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August 17, 2013
In what should prove to be the lightest - and least telling - of Florida's four open fall practices, the Gators took Florida Field in front of scattered fans as part of "Fan Day." Inside the Gators has in-depth reaction coming, but here's some rapid reaction to get you started.
QUICK OVERVIEW: One day after a scrimmage, Florida worked a light contact practice that was filled primarily with positional drills and technique work. There were two periods of 11-on-11 action and the practice ended with a two-minute drill. There was also 1-on-1 work as well as 7-on-7 passing drills.
THUMBS UP: In many ways, Saturday's practice was a flip from Thursday's workout. Massive offensive tackle Trenton Brown looked far more capable as an edge blocker and fellow tackle Chaz Green wasn't beaten nearly as consistently as he was in the last open practice. Elsewhere, the defense restored order. Loucheiz Purifoy played exclusively at cornerback and was physical all morning, locking down Ahmad Fulwood and Solomon Patton among others. Neiron Ball worked extensively as the first-team middle linebacker and was particularly effective in coverage. There were bright spots in the passing game, highlighted by a Jeff Driskel touchdown strike to Quinton Dunbar, but not nearly as many as Thursday.
THUMBS DOWN: As a whole, it was difficult to get excited about the offense. Dominique Easley and Dante Fowler Jr. had the defense playing with great energy, but the offense never matched it. Mack Brown had issues with pass protection and split carries with the other running backs fairly evenly. Michael Taylor's athleticism as a coverage linebacker is regularly questioned and we saw why Saturday. Taylor regularly appeared a step slow following running backs and tight ends and struggled to adjust. Florida's backup quarterback situation remains a disaster. Tyler Murphy, Skyler Mornhinweg and Max Staver all had sever issues with accuracy. Staver showed promise with a strong arm and completed a long pass to Raphael Andrades but couldn't find consistency.
FIVE WHO STOOD OUT:
1. OT D.J. Humphries - He continues to be the strength of the offensive line and regularly disposed of Florida's best pass rushers in individual drills.
2. CB Loucheiz Purifoy - The Gators' most physical cornerback was at his pesky best Saturday, finding ways to aggressively affect wide receivers without getting called for pass interference.
3. Buck LB Dante Fowler Jr. - It's almost effortless for Fowler, who was once again a continuous problem for the offense. He blew up multiple run plays and got to Driskel during 11-on-11 drills.
4. DT Leon Orr - Getting all the first-team repetitions and some second-team repetitions with Damien Jacobs out, Orr fed off Easley's energy Saturday and was a noticeable force inside.
5. S Keanu Neal - The freshman may be getting tagged as the fourth safety by Will Muschamp, but he once again out-performed Jabari Gorman and was strong in coverage against Alvin Bailey and Trey Burton.
THIS AND THAT: Antonio Morrison was once again kept out of numerous first-team snaps in favor of Ball and ran after practice as his physical punishment continues. ... Demarcus Robinson and Andrades were forced to do "monkey rolls" after practice by Joker Phillips. ... Freshman center Cameron Dillard worked with the second-team offense in 11-on-11 drills after working with the third- and fourth-team offense Thursday. ... Matt Jones watched practice for about 15 minutes in shorts and a T-shirt.
Stay tuned to Inside the Gators for in-depth Offensive and Defensive observations, a two-deep depth chart rundown as well as a Practice Roundtable.