Thursday Night's Biggest Surprises

Fightin' Gators' Bob Redman and Cody Jones bring you a list of five things that surprised on the field Thursday night when the Gators opened practice to the public and media. Young and old Gators alike showed some things we weren't expecting, and here is our list of things that really made us take notice.

Brantley looks the part

A lot of times in recruiting, coaches will notice a player simply because that prospect looks like he can play, maybe without even seeing him on the field. True freshman Caleb Brantley was one of those guys in high school when he committed to Florida as a junior. Then he got a little lazy and out of shape through his senior year.

We were told that Brantley was one of only two Gators not to finish the 32, 110-yard runs in the adequate amount of time required for a defensive lineman. So, we were expecting a rotund loafer on the field.

Instead, Brantley looked the part for sure. He showed some quick burst, but when watching over time I could see he tired quickly and lacked real stamina. Still, he is getting there. He isn't fighting the getting in shape and he physically looks like he is trying to make a difference in his freshman season. --Bob

Patton won't be swept under the table

The biggest play for yardage in Thursday's scrimmage came on a 50-yard pass from Jeff Driskel right over the shoulder of Solomon Patton for a touchdown. Patton used to his speed to weave through the middle of the field and beat two defenders downfield to get open for the perfect throw from Driskel. He was more versatile in the one-on-one portion of practice, running different routes down the field and getting open.

The Gators trusted Patton mostly with shorter routes and jet sweeps last season, but it looks like that could be changing this fall. He'll still have his role on the offense that includes handoffs and short throws. This year he'll be a tougher challenge for defensive backs with a more versatile route tree. -- Cody

Ivie could ‘end' up being special

While watching the linemen exclusively, I quickly noticed one change in the unit. True freshman Joey Ivie was moved from tackle to defensive end. Now that is a surprise, but the better part of this is he looked really good on the field, especially in one on one's.

What you see out of Ivie is that he has a big time motor. Watching carefully while defensive line coach Brad Lawing instructed him, it was also easy to see that he picks up things rather quickly.

I like when a coaching staff doesn't fight the weight thing too much. If it was going to be difficult for Ivie to put on weight, don't force him too. Let him play a position where he can help you and let his body grow how it wants to naturally. That seems to be the case here.

Ivie is actually quite quick and has a good lean to him when he makes his move to the quarterback and through an offensive lineman in front of him. His relentless pursuit will pay off in a fast paced game. I wasn't expecting all of this out of a guy that was relatively quiet in the spring. – Bob

Dunbar living up to his jersey number? (#1)

The hype about Quinton Dunbar has been building for years, but it hasn't carried over to the field on Saturdays. The redshirt junior looked like he could be ready to carry it into the season with his performance on Thursday night. He made multiple catches in traffic or with a defensive back draped over him. Dunbar is more of a number two receiver ideally, but the Gators will lean on him to be the man in the passing game.

He may not have elite speed, but his route running makes a difference this year. Even going against Florida's top corner duo of Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson, Dunbar got open at will and Jeff Driskel was on the money with his throws. -- Cody

Is it Harrison or harassment?

Plain and simple, I thought Jonotthan Harrison had one of the more dominant practices, and maybe the most dominant practice I have seen from a center. Hyperbole you say? Well I put him last on this list for a reason. He was absolutely pummeling his competition on Thursday.

It did not matter who it was that lined up against him. He stoned star defensive tackle Dominique Easley several times. He took turns with all the other defensive linemen he faced.

A third year starter being a surprise you say? Well, when he played like that he was a hell of a surprise to me. He is just getting more chiseled in his body and his arms are getting bigger as well. Thursday night, Jonotthan Harrison looked like an all-American. He really played all-world. -- Bob


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