Gators practice observations: 8/10

The pads went on for Florida on Monday afternoon for the first time this fall.

While Will Grier has spent most of the time with the first team in portions of the practice open to the media, he was working with the second team on Monday. Treon Harris worked with the starters, and after struggling during the first week of the fall, he continued to do so Monday.

Harris simply hasn’t been accurate enough in the portions of practice that have been open to the media. He has floated throws to his receivers, often times ending up intercepted. During one portion of Monday’s 11-on-11 work, Brandon Powell was lined up in the slot and ran straight up the middle of the field. The outside receiver ran a post route, giving Harris two options to throw to on the same side of the field. His throw wobbled through the air and would have landed in the middle of the two receivers if Marcus Maye didn’t intercept it.

If you just watch the two quarterbacks to see who can get the ball out faster, it gives a clear picture of Grier’s advantage. He has been decisive with a quick release and has been more accurate than Harris this fall. That continued on Monday, and even though Grier didn’t look as sharp as he did during the open portions of Saturday’s practice, he still had a good day and throws a mostly catchable ball. He’ll still have one throw every once in a while that is a wobbler that goes behind the intended receiver, but those throws have drastically decreased since the spring.

The Gators also began the installation of some plays from the pistol formation. They hadn’t worked on the formation during the open part of practice at all before Monday.

The three starting receivers were Ahmad Fulwood, Brandon Powell and Demarcus Robinson. Powell even took some reps at running back during position drills, splitting his time between the two positions. The standout, besides the three starters, was C.J. Worton. He hasn’t looked like a burner this fall, but he has enough speed to get by and has made some nice catches. He should work his way into the rotation this fall.

The first team offensive line was the same as the first day of practice. Florida went with Mason Halter at left tackle and David Sharpe at right tackle. Trip Thurman was at left guard with Antonio Riles at right guard, and Cam Dillard continued to start at center.

On defense, Caleb Brantley didn’t waste time showing off for what could be a breakout season. The redshirt sophomore had multiple standout plays, and they all happened because of his quickness. He gets off the ball in a flash and looked like he surprised a few offensive linemen by how quickly he got through them. He was the best defensive lineman on the field during the 20 minutes that were open to the media.

Randy Shannon wasn’t exactly happy with his group of linebackers on Monday. During positional drills, he sent Matt Rolin off the field for messing something up. Shannon has been easy to hear from anywhere on the field this fall.

Antonio Morrison continues to look good on the field. He still not participating in contact drills but doesn’t look to be hampered when running around with his brace. There was even one portion of pass skel drills when he shut down Fulwood, sending the entire defense into a celebration after Grier was forced to tuck the ball and run with it.

Maye had a great day at safety. His interception against Harris was the highlight, but both he and Neal have been good in coverage this fall. I thought the two safeties improved in coverage as the season went on last season, and it looks like they’ve built on that. With the stout cornerbacks on this team, the Florida secondary looks like a really good group.

It’s also probably important to remember that when reading and watching Grier and Harris in camp. The secondary they’re facing every day will be as good or better than any secondary they’ll see this fall.

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