Saturday Scrimmage Cut Short by Rain

The Gators didn't get the preferred amount of work done during Saturday's final scrimmage before the Orange & Blue Debut. Rain and lightning in Gainesville forced Florida off the practice field after what head coach Will Muschamp estimated was only 30-35 snaps. While the time on the field was limited, Muschamp was optimistic with the way the team played and continues to grow.

"We ran the ball well to start the scrimmage, but I wish we would've started out better defensively," Will Muschamp said Monday afternoon. "We got cut short after that.

"It was mostly running the football. We missed a deep ball down the sideline to Andre Debose. It was good coverage by Loucheiz Purifoy."

Muschamp said the team was able to go through seven-on-seven, one-on-one and individual drills before the scrimmage was called off after the estimated 30-35 snaps.

The focal point of the scrimmage, as it has been with every other scrimmage so far this spring, was running the football. The coaches want to increase toughness and are happy with the way that has progressed.

"The physicality of our football team is much better than it was a year ago," Muschamp said. "I can assure you of that."

Freshman wide receiver Latroy Pittman was named offensive player of the day. The early enrollee got a chance for increased reps because of how thin the Gators were of playmakers, and he has taken advantage of the early reps.

"He continues to make some plays," Muschamp said of Pittman. "He does some nice things vertically down the field and he blocks. We've just got to get him learning how to line up sometimes, but that's part of the deal.

"He's passing some guys up (on the depth chart). He understands every down performance, blocking and doing the things you've got to do to be successful like reading coverages and seeing coverages. He just goes out and makes plays."

Ronald Powell continued his strong spring performance and was named defensive player of the day.

Muschamp said that he will not decide rosters for Saturday's spring game by a draft. He will keep it offense vs. defense to continue pushing continuity on both sides of the ball.

"We'll keep the units together and keep them competing," Muschamp said. "It'll be another great day to go out and perform."

INJURY REPORT: Wide receivers JaJuan Story (ankle), Solomon Patton (groin) and Stephen Alli (groin) are all expected back Monday. Those three injuries were the only noteworthy ones that Muschamp pointed out.

"Right now, we're very healthy," he said. "Everybody is day-to-day as far as the guys that have been injured."

SPECIAL TEAMS REVIEW: The Gators lost at Auburn last year, but there's a chance it could've been avoided by catching punts. That's why the Gators are trying out six players in punt return duties this spring.

Trey Burton, Andre Debose, Frankie Hammond, Loucheiz Purifoy, Marcus Roberson and Pop Saunders have all taken reps on punt returns in spring. Muschamp said they haven't done many live punt returns, but that "it cost us a game last year."

"We were really good in all categories, but we weren't really good at returning punts," Muschamp said. "We need to do a better job of holding people up and returning the ball. That was something we tried to emphasize—finding that guy."

Saunders took reps last year as the punt returner, and Muschamp pointed out that he is "reliable catching." It's Debose that provides the biggest threat.

"He is a threat," Muschamp said. "Andre Debose is the guy that jumps out at me as far as a guy that can do some things."

Muschamp is using the same six players plus Omarius Hines and Cody Riggs on kickoff returns duties. No decisions have been made on either spot.

Both kickers also return for the Gators. Caleb Strugis is capitalizing on a strong 2011 campaign and building momentum for the fall with a strong spring practice.

"Caleb kicked the ball extremely well," Muschamp said. "He was our special teams player of the day from Saturday. He kicked extremely well."

Sophomore punter Kyle Christy took over the punting job halfway through last season and is becoming more consistent.

"Kyle had his best day at Florida last Wednesday," Muschamp said. "He really punted the ball extremely well. He continues to progress consistently. He's got to do it all the time. He's got the leg, he's got the tools, and he's got the talent. It's a matter of doing it all the time."

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