Muschamp Gives Scrimmage Rundown

Florida went through its first scrimmage of fall camp with the expected learning curve, but it ended with a happy head coach. Will Muschamp was optimistic about the way the offense looked in the 130-play scrimmage. The defense forced turnovers after struggling to do that in 2011, but the Florida head coach knows the optimism has to be guarded since it is only the first scrimmage of camp.

The first scrimmage of the quarterback battle between Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel didn't produce any results. The two went through the scrimmages without wearing non-contact jerseys, as the coaches wanted them to feel the pressure around the pocket.

"Both quarterbacks were pretty evenly distributed through the explosive plays and how they played," Will Muschamp said. "They're both completing between 63-65% of their passes and both are dead on statistically as far as attempts, completions and everything. They managed our football team well."

Their performances on the field were enough to please Muschamp, including the times when the ball wasn't snapped. They handled the huddle well, took signs from the sidelines without struggle and went through the normal progression to getting the team set to run a play.

"We functioned very well," Muschamp said. "We didn't have a lot of procedure issues or alignment issues offensively. We had a good tempo, and those are things to me that are really pleasing offensively.

"I was pleased with the management of getting in and out. We didn't have procedure issues. The function of getting in and out of the huddle, calling the play and getting to the line of scrimmage—they managed that well."

The 130-play scrimmage produced 11 explosive plays, defined as a 12-yard run or a 15-yard pass. The 130 plays were important to Muschamp after the team wasn't able to have such a long scrimmage last year because of the limited roster.

"Much longer than any scrimmage we were able to last fall," he said. "I can assure you of that."

Freshman wide receiver Raphael Andrades accounted for two of the team's 11 explosive plays. It's still early in camp, but the late addition to the 2012 recruiting class has been turning heads in fall camp.

"Raphael Andrades had a good day," Muschamp said. "He caught a bubble screen and made a couple guys miss. He caught a ball downfield for a jump ball, a 50-50 ball. I know he's only a two-star, so he's not supposed to be a good player. We had the guy in camp. He's got great ball skills, judges the ball and catches the ball well. He's a guy we need to give more reps to."

The run game was the highlight of the day for the offense. Mike Gillislee and Matt Jones received praise from the head coach, but it was Mack Brown that stood out with the ball in his hands, as the head coach called it his best scrimmage "since he has been here."

"He ran the ball extremely well and protected well," Muschamp said. "He didn't do a lot of dancing. He stuck his foot in the ground and got north and south. That's something he can do very well. He's a strong guy with a strong lower body. That was very pleasing."

Mack Brown had a big scrimmage on Saturday.

Ball security was an issue for the offense. The Gators fumbled four times and threw three interceptions, but Muschamp wouldn't divulge which players fumbled or threw the interceptions.

"Those are turnovers we can't afford to have offensively," he said.

Defensively, it's a different story.

The turnovers had the defensive coaches happy after the unit struggled to force turnovers in 2011.

"We got the ball out," Muschamp said. "We had four times where we turned the ball over and got the ball on the ground. That's very pleasing for us. Those situations for us have been emphasized."

Marcus Roberson, Loucheiz Purifoy and freshman Brian Poole had the three interceptions for the Florida defense in the scrimmage. Muschamp did say that one interception was on a tipped ball, and another was forced because of a blown assignment by the offensive line.

The defensive line was an issue last year because its lack of depth, but that wasn't the case on Saturday. Muschamp said Sharrif Floyd, Earl Okine, Dominique Easley, Lerentee McCray "played well," while Omar Hunter, Damien Jacobs and Leon Orr needed to be more consistent. Freshman Jonathan Bullard "showed up and did some nice things."

The biggest difference is the added numbers.

"We've got a deeper number of guys, and we're not having to cross train as many guys this close to the season in looking at different positions," Muschamp said.

Floyd's return to the inside of the defensive line has turned him into the player the junior showed signs of when he stepped on campus in 2010. As a freshman, Floyd was dominant at defensive tackle before moving to defensive end for the 2011 season to help the team.

Floyd is moving back inside this season

"He eats a lot of space in there," Muschamp said. "He demands a double (team) in a lot of situations. He's a good rusher inside."

An important negative for the defense was the 11 missed tackles, but Muschamp cautioned that can happen early in camp.

The Gators ran live special teams drills on Saturday, too. That's the place he would like to see the younger players start to create their own roles.

"We need more young guys to step up and contribute," Muschamp said. "We've got some really good athletes in this freshman class, and they need to step up. They need to come to the table and understand it's one-third of the game. It's very important here at Florida to control the vertical field position of the football game."

INJURY REPORT: There was only one significant injury during the scrimmage. Tight end Jordan Reed twisted his knee "a little bit." Muschamp said the injury has been sore in recent days, but he is only expected to miss three or four days of practice.

"No issues, no surgery, no nothing," he said. "He's going to be fine."

Freshman safety Marcus Maye rejoined the team and practiced fully on Sunday night for the first time this fall.

FUTURE PRACTICE PLAN: The Gators moved into the team hotel on Saturday, something Muschamp believes is "important in team building." They will practice once on Monday, twice on Tuesday, once on Wedneday and twice on Thursday. The team will have another full scrimmage on Friday afternoon.

The next day, August 18, Florida will hold its only open practice of the fall in The Swamp.

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