Before we get to what happened on the field, let’s be clear about what we’re going off. These observations are only from about a 20-minute section of practice that the media is allowed to watch. Plenty of things can change once the media is taken out of practice, but here’s what we saw on Thursday from two separate sessions of practice.
RETURNING PLAYERS PRACTICE
Will Grier took the first reps with the first team while Treon Harris worked with the second team. It’s probable that the two will swap during Friday’s practice, just as they did to open spring practice. Grier looked like the better passer during the open portions of the practice on Thursday. Both players misfired on throws down the field, as Quincy Wilson and Jalen Tabor both has pass breakups on deep balls from Harris and Grier overthrew an open McGee.
The big injury news was Antonio Morrison being on the field. Like all other players participating in practice, Morrison practiced in his jersey and shorts. He was able to jog across the field with only a slight limp. When the team went to pass skel drills, Morrison was on the field with Alex Anzalone as the linebackers with the first team. He’ll continue to be limited from contact, but he looked better than I anticipated going into Thursday.
On the offensive line, Mason Halter started practice as the left tackle while David Sharpe was at right tackle. Antonio Riles worked at right guard while Trip Thurman was the left guard. Cam Dillard lined up at center.
One player that stands out physically is Kelvin Taylor. He looks leaner than he played at last season and looks ready to go. This could be a big year for him, and he’ll have the opportunity to make it one.
It’s easy to take for granted how good Vernon Hargreaves III is. I was standing on the sideline about 10 feet away from him when he broke quickly on a throw and jumped in front of Brandon Powell to break up a pass. Seeing him on TV or from the press box doesn’t come close to doing it justice. His instincts are so good, and everything he does is so fluid. Enjoy your last year of watching him play in orange and blue.
The wide receivers did have a sloppy start to practice. While quarterbacks and receivers were working on the passing game against air, Demarcus Robinson started practice with a bad drop and heard about it from offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. A few reps later, there was confusion between Robinson and Grier about the route that should’ve been run and a pass fell incomplete.
Some older players went through this practice because it fit their class schedule better. Ahmad Fulwood, who had a final exam during the first practice, was the biggest name on the field with the newcomers.
The skill players were easy to spot during this practice. Running back is a hard position to get observations from when the players aren’t in pads, but it doesn’t take long to see how explosive Jordan Scarlett is with the ball. He jumps in and out of his cuts and gets up to top speed quickly. Jordan Cronkrite also showed good hands out of the backfield.
Players have been raving about receiver Antonio Callaway since he got on campus. Brandon Powell brought him up at SEC Media Days and Treon Harris was one of the many who brought him up at Florida’s Media Day on Wednesday. The size and speed are good enough to compete in the SEC, but he runs really smooth routes. He looks like a receiver that’s ready to help Florida this fall.
The looks test is all you can really use with the linemen, and they pass that. Martez Ivey, the five-star of the group, doesn’t look like his listed 300 pounds and holds the weight well. Brandon Sandifer looks every bit of his listed 357 pounds.