Practice observations: 4/11

The Gators hit the field in The Swamp on Friday for an abbreviated practice serving as a walk through for Saturday's spring game. With the game happening on Saturday and no day of rest before it, Friday's practice was predictably less active than others with no hitting and the team on the field without pads.

That didn't keep them from getting some work in.

Without pads, the focus was on the passing game. The quarterbacks had inconsistent days. Jeff Driskel made some great throws while mixing in too many bad decisions for this late in spring. With Florida at the 10 yard line, he faked a run before lobbing a pass into a group in the end zone that fell incomplete.

Will Grier had a similar path on Friday. He struggled with some shorter routes, but threw a perfect deep ball to Raphael Andrades. It wasn't ideal because it was into double coverage, but the ball was still thrown perfectly and hit Andrades in the hands before it was knocked away by Nick Washington. Before that pass, there weren't many accurate ones from Grier.

Running back Adam Lane took a number of reps with the first team and was active in the passing game. Matt Jones and Brandon Powell also got their first work with the team during open practices.

Chris Thompson made some nice catches on Friday. It's easy to see how much better he has gotten since last season. The defensive backs play off him most of the time in one-on-ones, respecting his speed. But he also showed impressive hands on Friday.

The offensive line switched some players in and out. Max Garcia and Trip Thurman split reps at center. Trenton Brown slid into right guard with Tyler Moore moving to left guard. Right tackle Chaz Green and left tackle D.J. Humphries stayed the same. Antonio Riles opened practice at offensive guard and played there throughout most of the practice.

Pass coverage was a struggle for Michael Taylor last season. He looks like he has dropped some weight this season and has been much better in that area this spring.

Keanu Neal looked to be practicing at full speed on Friday. Florida coach Will Muschamp mentioned last week that it would be important for him and the young safeties to get on the field in the spring game, and it looks like that will happen. Neal has the look of a complete safety. He has the ideal size, isn't afraid of contact, and the speed is still there.

Watching him on Friday, he stayed stride-for-stride with most of Florida's receivers.


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