Notebook: Depth concerns overblown

Will Muschamp made it clear on Monday that the depth on the offensive and defensive lines aren’t much of a concern anymore. The Gators have enough bodies on the line of scrimmage, but the concern comes in that not much of it is proven.

The fall has helped the depth continue to grow. Second-year defensive linemen Jay-nard Bostwick, Caleb Brantley and Joey Ivie had all showed consistent growth, and with Alex McCalister being a trusted piece off the edge at defensive end, the second team defensive line looks a lot better than it did before camp.

The offensive line has improved, too. Roderick Johnson looks to be the first tackle off the bench, and Trip Thurman will be the first player off the bench at the inside positions on the offensive line. Add in a freshman like David Sharpe, who will miss the next week with a high ankle sprain, and the depth is much better than it was before the fall.

“We don’t have depth issues on the offensive and defensive line,” Will Muschamp said on Monday. “We have depth that doesn’t that have experience on the offensive and defensive line. We have good depth. We’ve got 15 scholarship offensive linemen. We’ve got 16 scholarship defensive linemen.”

Muschamp said that Johnson that played his best football in Friday’s scrimmage. Drew Sarvary moved inside to center and could be the backup at the position now. Muschamp called his play a “pleasant surprise” at center.

The young defensive linemen have really come on. When asked if he could single out one player that has improved the most this fall, the first player Muschamp mentioned was McCalister. Going into camp, the Florida coaches were prepared to rep Neiron Ball at the BUCK position, just in case something happened to Dante Fowler.

After they saw the progress from McCalister, they no longer thought it was necessary.

“He’s been a guy that’s been a steady performer through camp,” Muschamp said. “He’s played the run very well and very pleased with him.”

Bostwick has improved “tremendously” after working on his lower-body flexibility.

FOUR LINEBACKERS: There’s a clear top four at the linebacker position Ball, Jarrad Davis, Antonio Morrison and Michael Taylor. Since Florida spent 70-80 percent of the time in the nickel last season, that leaves two open linebacker spots on the field. Deciding which two get a majority of the playing time will be tough.

“I think Jarrad Davis played probably the best scrimmage as far as production is concerned,” Muschamp said. “Mike Taylor has been very good. Antonio Morrison has been very good. And Neiron Ball.”

Alex Anzalone is starting to make a move towards playing time. He played as a freshman last season but was held out of the spring with a shoulder injury. Fall camp has given him a chance to improve.

“I’ve been pleased with how Alex Anzalone is coming on,” Muschamp said. “He’s playing both Sam and Mike. But he’s been able to be a guy that has stepped in there and proved much from the first scrimmage to the second.”

PUNTER BATTLE: The Gators haven’t made any decision about the starting punter, and the battle between Kyle Christy and Johnny Townsend will continue into this week of practice. However, Muschamp did say on Monday that Christy has been the most consistent punter in practice.

"We still haven't made a decision," Muschamp said.

If Christy does win the job, Muschamp said they have talked about using a redshirt for Townsend this year to save an extra year of eligibility.

RECEIVER DEPTH STANDING OUT: Florida receivers have made plays this fall, with Ahmad Fulwood breaking out and Demarcus Robinson showing signs of reaching his potential. Senior Quinton Dunbar can play multiple positions -- Muschamp said on Monday he could slide inside to the slot position if needed.

But the other receivers are turning heads, too.

Muschamp pointed to Valdez Showers and Latroy Pittman as two that have made plays in the slot, and freshman C.J. Worton is proving he can handle playing time this fall.

"C.J. Worton is going to be a good player for us,” Muschamp said. “He makes a lot of plays inside. He's a guy that's going to continue to learn the offense. He's really quick footed guy. He can stick his foot in the ground and change direction. He's got the guts to go across the middle and make plays, as do Latroy and Valdez.”

GOOLSBY WILL CONTRIBUTE: Freshman tight end Deandre Goolsby will get on the field this fall. He early enrolled in the spring and took those 15 practices to get used to the speed of college football. This fall, he looks much more comfortable and could make an impact this year.

"We think he'll contribute for us,” Muschamp said. “How much will depend on how we continue to progress through this week and next and the production from the position. But I've been very pleased with DeAndre, a guy that went through spring. So from an assignment standpoint, he's got a pretty good handle on what he's doing. I've been pleased."


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