Practice Observations: Offense

In the first of two days of open practice, the Gators did a lot of what they didn't or couldn't do in the 2012 season on offense... they threw and caught the ball quite a bit. Everything wasn't perfect, but it made for a fun day of watching the gators, something we don't get a lot of on the practice field. Here is one man's impression of the second day of practice.

They spent the day without pads again per NCAA rules, but the passing game was in pretty high gear on Friday. Here is a breakdown by position.


I thought all three quarterbacks were pretty accurate in all the short and medium range stuff. We know that junior starting quarterback Jeff Driskel has a cannon and he was able to use it a few times. He made one seriously awful dump pass to a tight end that Jabari Gorman sniffed out for a touchdown. Otherwise, Driskel hit a myriad of different receivers all over the field including a couple of nice lofted deep passes to receivers on the sideline. He did overthrow Solomon Patton on a seam route, but I lliked that he continuously found the open guy during the practice session.

Junior back up Tyler Murphy also threw well, especially when it was mid or down field passes. He struggled throwing in the flats a couple of times, but he looks like he has a pretty good arm. Freshman back up Skyler Mornhinweg is an accurate thrower, but he kind of pushes the ball from a straightened out position. Almost like a Danny Wuerffel shot put throw, but with his arm stretched out. Again he is accurate with his throws, but it appears throwing deep may be an issue with him.

I thought the quarterbacks overall were very solid and surprised me with how many intermediate and deep routes they threw and completed. How accurate were the quarterbacks on the day, Muschamp lit up one walk-on receiver for not knowing the ball was coming after 20 yards down field the ball hit him in the back. I believe it was a throw from Murphy. Running Back and Full Back

I don't think it was a day that sophomore starter Matt Jones will want to remember. He looked okay running the ball but without pads and hitting you can't really get too much out of what was going on today. However, he fumbled the ball once and he dropped a wide open short pass that just smacked both hands and then the ground. It wasn't a good showing for the starting running back.

Without pads on I think what you are looking for out of the running backs is the guy that can find the most daylight in a crowd. The defense isn't allowed to put you on the ground, but if you can show they are touching you, then that will open eyes with the offensive staff. This early, the guy that showed that to me of the three out there, was freshman running back Kelvin Taylor. A couple of times he was in a sea of white jerseys and was able to maneuver quickly inside that sea and come out the back end untouched. He also made a really tough catch shown in the highlights of a pass that was thrown behind him in one drill.

Junior Mack Brown is going to impress more when the pads are on and he can show that he can run through tackles. As a straight line runner, he doesn't avoid full contact, but slides off or powers through it as well as anyone. We need to see him with pads to better gauge where he was at. However, he and Driskel did have a miscue on a handoff that ended up on the ground and in the defense's hands. It was hard to see who was at fault, but I think it was more Driskel than Brown given the position of Brown when it happened.

Junior starting fullback Hunter Joyer has lost a little weight and he seemed to surprise a few times with his speed whether it be on offense or special teams. He is a really good pass catcher as we know and although he didn't tote the ball from the backfield on Friday, he looked good doing everything else… as usual.

I didn't see much if anything from the true backups at fullback, but senior Trey Burton had a good day catching the ball and caught a mid-range seam pass for good yardage over nickel back Brian Poole. They list Burton as an F-receiver, but I think he is more of an H-back in the offense.

Wide Receiver

I have to say I was happiest with this bunch than maybe any group on the field, although you would have to include the quarterbacks to some degree who were throwing to these guys.


If I had to pick a player of the day on offense and this will probably be good news to most of you… it would be Loucheiz Purifoy. The junior two-way player hit on three reverses that totally lost this cameraman twice. He also made two nice catches down field including one mid-range crosser that he made a nice move on and hit pay dirt. You can find that play in the video. I liked everything Purifoy did on Friday, given they weren't hitting.

Again, I'm just here to make you guys happy and the next guy that impressed me the most was senior receiver Andre Debose. You will see on film a terrific catch he made on the sideline from Jeff Driskel and he kept his feet and made some yards after the catch. Maybe the most promising thing was in a three-wide set he was running with the first group. Debose also caught a mid-range Dig route, plated his foot and burst north toward the end zone on one play. The coaches had to be smiling.

It was a little bit of a mixed bag for junior Quinton Dunbar. We saw him make difficult catches last year for the Gators. He made four nice ones on Friday, however two of them were bobbled balls that he finally hauled in. He is a guy that needs to work on yards after the catch and if he is trying to corral the ball, he can't turn up field and get those yards.

Freshman Demarcus Robinson made a couple of plays you can see in the highlights. He really does look like the guy that can be a true play-maker in this group. It will likely take some time to learn it all, but he has burst and strength in his game and showed both of those attributes Friday. He has a chance to be a really good one.

Sophomore Latroy Pittman followed Debose's big play with a beautiful back shoulder pass on the seam. He was being covered tough and reached back for a Driskel bullet and hauled it in for about 23 yards.

It was good to see senior (is he really a senior?) Solomon Patton running around. He broke free on a deep seam route but Driskel just over-threw him for what could have been a touchdown if caught. He got the mismatch with Antonio Morrison on the play.

Tight End

Tight end will be a battle and I saw good stuff from all of them today. The order on the day was junior Clay Burton, junior Tevin Westbrook, sophomore Kent Taylor, and freshman Colin Thompson

I was really impressed with both Burton and Westbrook. Multiple times they showed hands and the ability to maneuver their full steam ahead bodies to turn up field and get going. You can see a few of these in the highlight clips. Cody alluded to a ridiculous and uncalled for tackle by Antonio Morrison on sophomore Kent Taylor. Muschamp blew a fuse over it and sat Morrison down for a while. I give Taylor a lot of credit, he didn't whine at all and after making the catch and getting thrown down wrestling style, he just jumped back up and started running with no ill effects.

Like the receivers it seemed like a really good day for the tight ends.

Offensive Line

Without pads it is so hard to get anything from watching the linemen. The staff is adamant about everyone staying off of the ground so that there are no tramplings and no twisted ankles and the like from running over prone bodies on the field.

The offense also spends most of the practice time 150 yards away on the other fields. So, I want to talk about one guy. He had a communication issue or two on the day, but when sophomore transfer Tyler Moore got his paws on the defensive end his feet went into action and he drove them wide of the quarterback. I just really liked the way he got out in front of guys and could collect himself to push defenders wide and out of the pocket area.

That is about all I have on the offense.

Special Teams

I guess I shouldn't be surprised anymore, but I am. Muschamp works a lot of special teams in the spring. Remember when Spurrier would basically rule out most of special teams in the spring game, because they didn't practice it until the last few days. That isn't the way for Muschamp. They devote a great deal of time to this portion of the game.

They unraveled a new drill on Friday that I have never seen. Basically it is a 25 yard run on punt team and there are three sets of cones that are continuously getting narrower down the field. The last set of little cones (25 yards away) are about a yard apart. The trick is for the gunner or defender to get to that point and be able to run through those last cones. The object for the return team is to keep that guy from being able to hit his spot that far down field. Needless to say Purifoy was great as a gunner. One guy that showed great burst in the drill was safety Valdez Showers, he was first to go on my side of the field and got a big celebration yell and bump from assistant coach Brian White who must be in charge of punt coverage.

The five guys that took turns catching punts were Marcus Roberson, Andre Debose, Brian Poole, Demarcus Robinson, and Raph Andrades.

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