After four practices the Florida Gators completed the mandatory NCAA acclimation period and strapped up in full pads for the first time this fall camp. The tempo remained upbeat as the players relished the opportunity to finally really start playing some football.
Here is a quick notebook from the 15-minute open portion of practice as well as Head Coach Jim McElwain’s press conference after practice ended.
Georgia Tech linebacker transfer Anthony Harrell has missed time with a foot injury. Harrell is in a walking boot and McElwain did not give a timetable for his return.
Redshirt freshman Travaris Dorsey went down in practice with a knee injury. McElwain was not specific about the injury, saying only “we took a little bit of a blow today. We’ll find out what it is.”
Sophomore receiver C.J. Worton also sustained a knee injury.
C.J. Worton same deal, not quite sure what it is, but we’ll get it looked at.”
**Running back rotation**
The transfer of Adam Lane has left the Florida Gators with just four scholarship running backs and two of them are freshmen.
Despite the lack of numbers at the position, McElwain and running backs coach Tim Skipper are pleased with the quick progress that the group is making.
They’re quick learners, and coach Skipper has been real happy with how they’ve attacked the meeting room part, because that’s very new for freshmen, the amount of time it takes and the transition from the meeting room to the practice field back to the meeting room and the corrections that need to be made.”
The Gators will practice again on Monday night and get two practices in on Tuesday before taking a day off on Wednesday. The team will practice again on Thursday before taking the field for their first live scrimmage of camp on Friday.
On a day where the offense was installing a lot of new plays and formations, the defense was able to take advantage. On the defensive line Caleb Brantley and Jon Bullard appear to be dominating whomever is in front of them.
Treon Harris got a lot of work with the first team offense today but threw a couple of interceptions during the open portion of practice, including a bad decision to try and hit into double coverage resulting in an interception for Marcus Maye.
Speaking of Maye, the redshirt junior may be playing his best football right now. Maye has been all over the field displaying his athleticism. Maybe the light has turned on for the player everyone thought had All-SEC potential coming out of high school.
With Adam Lane gone Mark Herndon is getting more reps. Herndon had a couple of nice runs in half-line drills. Herndon isn’t wearing a brace on his surgically repaired knee and doesn’t seem to be hampered at all by the old injury.
C.J. Worton and Will Grier seem to be forming a nice connection on the field. Worton hauled in a couple of passes from Grier during the open portion of practice before he sustained his injury during the close portion of practice.
Freshman offensive lineman Nick Buchanan is a strong, strong man. Buchannan doesn’t look like a freshman physically and his strength was on display when he was able to stonewall Taven Bryan and Khairi Clark during drills. Buchannan is young, but if he keeps playing like that he could find himself in the eight to ten man rotation that McElwain wants to have on the offensive line.
Antonio Morrison continues to look great coming off of his horrific Birmingham Bowl knee injury. McElwain had to gather himself when asked about Morrison’s progress before saying the senior linebacker is much further along than anyone expected he would be at this point.
The starting offensive line during 11-on-11 drills on Monday was (left-to-right) Mason Halter, Trip Thurman, Cam Dillard, Antonio Riles, David Sharpe.
The starting defensive line in the same drills was, Alex McCalister, Caleb Brantley, Joey Ivie and Jon Bullard.
Quincy Wilson and Jalen Tabor continue to split reps with the first team. Tabor received more during the open period on Monday but this is still a situation where the starter doesn’t really matter. There will be a healthy rotation in the secondary.