiver also caught a pass from Trask and made a few receptions during 11-on-11 work. Copeland will be a big beneficiary of the extra bowl practices.
  • Franks completed a deep ball to Freddie Swain and also connected with wide receiver Trevon Grimes, who is coming off a breakout performance at FSU.
  • Freshman cornerback Trey Dean was another standout from Saturday’s practice. He dove in front of Kadarius Toney’s dig route and almost picked off Franks. That didn’t stop Dean from celebrating afterward.
  • Trask hit wide receiver Josh Hammond over the middle and completed a couple passes to Jefferson, including a deep shot.
  • Freshman quarterback Emory Jones found running back Dameon Pierce wide open on a wheel route for a touchdown.
  • Jones had a blunder later in the session, getting picked off by linebacker Rayshad Jackson.
  • Wide receiver Rick Wells made an impressive one-handed catch, while tight end Kemore Gamble dropped a touchdown pass.


  • Copeland caught two deep balls during this period, including one play where Franks scrambled to his left and threw against his body to make the completion.
  • Franks dropped a dime on a corner route to tight end Lucas Krull, who turned it upfield for almost 20 extra yards before safety Brad Stewart pushed him out of bounds.
  • Franks also rolled out and threw across the field to a wide open Gamble, who made the catch this time.
  • Franks did have a turnover. He heaved a long ball to Trevon Grimes, but it was too short and Gardner-Johnson picked it off. After running down the sideline for a few seconds, he punted the ball out of bounds.
  • Defensive end Antonneous Clayton made a great play in coverage, tracking down a deep pass and batting it down.
  • Jones connected with fellow freshman Kyle Pitts for a first-down play. Pitts got a lot of work at tight end Saturday with Lewis and Stephens graduating.
  • Jones also completed a sideline pass to Toney, but was sacked by defensive tackle T.J. Slaton on the following snap.
  • Jones did make a play with his legs during 11-on-11 work. He took off when the pocket collapsed and gained 10 yards on the run before getting tagged.
  • Running backs Lamical Perine and Iverson Clement both broke free for long touchdowns. Clement made an incredible cut on his run.
  • On the final play of practice, Franks scrambled right and completed a deep sideline pass to walk-on Jaylin Jackson, who ran it into the end zone.


  1. Thanks for the report. UF is a great university that happens to have a great football team this year. “Layed” is a spelling error that should have been corrected in the third grade. Please… Let’s make certain we live up to at least middle school standards lest we become confused with most other schools in the SEC.

      • I’m with TB on this. True, GatorSports isn’t directly affiliated with UF, but most everyone who reads a story here can’t help but connect the two. Besides, Dooley and Andreu are UF grads, so errors in their copy are cringe-worthy. But I’m a former copy editor, so my views, like that job, belong in another era, I guess.

  2. this is one of the great articles you get from gatorsports, just the facts, ma’am. love it. gatorsports can misspell a word any time they want so long as they are providing us this kind of info imo.

    3 things:
    1. i am most proud to read about the graduations. sounds crazy but for a kid to graduate is the highest honor of them all, considering the load they carry outside the class room. well done, gentlemen. you have earned a great deal of respect.
    2. glad to hear clayton doing well. we are going to need his very best real soon. its a shame the nature of reporting news cant give us the same detail about line play you get from the other positions, i hope the news there is good.
    3. jones making an error is what the fans need to realize. these kids need time, as much to deal with downside issues as to showcase elite upside. no one gets to this level without demonstrated upside imo. i know everyone wants franks to do better against elite competition, so do i, but not blowing it is rule #1, then you can worry about highlight real performances.

    thanks again.

  3. Yeah, I quit worrying about spelling when I read other posts, but I still strive to show that I am educated and know how to use the English language properly. I still mess up, but hey we are all human. There are times when I read an article where I stop because of some “mess up,” and I have to reread it until I understand it. One thing I have discovered is when what I believe are Spanish as a first language article writers, write an article and have a bit of trouble using the English properly. That happened on a pro site that I used to frequent before I gave up on pro sports. I just accept that I may have to read an article a few times to make it through. I harbor no animosity for anyone writing, but if the story is worthy of my eyes, then I don’t really care. So bottom line, our language uses acronyms, slang, and other short cuts so what can we really expect? Ok – enough of mho…lol…right? GO GATORS!!!

      • In the process of trying to explain myself to a rather crusty old CSM once — which in retrospect is a major mistake for a jeep ass 2LT to attempt under any circumstance versus simply saying, “Thank you Sergeant Major” — I was informed that I was very probably “educated beyond my intelligence”.

        Seems to me there’s no cure for that, except for keeping your damn mouth shut! 😂

        • Gator-6, I have a story for you that I will put on the other site. It involves two Generals that I butted heads with and as you know, that is usually a losing moment…lol. Butt as fer as tha speling, I quit wurrin bout it long time ago. GO GATORS!!!