Notebook: Florida Gator Offensive observations

Offensive observations


Jeff Driskel looked much sharper and (predictably) more comfortable in Kurt Roper’s offense than he has in the previous playbooks.

Driskel is a spread quarterback that has been trying to play in systems that magnified his deficiencies as a quarterback rather than accentuating his strengths. That all changed when Roper was hired and Driskel is flourishing. He hit freshman tight end DeAndre Goolsby on a beautiful 35-yard touchdown pass at the beginning of practice and had several other nice throws throughout the night. Driskel was not perfect but he looked much better.

Treon Harris ran the second team unit during 11-on-11 drills but Skyler Mornhinweg ran the second unit in 7-on-7 drills and Will Grier was second in line when the team was working in skeleton drills. The depth chart behind Driskel is murky and while each quarterback had some good moments, nobody really stood out to me.

Running back

The running backs are big and fast. This may be the most talent that Florida has had in the backfield in a while and my biggest question going into the night was if Kelvin Taylor was pulling away and would take most of the reps.

He is not.

Matt Jones looked strong and fast, back to his old self before a stomach virus depleted his strength and size and a knee injury ended his season. Brandon Powell also looks great early on. Powell is the picturesque spread running back and if he keeps showing up at practice like he did on Thursday, he’s going to get plenty of action this season.

Florida Gator running back Kelvin Taylor struggled a little bit catching the ball out of the backfield and he looked visibly upset with himself after practice. Jones, however, showed great hands as a receiver paying the B position as well as coming out of the backfield and catching passes.


Tight End/B

Clay Burton had one bad drop but held on to most of the passes thrown his way and led the line when the tight ends were working with the quarterbacks. Burton wasn’t really attacking positional drills like the rest of the tight ends, kind of jogging through them, which makes me wonder if he was sick or dealing with a nagging injury.

DeAndre Goolsby and Jake McGee are incredible pass catchers. Both of them look like naturals when the ball is thrown their way and I can see both of them getting a lot of action this fall.


Demarcus Robinson had one drop but he just makes catches that other players can’t. He’s a physical specimen — a “freak” like his teammates describe him. Robinson was electric and had no problem getting open deep but is also being used a lot on jet sweeps. Roper is clearly trying to find ways to get Robinson the ball in space and let him go to work. Robinson hauled in a nice touchdown on a fade route late in practice. He’s a fun player to watch.

Andre Debose had some drops that were troubling. He didn’t really do anything to stand out.

Quinton Dunbar was productive, nothing flashy, same with Ahmad Fulwood.

C.J. Worton was very impressive. He’s a very solid route runner and he didn’t come close to dropping or double catching anything his way. If the ball is near his hands he’s going to come down with it.


Offensive line


I didn’t watch the offensive line work in drills because they weren’t in full pads but based on 11-on-11 work and 7-on-7 work the starting line (from left-to-right) is; D.J. Humphries, Trip Thurman, Max Garcia, Tyler Moore, Chaz Green.

Rod Johnson was backing up Green at right tackle and Trenton Brown worked as the second string right guard. David Sharpe worked behind Humphries on the left side.

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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


    • oops my bad. I was so excited for practice news I missed that this article was for “Offensive Observations”. Sorry about that.

  1. It would not surprise me at all if Matt Jones takes his job back. I didn’t think that Taylor was anything special last year, good, but nothing to write home about. If Jones is back up to speed, he’s not outclassed by Taylor in any way. Taylor didn’t look good catching the ball last year, if Jones is better at that aspect of the game, he’ll probably start over Taylor.