Muschamp reviews scrimmage

Florida was supposed to go through its first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday before a lightning delay cut it short. The weather helped the coaching staff simulate what it could be like in the fall if one of the team's games is delayed by lightning, but it forced the scrimmage reps to be pushed into Monday's practice. Florida coach Will Muschamp was happy with how the scrimmage went.

The intrigue for the Florida coaches was built around what would happen when they got off the field. When the Gators walk through drills and even the 11-on-11 potions of non-scrimmage focused practices, the assistants coaches usually stand behind the quarterback to keep a close eye on what happens on the field. When the play ends, the coaches rush to the field and help correct errors being made. Sometimes they're even close enough for the players to hear them yelling in the middle of the play.

The scrimmage reps avoid that.

It throws the players on the field without help from the sidelines. It usually creates more problems for the young players on the field, and that was the case again during the scrimmage reps on Saturday and Monday.

"Typical first scrimmage situations from Saturday and Monday, young players breakdowns in fundamentals, eye control and technique when the coaches aren't out there," Will Muschamp said. "It's a little different when you have a third-down portion of practice or a red zone portion of practice or a 1st-and-10 portion of practice and it's scripted and the kids kind of understand and know those situations.

"Now you get off the field and a new offense, (the defense was) missing some signals, a lot of the communication issues you would think you would have."

Saturday's portion of the scrimmage had the Gators walking through third-down situations, one-minute drills and red zone work. Monday's time was spent setting the offense at its own 20 and letting them go as far as it could.

The most important part of the scrimmage was to get the youth on the field and see how they reacted. Even though it came with mixed results, Muschamp was happy to have the first scrimmage out of the way.

"Very young at safety," Muschamp said. "You're inexperienced at one of the cornerback slots. We have some young defensive linemen. They need to get out of their own and play. Same thing with some young offensive linemen, but we're installing the whole offense. We need as many opportunities for those guys to play on their own."

The most positive part of the Florida offense came in the lack of procedural issues. For an offense being installed under first-year offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, it came as a surprised. The Florida coaches have maintained throughout the spring that they're optimistic about how well the installation is going, but for an offense that struggled to get lined up properly and false starts last season, having zero of those in two days of scrimmage snaps is an important step forward.

The next step is an improved tempo. The offense, for as fast as the coaches want it to go, still didn't go with the speed necessary. However, the tempo the offense used still managed to cause issues for the Florida defense.

"Tempo on both sides of the ball needs to pick up," Muschamp said. "Offensively, getting the ball to the official, getting the ball spotted and have a ‘spot the ball' mentality and getting the next snap off. We need to put more pressure on our defense.

"Our defense needs to handle and respond better to the tempo, especially our young defensive linemen of understanding getting aligned, getting the call, all those things that a hurry-up offense creates angst with, we did not handle very well defensively. Atrocious tackling for leveraging the ball, being in the right spots. Those are all things we need to improve on."


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