Takeaways as Gators wrap up second week of fall practice with Billy Napier

Kevin Brockway
Gator Sports
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Florida football players and coaches were looking forward to soaking in the atmosphere at the The Swamp for their first fall instra-squad scrimmage on Saturday.

But after it rained shortly before the 3 p.m. start time on Saturday, and with the threat of more rain to come, UF moved the scrimmage from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to the indoor practice facility.

The scrimmage was closed, but here are takeaways from the open session of warm-ups and drills Saturday. 

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WR Ricky Pearsall out of walking boot

Wide receiver Ricky Pearsall, dealing with a bone bruise in his foot, was out of the walking boot on his left lower leg and took part in stretching. But Pearsall was in sneakers instead of spikes and walked to the sidelines shortly before the start of live scrimmage action.

Joining him on the walk toward the sidelines were linebacker Amari Burney, cornerback Jason Marshall Jr. and offensive lineman Ethan White.

Seeing something new in QB Anthony Richardson 

One noticeable difference about projected UF starting quarterback Anthony Richardson this season — his release is quicker.

That has resulted in better timing with receivers and should result in fewer times sacked during the season, which could come in handy facing athletic, physical defensive fronts like LSU, Georgia and Texas A&M during the 2022 season. The Florida athletics website released a video of Richardson connecting with Ja'Quavion Fraziars on a perfectly-timed fade route in practice earlier this week.

Coach Billy Napier watches quarterback Anthony Richardson (15) during warmup before the football scrimmage, Aug. 13, 2022 at Sanders Football Practice Field, in Gainesville.

Kickers get work in

Florida's two kickers, scholarship freshman Trey Smack and redshirt freshman walk-on Adam Mihalek, both booted practice kicks at the indoor facility before the start of Saturday's scrimmage. Both connected on field goals consistently ranging from 25 to 35 yards.

Smack and Mihalek will continue to compete for the starting job up until the opener Sept. 3 against No. 8 Utah.

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Let's force those turnovers

Defensive backs worked on turnover drills before Saturday's scrimmage, catching balls fired at close range from UF cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond. Forcing turnovers is an area where the Gators can improve greatly in 2022 under Napier.

Last season, UF was minus-8 in turnover margin, second worst in the SEC behind Kentucky. The Gators forced 13 turnovers, with four coming on fumble recoveries and nine coming on interceptions. That tied for second fewest turnovers forced in the SEC with LSU, with Kentucky (12) and Auburn (12) tied for fewest turnovers forced.

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