Practice observations: Passing game (8/12)

The battle for the backup quarterback job hasn’t provided any answers over one week into fall camp, but Treon Harris had his best day on Tuesday.

The best quarterback on the field hasn’t changed this fall. It’s Jeff Driskel, and he had another good day on Tuesday. He’s playing smart. He knows when to take shots and has shown consistently improved touch down the field in camp.

There are still times where he’ll sail the ball on a short route, but for the most part, his accuracy has improved this fall. He hit multiple deep throws to Ahmad Fulwood on Tuesday and the built in chemistry with Quinton Dunbar is still there.

Behind Driskel, it has been a jumbled mess this fall. Will Grier, Treon Harris and Skyler Mornhinweg have all had their moments, but Grier has probably been the best of the backups so far. The two freshmen both played well on Tuesday, but it was Harris who was the best and had his best day of the entire camp.

He was confident and throwing lasers all over the field. The freshmen took their non-contact jerseys off about halfway through practice, and Harris was impressive with his legs. He took three snaps in the wildcat formation in 3rd and 5 situations, and all three were converted for first downs. Harris also showed a good connection with redshirt freshman Alvin Bailey on the second team.

Grier threw the ball well on Tuesday. He still has times where he needs to show more touch, especially on the short throws. Down the field, he’s more accurate than you’d expect for a player that has been on the team since the spring.

At receiver, Ahmad Fulwood was the most impressive on the team for the second straight day. He was a possession receiver for Florida last season, but this fall, he’s showcasing the skillset to be someone that stretches the field and serves as a deep threat for the Gators.

The reason is his body control. Fulwood and Driskel have shown an impressive connection, especially on back shoulder throws down the field. Fulwood has had success by running his route, jumping and turning his body in the air to catch the throws on his back shoulder. There isn’t much a cornerback in man coverage can do as long as it’s executed well.

Quinton Dunbar had the highlight of the day. He caught a fade from Mornhinweg in the back of the end zone, catching at the highest point of his jump and falling into the back corner of the end zone.

Demarcus Robinson didn’t have as many highlight catches on Tuesday, but he was still a lot of fun to watch. He does drills at a different speed and did make one impressive catch on a deep ball from Driskel over tight coverage by freshman Quincy Wilson.

Alvin Bailey and Treon Harris had a noticeable connection. Will Muschamp said on Monday that the freshman had to make a transition last season after playing mostly quarterback at Armwood High School, and they like that he’s coming on this fall. Harris looked for him multiple times in practice.

For the second straight day, the offense has also run a receiver screen to Valdez Showers. He has a great skillset for the play, but it wasn’t blocked well on Tuesday, and Marcus Maye blew it up.

It was a quiet day for the Florida tight ends. Jake McGee is still the best at the positon and should be the starter. Hunter Joyer also got some reps with the tight ends, and Kurt Roper likes his hands.

The Florida secondary seems pretty set at this point. Florida will run 70-80 percent nickel, so the nickel spot has basically become a starting job. With that in mind, the cornerbacks look to be Vernon Hargreaves III and Brian Poole. Marcus Maye is the starting nickel with Jabari Gorman and Keanu Neal at safety.

It’s not a lock at this point, but it’s the grouping that makes the most sense based off how the Gators are lining up in practice.

Hargreaves returned to the practice field on Tuesday, but he was in a non-contact jersey and spent most of the in the pit with other injured players.

Poole is getting comfortable outside at cornerback after seeing most of his time at nickel in the last two years. The goal was to give him a chance out at the position, and he’s handling it well.

Freshman cornerback Quincy Wilson continues to impress. The first thing that jumps out about him is the size. He’s listed at 6-1 but almost looks bigger than that on the field. He’s physical at the line and plays aggressive when the ball is in the air. He was inches away from having two interceptions on back-to-back plays, drawing applause from Muschamp.

Nick Washington had an interception during one-on-ones, coming one day after a dropped interception during the live part of practice on Monday. He got banged up near the end of practice.

Freshman J.C. Jackson remains in a non-contact jersey, and it’s pretty clear he isn’t a fan of it because of how physical he plays. He’s going to make an immediate impact this fall.

Fall camp has not been kind to Jalen Tabor. He has the size to play right away, but he is struggling in coverage. Fulwood blew by him untouched off the line early in practice for a long touchdown. Muschamp was angry about Tabor’s decision making on Monday, and he struggled again on Tuesday.

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