Face the Gator Nation

Florida Gator Football spring practice No. 9 is on the horizon and Gator Country continues with our series of questions that preview the day ahead. The first two editions of the series had me asking five questions prior to each practice. Being around the team it was easy to come up with questions regarding some of the biggest position battles and question marks surrounding the team. Today we’re going to switch things up. Being at practice every day, it’s easy to overlook some big picture things, so, I enlisted the help of our recruiting insider, Mr. Andrew Spivey himself, to provide us with the questions for the ninth practice of fall camp.

AS: Behind Keanu Neal who is the best looking safety in your eyes?

After three practices, I would say that the other safeties are all pretty even.

Duke Dawson has been getting a lot of attention from Will Muschamp but he’s adjusting to a new position. Marcell Harris continues to come on and is getting better but he’s been working mainly with the second unit. Jabari Gorman is the most seasoned player in the back end and will also earn playing time but I’m not sure that he will start. Marcus Maye has moved down and is playing nickel back, but, as Muschamp stated in his press conference, Florida plays nickel 70-75% of the time on defense so Maye is essentially a starter. I’ll make a point to see how the reps shake out on Tuesday and report back.

AS: After having the chance to watch open practice how do the quarterbacks seem to be to be responding to Kurt Roper? What have you noticed the most about Roper’s style?

  The quarterbacks are all adjusting to the new offense and to Kurt Roper very well — especially Driskel. Muschamp is being honest in his press conference when he says that Driskel is head and shoulders the best quarterback. After him, I would say that Will Grier and Treon Harris are ahead of Skyler Mornhinweg but both have struggled. Through the first week, Grier has had brighter moments than Harris but both quarterbacks are going through the typical freshman growing pains. As far as his coaching style, Roper is far more animated and hands on, in my opinion, than his predecessor. Roper is a high-energy guy who’s quick to heap praise but not afraid to come down on his passers if they’re not getting something they should be.

AS: Best guess of the four rotating defensive tackles this fall.

  Darious Cummings, Leon Orr, Joey Ivie and Jay-nard Bostwick. I would put Caleb Brantley and Khairi Clark in there right after. I’ve been very impressed with Clark.

AS: What’s the general feel around practice early in the morning? Is the energy the same as nighttime?

  The early morning sessions aren’t bad because it isn’t hot. Last year, with all of the early games on the schedule, the coaching staff had to prepare the team for that heat, which meant practicing in the middle of the day. In Florida. I didn’t even like going to those and I wasn’t running around in pads! The team doesn’t mind waking up early because it keeps them out of that blistering midday heat.

AS: Who’s looking good at returning the ball and does it look like there will be a reliable punt/kick returner?

  There isn’t a live hitting punt/kick return as far as the returner goes but I think Demarcus Robinson and JC Jackson are standing out as far as returners and I would expect both of them to be staples back there this season.   For more on University of Florida Gators football join Gator Country, the #1 source for all things Gator.


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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