Open spring practice observations

Offensive Observations

  • Kurt Roper was more hands on today than Brent Pease had been in open previous open practices. It may just be a difference in coaching styles but Roper was much more vocal than the coach he is replacing.
  • Jeff Driskel ran the hurry up offense very well at the beginning of practice. He threw accurate, quick, crisp passes to receivers and led the offense well to start the day.
  • Demarcus Robinson had a good day. All of the cornerbacks that were assigned to cover him struggled to stick him. If Robinson can straighten things out off of the field, he has all the talent in the world to make an impact on the field.
  • The starting offensive line was (left-to-right): D.J. Humphries, Trip Thurman, Max Garcia, Tyler Moore, Chaz Green.
  • Chaz Green looked to have slimmed down some, losing some belly weight, but looked strong and had a good day considering the team wasn’t in pads.
  • Quinton Dunbar and Vernon Hargreaves had several battles today. Dunbar and Hargreaves both won their fair share on the day but the matchup is one that will be hard-fought throughout spring.
  • Will Grier looked good today. Grier has a short, compact release and looked to become more and more comfortable as the day progressed.
  • Skyler Mornhinweg struggled. He was picked off several times and never looked as comfortable as Grier or Driskel.
  • Valdez Showers worked exclusively in the slot today. Showers was moved from safety to running back last season but didn’t work in the backfield during the first practice session.
  • Tevin Westbrook was the tight end that was featured the most on Wednesday. Westbrook has made great strides as a route runner and as a pass catcher.
  • The statement was made last spring and it didn’t pan out to be the case but it appears that the tight ends and running backs will be more involved in the passing game this year.
  • Chris Thompson and Marqui Hawkins both ran crisp routes today. Neither receiver worked with the first team but both came down with a few receptions.


Defensive Observations

  • Jabari Gorman probably had the best day of all the safeties. Gorman had a nice interception of Driskel and broke up several passes. He was starting at safety alongside Marcus Maye.
  • Vernon Hargreaves had a great day — as expected. As previously mentioned, Hargreaves battled with Quinton Dunbar all day.
  • Duke Dawson played a lot of nickel during the first practice session but he was also flexed out wide with the second team. It appears Dawson will get a chance to play all over the secondary.
  • Jalen Tabor worked with the first team a lot today. Brian Poole was the main cornerback opposite Hargreaves but when the team went into a nickel defense, Poole slid inside and Tabor went opposite Hargreaves.
  • Marcell Harris got a lot of work today. Harris looked to be moving well and freely on his surgically repaired knee.
  • Keanu Neal tweaked his hamstring early on in practice and spent the rest of the day going through stretches on the far field.
  • Dante Fowler blocked a field goal during walk through. He was lining up inside on the field goal block unit today.
  • Jarrad Davis and Mike Taylor worked together when the linebacker separated for position drills. Taylor and Davis were paired up behind Neiron Ball and Antonio Morrison.
  • Neiron Ball looked great today. Speed is his game, so when the team isn’t in pads and he can fly around he’s going to look good. You want to see him still flash that speed when the pads are on and offensive linemen can grab him.
  • Jay-nard Bostwick and Joey Ivie got some reps with the first team today. Bostwick has slimmed down some since arriving and the redshirt freshman looked very good today.
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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