Second Scrimmage in the Books

The second scrimmage of the fall is in the books after a long day in The Swamp for the Gators on Friday. It was another extended scrimmage, after depth kept Florida from doing that in 2011, and focused on multiple situations. Florida held an open practice in The Swamp on Saturday morning, but when it was over, the focus was back to what happened in the scrimmage on Friday.

The scrimmage was just over 120 plays including special teams. The first scrimmage of the fall was over 130 plays. The most plays in a scrimmage last fall was 80. The increased depth and number of players on the roster have made this fall an easier training camp for the Florida coaches to manage. Players aren't cross trained to work both sides of the ball so that everyone can get reps.

"That will tell you the difference in numbers and guys being healthy," Will Muschamp said on Saturday. "It's very pleasing."

Friday's scrimmage focused on situations. The team ran through red zone, goal line, short yardage and four-minute drills where the offense had the ball with the lead and needed to kill the clock to preserve a victory.

"We ran the ball well in the scrimmage," Muschamp said. "Mike Gillislee did a good job. We only gave him about six touches. He looks really good running the football."

The big play of the scrimmage came in a 61-yard run by Omarius Hines. He worked out at running back during Saturday's open practice and was used on some toss plays to get him outside to the perimeter. No matter how he touches the ball this fall, the goal is obvious—get Hines involved in the offense.

"Very explosive and a guy that we're trying to find multiple ways to get him the football," Muschamp said.

Hines missed time in fall camp last season. It limited his knowledge of the offense and held him back while other players continue to know their knowledge of Charlie Weis' offense.

"When you miss a lot of time, it's hard," Muschamp said. "There's no question he's an explosive guy. We need to give him some opportunities with the ball in his hands."

Muschamp also complimented Mack Brown, Chris Johnson and Matt Jones for carrying the ball well in the scrimmage. The run game drew plenty of praise.

"We've got a good stable of guys back there that we feel like are running the football well," Muschamp said. "Hunter Joyer blocked extremely well. He has really taken the next step and answered the call as far as that is concerned."

The offensive line continued to draw praise from the coaching staff. The unit struggled to block for run or pass plays in 2011, but added strength has Muschamp expecting that to change in 2012, especially on running plays.

"We're really improved up front, especially in run blocking," Muschamp said. "You look at the first level displacement and climbing to the second level, we're tougher and more physical. We're stronger up front. I'm very proud of the way those guys have progressed."

There's no news at the quarterback position, and expect that to be the case for a while. Muschamp has hinted at announcing the starting quarterback at Monday's press conference during game week, which would be August 27. Until then, it's more reps and more chances for Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel to state their case for the job.

"Both quarterbacks looked good and did some nice things," Muschamp said. "They're very even in what they're doing and managing our team."

Brissett and Driskel have both made plays with their feet. Sometimes it comes when picking up extra yardage. Other times it's about moving within the pocket to buy more time or throwing on the run when outside of the pocket. Whoever wins the job, Muschamp expects each quarterback's ability to escape the pocket to help the team.

There were a total of 11 explosive plays (15-yard pass or 12-yard run) during the scrimmage, and four of those came when the quarterback scrambled and threw on the run.

"Both quarterback move extremely well," Muschamp said. "They're tough guys to tackle and take down in the pocket. We should be a good scramble pass team."

Quinton Dunbar pulled down six catches and two explosive plays, both coming on passes while the quarterback was scrambling. Frankie Hammond continues to draw praise as the team's most consistent receiver.

Muschamp was happy with the defensive play and said the Gators were able to get pressure throughout the day and rushed the quarterback well with just four down defensive linemen.

During six red zone trips for the offense, the defense was able to hold them to field goals on four of them. There were only two turnovers forced during the scrimmage and 11 missed tackles.

Because of the scrimmage on Friday, Muschamp didn't want to run Florida through another grueling scrimmage for the practice that was open to the public on Saturday.

"We were sluggish (on Saturday)," Muschamp said. "We had a very physical run day (Friday). We can a couple powers (Saturday), and that was it. Everything else was trying to throw the ball down the field."

Muschamp will give the team Sunday off to get their legs under them after 18 straight practices. They will practice twice on Monday and have a scrimmage setting on Tuesday. The team will get Wednesday off for the first day of classes and to allow them to regain their legs.

Preparation for the September 1 season opener against Bowling Green starts at practice on Thursday.

INJURY REPORT: Freshman offensive tackle D.J. Humphries suffered an MCL injury during the scrimmage on Friday and will miss 2-3 weeks, but Muschamp said that the freshman "certainly will contribute" this season.

Sharrif Floyd was non-contact on Saturday after his shoulder was "dinged" in the scrimmage. He went through individual workouts and the coaches sent him to work out.

Jordan Reed is expected back on Monday after an MCL injury. Lerentee McCray was held out with a hamstring injury but should return on Monday. Michael Taylor has a shoulder injury but is also expected back Monday.

Dominique Easley was limited on Saturday, but Muschamp insists it is just a precaution. He tore his ACL against Florida State last season but is prepared for this year. He played around 40 snaps in the first scrimmages, and they're starting to take it easy on him as the season gets close.

"Everything is absolutely fine," Muschamp said.

Marcus Maye started to practice last weekend after he tore his meniscus before getting to campus. He had some swelling and soreness in the knee after practicing, so the coaches will play it safe with him.

Ronald Powell didn't appear at Saturday's practice until the end. When the practice was over, he ran out of the weight room and started an individual workout with defensive line coach Dan Quinn. They worked on pass rush moves to keep him in shape for his return.

"Ronald Powell's work ethic has been off the charts," Muschamp said. "The guy has not taken a break all summer. He has been in the training room and done everything that has been asked. Some people do heal quicker than others.

"The guy's attitude and approach to a tough deal has been amazing. He has been a lot more mature than the rest of us about handling it, where he is with it and what he needs to do to approve himself."


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