The fifth practice of fall is upon us and that means one thing: the team will be in full pads tonight!
Through the first four practices, the team and coaching staff is somewhat limited in what they can do because the NCAA mandates that every team have an adjustment period where they are not in full pads for the first four practices.
With the team moving into full pads and full hitting on Friday, here are five questions that we want to see answered when the Gators open the gates for the second time this fall.
1) How is the offensive line performing?
Any offensive linemen will tell you that it’s not fair to judge them when defensive linemen aren’t in pads. Defensive linemen are faster and normally more athletic and offensive linemen can’t be as physical without pads.
How is Max Garcia transitioning to his new role at center (he looked good on Thursday) and who are the five starters across the line?
2) How are the interior defensive linemen progressing?
Dante Fowler was unblockable, as usual, but he’s never been the question for Florida on the defensive line. The major question is how do you replace Dominique Easley? There wasn’t an answer last year and the defense took a step back from their elite level last season after Easley went down.
Darious Cummings and Leon Orr are the veterans here and the Gators desperately need them to be solid. After them, there is a lot of youth that needs to pick up the defense and start making an impact. Who is standing out early?
3) With Vernon Hargreaves out which freshmen will step up?
Vernon Hargreaves going down with a bone bruise is not good. Your best player getting hurt is never a good thing but it does create opportunity for Florida.
You know what you’re going to get from Hargreaves and I wouldn’t mind if Florida shut him down completely this fall camp.
Now, JC Jackson, Quincy Wilson, Duke Dawson and Jalen Tabor will have their feet held to the fire. They were all expected to play this fall but with Hargreaves on the sideline they are now thrust into a position where they need to start showing that they are ready to play right now.
4) Will Florida’s starting placekicker please stand up?
Thursday was my first look at transfer Brooks Abbott. He has a huge leg but was shaky at best. Hardin missed a couple of field goals.
Somebody has to want to win this job. Nobody came close on Thursday.
5) Kyle Christy vs. Johnny Townsend
Punters are people too!
This may be the tightest position battle on the team but it’s really a win-win situation for Florida.
I still think best case scenario is that Christy returns to from (he’s looked good in the spring and early on in the fall) and Townsend can redshirt — giving him an extra year to kick at Florida.
Still, Townsend isn’t going to just hand the job over and the two will continue to battle the rest of camp.
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