Muschamp optimistic about installation

When Florida finished its practice on Monday afternoon, Will Muschamp brought the group together with one message. He joked that the Florida defense has been working on installation for four years, since he took over as head coach. For the Florida offense, it had only been four days of installation. There's still a lot of room to grow, but Muschamp likes how the Florida offense looks this spring.

When Muschamp was doing interviews and trying to make a decision about his third offensive coordinator in four years, he knew what he was looking for. He wanted a coordinator that could bring an up-tempo approach to the offense with knowledge of how to utilize the strengths of the Florida roster.

Above all else, the goal was to simplify what was happening on the offensive side. When the Gators go into their no-huddle offense, there won't be time for extra words or a long play call.

"When you are a huddle team, you have more verbiage to make description for what everyone needs to do from up front in a run or pass protection, from a route concept, from a back route concept or run game concept," Will Muschamp said. "When you're in a no-huddle situation, you've got to make it fast. You've got to get on the ball. You're not going to be able to walk up and (say) "spider three sail." You can't make a lot of the verbiage on the line of scrimmage. You've got to make it quicker, more concise and the concepts are faster and easier to get to."

It's hard to judge the early returns on the Florida offense because they're facing off against a talented defense that knows what it's doing in its fourth year under Muschamp. However, the early returns are positive on the field and the players are having fun with what the Gators are doing with the ball.

Making it easier, Kurt Roper is comfortable in how to teach it. He's vocal on the practice field, never leaving a doubt to anyone in attendance where the offensive coordinator is. After seemingly every snap, Roper is walking through what went right and what went wrong with a different player, continuing the learning process.

"He's got a very good fundamental teaching method as far as his installation is concerned," Muschamp said. "In the interview process, one of the things that stood out to me was the simplistic ideas he has about the way we do things. Really a good teacher as concepts are concerned and our players have caught on really well. I've been really pleased. It dawned on me yesterday as I'm watching practice and I'm seeing us moving the ball, the confidence and tempo our guys are playing with and you're thinking about four days as opposed to four years (for the defense). That puts it all in perspective about where you are. I've been very pleased."

INJURY REPORT: Linebacker Neiron Ball sprained his MCL and will likely be held out of the remainder of spring practice. Muschamp said he could return but they'll likely hold him out until the fall since he's a veteran that doesn't need reps to learn the system.

Offensive lineman Rod Johnson suffered a head injury and should return Friday. Jordan Sherit hyperextended his elbow and should return on Monday in a non-contact jersey.

Darious Cummings' father had a procedure at UF Health, and the senior defensive tackle has been with him. His father is now doing well, and Cummings is back with the team.

THE SECOND CORNERBACK: After Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson left following their junior years, only Vernon Hargreaves is locked into a starting cornerback position. Brian Poole will likely start for Florida at the nickel when the Gators need him there, leaving the second cornerback spot open.

It could go to a freshman. Duke Dawson and Jalen Tabor have both been impressive in the first four practices this spring.

"(Tabor) and Duke Dawson both have been a quick study as far as the corner position is concerned. Both of them are going to be really good players," Muschamp said. "The willingness is there and the coachability is there with both guys. They're willing to be in the film room extra. They're willing to come up here after hours and meet with our coaches and go over things and go over schemes and watch film and learn from it.

Both freshmen also possess a similar quality to what Hargreaves showed up on campus with. They learn quickly and only have to be taught something one time before it sticks in their mind.

"They don't make that mistake again," Muschamp said. "To be a good player, that's part of it. They're both very talented. Jalen's got really good length on the line of scrimmage. Needs to do a better job in his press technique staying on the line of scrimmage, getting his hands on people -- that's his strength. And Duke's a guy that's playing corner and nickel and right now is battling Brian Poole for the starting job at nickel."

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