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Open Practice Observations
| Surprises on offense

Written by Richard Johnson, August 19, 2013, 0 Comments,
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The final of the three open practices is in the books for the Florida football team, today the team announced Tuesday’s practice will be closed to everyone except University of Florida students.

Here’s what I learned from the offense in practice three:

Quarterback

Driskel took what the defense gave him today, dumpoffs, stuff in the flats, check downs, few shots down the field at all today. We know what Driskel can do, it’s the guy behind him that cause concern. Tyler Murphy from all accounts grasps things from a mental standpoint but physically, there is a significant drop off between Driskel and him. The main thing with Murphy today was rolling out of the pocket and throwing on the run. Whether to the left or the right, Murphy’s accuracy drops off considerably when he goes mobile. Muschamp insists that the Gators can win with Murphy under center if Driskel goes down, I doubt it.

Running back

On Monday morning, Muschamp surprised many by saying the depth chart at RB was Mack Brown, Mark Herndon and Valdez Showers. Brown wasn’t the shocker, the other two were. So what about Taylor and Lane? They struggle with holding onto the ball and pass blocking per Muschamp. I saw both those issues creep into things today. Lane on one particular play took an awful angle on a pass block and ended up in almost a side-hug position with a defensive lineman who proceeded to blow through him to the quarterback. Blocking technique hinges mostly on getting low, and if Lane is able to square up on a defensive lineman he’ll be lower more often than not because of his already small stature. Taylor, along with Lane struggles with the mental aspect of the game and thinking about assignments rather than reacting. It’s something that all freshmen struggle with when they first arrive in a major college program. Taylor on one play practically got picked up in the air and dropped by Jonathan Bullard. Muschamp said we’ll see both Lane and Taylor on the field this year and I do not doubt it. They run the ball about as well as you can ask for, but RBs at Florida don’t just have to run the ball. They have to catch it out of the back field and block as well. The latter of the three is often overlooked when thinking about what an RB does, and it’s something Lane and Taylor will both have to get better at before they see the field.

Receivers

Quinton Dunbar had a very nice catch over Marcus Roberson down the sideline, Roberson was on Dunbar like a wet blanket, and even drew a flag for pass interference but Dunbar still caught the ball. Demarcus Robinson showed his physicality on a catch over Jaylen Watkins by giving a subtle push off to create separation and reeling the ball in. Robinson’s raw receiving skills at this point are the best of anyone on campus. There are mental hurdles Robinson has to get over such as little things like lining up in the right place in formations and such, but as far as pure talent is concerned, Robinson shines. We’ll see if he can parlay that talent when he gets a chance to show it on Saturdays this fall. Robinson’s production has probably been the best thing to happen to Quinton Dunbar. Dunbar is someone who all the coaches and players have said has taken the young receivers under his wing and been a leader in the position group. With a young talented Robinson breathing down his neck for playing time, the worst thing it can do for Dunbar is push him to work harder. If you don’t see Robinson as much as you’d like on the field this year, it’s because you’re seeing a better version of Quinton Dunbar.

Offensive line

Said it before, I’ll say it again, no qualms with DJ Humphries at left tackle. Right now he’s a solid bet to anchor the left side of that line. Tyler Moore is still doing fine at right guard, when Jon Halapio returns it will interesting to see if they have him slide back out to right tackle and challenge Chaz Green for a spot on the outside. The third right tackle in the mix — and the biggest — Trenton Brown got some reps in on the PAT team, being 6’8” won’t hurt when trying to block kicks.

Richard Johnson

About Richard Johnson

Richard lives in Gainesville and prides himself in being a bonafide lifelong Alachua County Resident. He attends the University of Florida and is in his third year studying Telecommunications. He isn’t sure how he started loving football being the son of two immigrants that don’t care about the sport, but he has developed a borderline unhealthy obsession with it. In his free time, Richard watches other sports and is an avid fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Tampa Bay Rays. He doesn’t like chocolate, knows Moe’s is better than Chipotle and drinks way too many Arnold Palmers. He also took up golf in the summer of 2012. That pursuit isn’t going well. You can listen to him talk about sports during the Cheapseats radio show on ESPN 850-WRUF or online at WRUF.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RagjUF.

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The final of the three open practices is in the books for the Florida football team, today the team announced Tuesday’s practice will be closed to everyone except University of Florida students.

Here’s what I learned from the offense in practice three:

Quarterback

Driskel took what the defense gave him today, dumpoffs, stuff in the flats, check downs, few shots down the field at all today. We know what Driskel can do, it’s the guy behind him that cause concern. Tyler Murphy from all accounts grasps things from a mental standpoint but physically, there is a significant drop off between Driskel and him. The main thing with Murphy today was rolling out of the pocket and throwing on the run. Whether to the left or the right, Murphy’s accuracy drops off considerably when he goes mobile. Muschamp insists that the Gators can win with Murphy under center if Driskel goes down, I doubt it.

Running back

On Monday morning, Muschamp surprised many by saying the depth chart at RB was Mack Brown, Mark Herndon and Valdez Showers. Brown wasn’t the shocker, the other two were. So what about Taylor and Lane? They struggle with holding onto the ball and pass blocking per Muschamp. I saw both those issues creep into things today. Lane on one particular play took an awful angle on a pass block and ended up in almost a side-hug position with a defensive lineman who proceeded to blow through him to the quarterback. Blocking technique hinges mostly on getting low, and if Lane is able to square up on a defensive lineman he’ll be lower more often than not because of his already small stature. Taylor, along with Lane struggles with the mental aspect of the game and thinking about assignments rather than reacting. It’s something that all freshmen struggle with when they first arrive in a major college program. Taylor on one play practically got picked up in the air and dropped by Jonathan Bullard. Muschamp said we’ll see both Lane and Taylor on the field this year and I do not doubt it. They run the ball about as well as you can ask for, but RBs at Florida don’t just have to run the ball. They have to catch it out of the back field and block as well. The latter of the three is often overlooked when thinking about what an RB does, and it’s something Lane and Taylor will both have to get better at before they see the field.

Receivers

Quinton Dunbar had a very nice catch over Marcus Roberson down the sideline, Roberson was on Dunbar like a wet blanket, and even drew a flag for pass interference but Dunbar still caught the ball. Demarcus Robinson showed his physicality on a catch over Jaylen Watkins by giving a subtle push off to create separation and reeling the ball in. Robinson’s raw receiving skills at this point are the best of anyone on campus. There are mental hurdles Robinson has to get over such as little things like lining up in the right place in formations and such, but as far as pure talent is concerned, Robinson shines. We’ll see if he can parlay that talent when he gets a chance to show it on Saturdays this fall. Robinson’s production has probably been the best thing to happen to Quinton Dunbar. Dunbar is someone who all the coaches and players have said has taken the young receivers under his wing and been a leader in the position group. With a young talented Robinson breathing down his neck for playing time, the worst thing it can do for Dunbar is push him to work harder. If you don’t see Robinson as much as you’d like on the field this year, it’s because you’re seeing a better version of Quinton Dunbar.

Offensive line

Said it before, I’ll say it again, no qualms with DJ Humphries at left tackle. Right now he’s a solid bet to anchor the left side of that line. Tyler Moore is still doing fine at right guard, when Jon Halapio returns it will interesting to see if they have him slide back out to right tackle and challenge Chaz Green for a spot on the outside. The third right tackle in the mix — and the biggest — Trenton Brown got some reps in on the PAT team, being 6’8” won’t hurt when trying to block kicks.

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Florida Gator football players practice during the open practice on Saturday August 17th, 2013.
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