Muschamp happy with first scrimmage

The Gators got their first scrimmage of fall camp under their belt on Saturday in The Swamp. The Florida coaches tried to simulate a game day atmosphere as much as possible after spending the previous week of practice working with a hands on approach. The scrimmage provided some standout players, especially from the young players, but also showed areas that need improvement.

Muschamp called it a "solid scrimmage," with between 80-100 snaps pitting the offense against the defense. The scrimmage also simulated every special teams facet of the game with 15-20 snaps to simulate live special teams in the fall. The Florida coaches were off the field to force the young players to show what they know without the help of a position coach over their shoulder.

It was also split into periods of red zone, third down and one-minute drill work.

Muschamp was happy with the way the defense played. Dominique Easley was "very disruptive" up the middle. Jonathan Bullard had a strong scrimmage, even sliding inside to play defensive tackle at times.

Neiron Ball also showed up at the linebacker position. The Gators recently moved him to inside linebacker, and his speed was tough to miss. Ball diagnosed a reverse quickly after the snap and used his speed to run down Solomon Patton.

The secondary played well, with redshirt freshman Marcus Maye continuing to stand out this fall. Muschamp said that he is "having a really good camp and he's really come on and done some nice things for us." The safety position is still open.

"We tackled well for the first scrimmage," Will Muschamp said. "I was very pleased with the crisp tackling we had on defense. I'd say that I felt pretty good about it. We wanted it to be physical."

The offense showed some flashes, too.

Jeff Driskel went through his progressions and found open receivers, as freshmen receivers Ahmad Fulwood and Demarcus Robinson continued to stand out in the passing game.

"He's throwing the ball really well," Muschamp said of Driskel. "The command, the mental quickness is there, taking the ball to the right spots. I've been very pleased."

The Gators came back on Sunday and went through their first two-a-days of the fall. The first practice was focused on corrections from the scrimmage. The second practice came back with positive reviews, as the second practice still had energy and focus on both sides of the ball.

"I was very pleased with practice," Muschamp said. "We went out in full gear and we had a very physical day. I was really pleased with the effort, the tempo and the urgency of the things we addressed post-scrimmage of the things we needed to work on.

"My biggest emphasis was effort and tempo and urgency. They certainly responded."

The Gators will have two-a-days again on Tuesday before single practices on Wednesday and Thursday. The Thursday practice will be open to the public, starting at 2:45 p.m. and being held at the Donald R. Dizney Lacrosse Stadium.

The next Florida scrimmage will be on Friday.

INJURY REPORT: There continues to be no news on running back Matt Jones. He is doing some cardio and still listed as out indefinitely. He's doing a little more activity every day, but as the season continues to draw closer, the concern grows about his stamina and strength for the season opener on August 31 against Toledo.

Muschamp knows Jones will be back at some point this year. He just isn't sure when that will be. Jones could even miss games.

"That may be a reality, but I don't know that," Muschamp said. "I talked to one of the doctors at Shands and he said when you're dealing with the human body, you never know. You don't know how he's going to respond and how quickly. He said the great thing is he's young and he was in great shape and it knocked him down a little bit but he's a guy who's going to respond very quickly."

Senior defensive tackle Damien Jacobs has a patella issue and should be back at some point next week. Senior defensive back Jaylen Watkins is expected back next week because of a sprained foot.

Junior fullback Hunter Joyer is dealing with a "pretty good" hamstring pull that he suffered on Sunday night. Muschamp said that he will "conservatively" miss 10 days.

Joyer is a big part of the offense

Senior right guard Jon Halapio (pec) won't return to contact for another 7-10 days. He's doing individual drills at practice but is limited from doing contact. Muschamp said his pec injury can be easily re-injured, so they're trying to keep him from dealing with it.

Redshirt junior Max Garcia (back) and redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Trip Thurman (shoulder) have both been cleared to participate in contact drills on Monday.

Freshman offensive lineman Rod Johnson had surgery to repair his meniscus and is expected back to practice in 3-4 weeks.

PURIFOY TO OFFENSE: The emergence of Fulwood and Robinson at wide receiver won't keep Loucheiz Purifoy from joining them soon. The junior has been strictly at cornerback through the first week of fall camp but will move to the offensive side to get some reps later this week.

The Florida staff had a meeting after Saturday's scrimmage to talk about the playmakers they trusted on offense, and they're ready to see if Purifoy can join that list.

"My question to our staff is who can you count on? Who can we win with? Who do you have confidence in? It's not always necessarily August 31," Muschamp said. "It's throughout the entire season and understanding that maybe some of the younger guys don't know what to do right now, but athletically they are guys we need to be coaching and developing for the season."

There's a trusted group at wide receiver so far, including some freshmen.

"Right now, the two young guys are the receiver position are Ahmad Fulwood and Demarcus Robinson -- two guys there is no question that are going to help our football team and improve our football team," Muschamp said. "I've been very pleased with Quinton Dunbar and Trey Burton. Those four guys and Solomon Patton. Those five right there have been productive and consistent in what they do and how they perform.

"You have Loucheiz and some of the other guys continuing to come on, and I think we'll have a good group."


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