Defensive observations: Spring practice No. 3

The Florida Gators strapped on the pads for the third open spring practice Saturday. In the upbeat morning practice, Florida’s defense looked like it is ahead of the offense.

Defensive Observations

  • Vernon Hargreaves continues to look like the best player on the field. I overheard a dad tell his young son today at practice, “Look, there’s the best cornerback in the country.” He’s not wrong.
  • Antonio Morrison was back in his element today with the pads on. Morrison absolutely blew up Brian Poole in a punt return drill and looked good going through positional drills.
  • Marcus Maye had a very nice interception in 7-on-7 drills today. He jumped the route and picked off Christian Provancha.
  • Jalen Tabor had a difficult practice. He got chewed out by Travaris Robinson and Will Muschamp at times today and got a long talking to while the team was in between drills. Overall Tabor has had three great practices but went through some growing pains today.
  • Tabor also had muffed several punts through the first three practices. I wouldn’t expect him to stick back there for long.
  • Joey Ivie continues to impress. I’m starting to see why players like Dominique Easley, Jaylen Watkins and Jon Halapio kept mentioning him as a freshman who stood out last season. Ivie looks like he has added a lot of mass in the offseason and he’s dominating on the defensive front. He’s still behind Darious Cummings on the depth chart but getting a lot of opportunity this spring with Leon Orr out.
  • Ivie also gave what could have been the biggest hit of the day as well. He read a swing pass to Mark Herndon and collided with the running back behind a full head of steam.
  • Antonio Riles again drew the ire of his position coach, Brad Lawing. Riles has been having a tough start to camp.
  • Marcell Harris has been getting coached a lot by head coach Will Muschamp, who doubles as the safeties coach. Harris keeps making mistakes but he is very coachable and continues to correct the mistake quickly.
  • Harris does look like he’s finally 100% healthy again. He’s moving around the field fluidly and effortlessly.
  • Jabari Gorman continues to have a solid camp. Gorman is locking down the safety spot next to Marcus Maye.
  • Dante Fowler Jr. is being monitored very closely. Like Dominique Easley a year ago, Fowler’s reps are being limited this spring.
  • Duke Dawson had his best practice of the spring today. Dawson drew the praise of his position coach for his tackling and for consistently being in the right spots in coverage. There was one instance where he missed a tackle in the backfield while blitzing as the nickel but for the most part, Dawson had a solid practice.


Special Teams Observations

  • Austin Hardin and Frankie Velez both struggled with accuracy in game-like scenarios.
  • Kyle Christy continues to look like he’s returned to his All-American form. Christy has been absolutely destroying the ball the past two days, sending punts 50 and 60 yards in the air with regularity.
  • Johnny Townsend had a down day on Friday but looked much better on Saturday.


Offensive observations from day 3. 

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC