Open Practice Observations: Battle in the trenches

Nick and I watched the defense and offense, respectively, during the first open practice. Today, I watched the battle in the trenches as Nick focused on the skill players.

Trenton Brown, the 6’8”, 363-pound mountain of an offensive tackle isn’t hard to miss when he lines up at right tackle. The problem is he’s almost too big. Brown is still yet to develop the technique to match his size. It almost makes his mass a disadvantage because he’s slow with his first step and moves at a plodding pace. On one particular play, Brown pulled around the edge and climbed to the second level, he wasn’t able to stop his momentum and square up on the linebacker he was supposed to seal. A linebacker got around him and made the tackle. His big body brings big expectations but for now, Brown is a work in progress.

Ronald Powell has not lost one step. He had the task over and over again with going up against D.J. Humphries rep after rep. It poses an interesting challenge for Powell, because Humphries is someone who has had to learn technique to compensate for his lack of girth. Humphries has never been listed at weighing over 300-pounds and will start at left tackle. Powell is firing off the ball, moving like someone you’d never guess has two torn ACLs in recent time. It was an interesting battle to watch the lightweight — by offensive line standards — battle the fan favorite and former No. 1 recruit, Ronal Powell. Fans should definitely pay attention to the two standouts at the last two open practices.

Dante Fowler Jr. is also a guy that has had people buzzing out of his BUCK spot so far during camp. Fowler has a devastating speed rush and with a background as a high school running back, has a unique vision into the backfield to go along with tremendous size.

The sample size of four practices in a six-day stretch gives us to look at players and watch as they progress through multiple practices. From half of our practice allotments, we’ve got a decent gauge for the level many of Florida’s players are at. Now we can look for improvements Monday and Tuesday.

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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.