Junior Jeff Driskel is the clear starter at the position, but he has some things to work on. Some insiders on our message boards that have been able to watch practice have noted that Driskel still tends to lock onto his first receiver. Often times, he is caught in no-mans-land and not being able to do anything with the ball. This may be the biggest area of concern for the entire team moving forward.
But watching the quarterbacks doesn't stop with Driskel. The battle at the backup spot between Junior Tyler Murphy and red-shirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg is something we really need to play close attention to. Murphy seems to be the favorite right now, but nothing has been decided and announced at this point in time.
This one is a little more contested yet sophomore Matt Jones likely has a pretty good hold on the starting job. He played some a year ago, but not a whole lot as a freshman. Still, that experience in big games has to be invaluable and he likely has a lot better ability in pass blocking than the other two guys at the position.
As far as a pure runner goes, true freshman Kelvin Taylor by all accounts this spring is as good as any of them. The son of Gator Great Fred Taylor, Kelvin lacks the experience and the blocking ability at the moment. We should see a good dose of him on Saturday along with junior Mack Brown who has been around for quite a few years now as a Gator. Brown has a lot of running ability, but has to pick it up with other things like pass blocking.
This was really an afterthought coming into this scrimmage Saturday and still is in terms of the starter. Hunter Joyer doesn't need a snap in the practice, he is the dead-to-rights starter at the position and possibly an all-SEC candidate in 2013. The real fun is watching the two backups who were both moved over from defense. Junior Gideon Ajagbe and freshman Rhaheim Ledbetter have done some things to catch the coaches eyes this spring and have made their move a positive one so far. They should be fun to watch on Saturday.
We'll also throw senior Trey Burton in here since he really doesn't fit anywhere on the position roster, but will play a ton none the less. Burton's usage should go way up as they try to find different ways to make him a match upm problem for defenses in 2013.
It appears that Burton may get the starting not at the moment, but this is a very close race. Taylor is the speed guy of the group and can stretch the field a little bit. Colin Thompson is probably the guy that most well rounded and has been behind because of a foot injury that kept him out last year. These guys are all fighting hard to get on the field.
This should be a position that is wide open. From all accounts, junior Quinton Dunbar has taken the reigns of this unit as the number one guy, but is he a true number one threat? Senior Andre Debose has had some very good and some very normal revues for him this spring. He needs to trend toward the very good ones so the staff can build some trust in him. It isn't about having the athletic ability, it is about the trust of putting him on the field that has to be overcome.
Senior Solomon Patton likely won't see time on Saturday recovering from injury, but other guys to really watch are sophomores Raph Andrades and Latroy Pittman who saw playing time in critical situations as freshmen last year. The two are looking for a chance to break out.
Maybe the two guys that were the most important to do something this spring were freshmen Demarcus Robinson and junior Loucheiz Purifoy. Robinson was a big timer out of high school and came to Florida with all the tools, height, some speed, and great athleticism to go along with really good pass running skills taught in high school. Purifoy is a starting corner of course, but spent the first half of spring training at receiver and is likely the best pure athlete at the position with great speed.
The position on the trainer's table. Multiple injuries up front on offense is the culprit for changing the look of the scrimmage on Saturday. Still, we have seen a lot of Chaz Green and Jon Halapio who will miss Saturday recovering from injury. It would be nice to see some of Ian Silberman and Trip Thurman who we haven't seen as much.
All eyes will be on transfers junior Max Garcia from Maryland and sophomore Tyler Moore from Nebraska. Both sat out from playing football last year and while Garcia was on campus working with Florida's scout team, Moore went the junior college route so he could transf4er anywhere he wanted. There were players we talked to that said Garcia was the best lineman on campus a year ago. Most would say that that Moore has worked his way into the starting line up with his play this spring, but we shall see. The other one that will have everyone's attention is sophomore D.J. Humphries, who came to Florida a year ago as the nation's top offensive tackle prospect and didn't disappoint. With a bit of added weight and strength this year, Humphries has proven himself big time this spring and looks like the starter at left tackle.
We'll start on the outside where one of the main characters will be missing. Sophomore Jonathan Bullard had a big year in 2012 and is expected to continue that this season, but he won't be on display on Saturday because of injury. Still there is a lot to see on the edge on defense.
Sophomore Dante Fowler had a season quite like Bullard a year ago and reports have him continuing this success this spring. Watch for him on Saturday and when he goes up against Moore and Humphries.
The next guy to watch should be red-shirt freshman Alex McCalister. Pushing 240 pounds now, McCalister is up over 30 pounds from the weight he arrived at as a freshman last year. He is expected to play the BUCK position and has been one of the guys the staff has raved about really since last fall as he worked hard on the scout team. With Ronald Powell still out nursing his torn ACL back to health, he should get a lot of work Saturday.
Dominique Easley will get some reps outside, and some inside, but we probably won't see much of the senior that has all the world of potential and they expect it out of him. The last guy to talk about at end is Bryan Cox, Jr. who has supposedly stepped it up as well and another one to watch on Saturday.
When the season starts Easley will likely start inside and the battle for the other defensive tackle spot is a good one. Senior Damien Jacobs has stepped up his game this spring. Leon Orr has become the biggest talker on the line and has done well. Junior college transfer Darious Cummings is a little bit out of shape, but still brings a lot of punch to the table on the field and they like his play so far. One of these three will line up next to Easley in September on the first play, and all three should be on display Saturday.
True freshman Joey Ivie is the last to watch at defensive tackle. He has had his positive and negative moments this spring, but has never been faulted for a lack of effort.
Muschamp announced a little bit of a surprise this week when he said SAM linebacker Darrin Kitchens was moved to MIKE. Now, we will have to watch and see what situations Kitchens plays the position as he has been on the outside since he has been at Florida. It could be a move for passing down situations as he wants to get the guys that move the best on the field.
The guy that has maintained the staff's praise is sophomore Antonio Morrison and he should be a star in 2013. Watch him Saturday if you can, he will make plays if he is on the field.
Neiron Ball likely becomes the man at SAM if Kitchens is moved out. He continues to get better and better after missing over a year of football with a neurological condition a couple of years ago. We all know that Michael Taylor plays the game with an attitude. He should bring that to the field on Saturday.
Two new guys to look at are red-shirt freshman Jeremi Powell and true freshman Daniel McMillian. Powell is a bit undersized, but is great in coverage as a linebacker. McMillian is learning the ropes but is absolutely a guy they think will be a great one before all is said and done. He can do it all as a linebacker. Fellow freshmen Matt Rolin and Alex Anzalone are out due to injury.
At cornerback we have the usual suspects in all-SEC types Purifoy, Marcus Roberson, and Jaylen Watkins. Muschamp said Watkins might start the season at safety in order to get the best players on the field, sop look for that. The other one to watch at corner is sophomore Brian Poole. A lot of folks think he should move to safety with his size, but his elite athletic skills and aggressive play make him a natural for what they are looking at in a cornerback.
Cody Riggs was moved from corner to safety and started most of the spring, but will miss Saturday due to injury. With Watkins over there, we will see a heavy dose of red-shirt freshman Marcus Maye, sophomore Valdez Showers, and junior Jabari Gorman. The safety position is anything but settled at the moment and these guys will be working hard on Saturday.
The key battle on special teams is at the place kicker position. Senior walk-on Brad Phillips is challenging red-shirt freshman Austin Hardin. It has been a challenge at the position this spring and consistency has been an issue all the way around.
They will shuttle in plenty of guys at the different return spots and Kyle Christy has a lock down as the team's punter.
The action will take place Saturday at 1 pm in The Swamp. While it isn't what we all hoped to see, there will likely be more action between the top players on both sides of the ball than in a normal spring game.