Practice Report: Passing game

The Gators worked on their passing game heavily during Monday's practice while dodging the rain showers. The quarterbacks had inconsistent days while showcasing the short passing game and taking a few errant deep shots. The installation of the offense under first-year coordinator Kurt Roper continues this spring.

Jeff Driskel had an average day. He continues to showcase his athleticism and that his leg is back to full health, moving outside the pocket and throwing on the run with ease just like he did before the injury. He still throws a pretty deep ball and has the arm for it, but he overthrew a wide open Chris Thompson 40 yards down the field late in practice after underthrowing Ahmad Fulwood earlier in practice.

The arm strength is there and he looks relatively accurate near the line of scrimmage, but he still hasn't looked like the players Florida needs him to be this fall.

Will Grier can throw on the run really well. Kurt Roper uses a drill where the quarterback takes a snap, throws while running to one side or the other, then runs straight up the field where he grabs another football from an assistant coach and makes a second pass on the same play. It's all about improving footwork, and Grier is fairly clean for a freshman.

Kelvin Taylor ran well on Monday. Even for a back without elite breakaway speed, he gets to the edge and has the athleticism to make tacklers miss.

The Gators have waited to get Hunter Joyer more involved in the running game, but even if that doesn't happen this year, it looks like he'll be more involved in the passing game. He's running more routes this spring than he has at any other point in his Florida career, and he looks like a natural pass catcher.

The passing game continues to feature passes at the line of scrimmage designed to get the ball in the hands of the playmakers. They've thrown these passes to basically every receiver on the roster, giving them all a chance to show what they can do.

Chris Thompson had another breakout day. The speed is real and he's consistently catching the ball this spring. Thompson even drew a pass interference call against Vernon Hargreaves, a difficult accomplishment. He showed the ability to get behind a defense late in practice when Driskel overthrew him, but the Gainesville native looks to be poised to get in the mix at the position.

Demarcus Robinson also had his best day of the spring. There's no questioning his ability with the ball in his hands.

Alvin Bailey ran a couple drag routes from the slot, getting the ball in his hands as fast as possible and letting him outrun people. Valdez Showers also ran similar routes, once running an out-and-up that beat the defense for a touchdown.

The secondary was led by its position coach on Monday. After Dante Fowler's pass rush forced Driskel out of the pocket, he threw the ball away and got it out of bounds but right into the hands of secondary coach Travaris Robinson. The former Auburn cornerback caught the ball, ran into fair territory and sprinted for the end zone with the starters in his secondary leading the way with blocks.

You don't need to read a practice report to know this, but Vernon Hargreaves is just on another level. He went up against Fulwood in one-on-ones, and the receiver didn't have his footing set after the ball was snapped. The play might as well have been over from there. Hargreaves threw him to the ground to eliminate any chance of him recovering, eliciting laugher and celebration from the Florida secondary. Meanwhile, Florida receivers coach Joker Phillips sent Fulwood to run after the play.

Outside of Hargreaves, it was safety Jabari Gorman that had the best day. He was everywhere, breaking up passes and delivering big hits, even though the Florida coaches emphasized players staying away from big hits.

Between Gorman and freshman cornerback Jalen Tabor, I felt like I was writing down "almost intercepted" all day. Tabor continues to flash tremendous ability and athleticism. He has all the makings of yet another elite cornerback to play at Florida.

Keanu Neal was limited with a hamstring issue he suffered on March 19. Because of that, redshirt freshman Nick Washington took plenty of reps. He moved all over the secondary and should make an impact in a similar way to what Jaylen Watkins did last season. Most of his time on Monday was spent at safety with Neal out, and he didn't disappoint. Washington might not have the size of Neal or Marcus Maye, but he isn't afraid to hit.

Marcell Harris had an up and down day. He made a great play in the last portion of practice, jumping a shorter route just in time to deflect the pass. On the next play, he didn't get to the sideline in time and received a long rant from Will Muschamp because of it.

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