Week two review: Gators’ offense

After two weeks of fall camp, the Florida offense is starting to turn the corner.

QUARTERBACK: There hasn’t been much of a change in the quarterback race. Florida coach Jim McElwain continues to say there is no separation at the position. However, it still looks like Will Grier will be the Florida starter. Both quarterbacks bring strengths to the table, but Grier has more of them. Harris’ athleticism makes him a candidate to still have a role in the Florida offense, but Grier seems almost certain to be the starting quarterback.

The difference between the two is most notable on throws down the field or to the sideline. Harris’ ball seems to float more and be less accurate. Grier has shown an impressive command of the offense and is putting the ball on the money more often than not.

Some of the players and McElwain have also talked about Josh Grady. The Gators needed some depth at the position behind Grier and Harris, and Grady looks capable of providing it.

RUNNING BACK: Kelvin Taylor might be the most improved player on the Florida offense from what we’ve seen and from what players and coaches have said. He dropped some weight and noticeably leaner this fall, which seems to have given him that extra step that was missing in recent years. McElwain and players raved about his performance in the team’s first scrimmage, and he looks ready to handle the position.

Taylor’s jump comes at a perfect time considering what’s going on behind him. There isn’t much depth at the running back position, but both freshmen are turning heads.

Jordan Scarlett looks really good, showcasing his size and speed combination. Physically, he’s ready to handle the load as the second-team running back in an offense that will not ask one back to carry the ball 30+ times.

It’s hard to call Jordan Cronkrite a surprise since he was an Army All-American, but he didn’t have the hype Scarlett did. Some defensive players have even mentioned Cronkrite before Scarlett, pointing to his decisiveness when he hits the hole. Cronkrite also looks like a natural catching passes out of the backfield.

WIDE RECEIVER: The Gators are going to try to create mismatches with their pass catchers, especially Brandon Powell and Demarcus Robinson. They’ll be the two defenses lock in on during their preparation. To combat that, Florida will use them in different spots on the field. They challenged Robinson to learn the offense in-depth during the offseason so he could do that and have a big season. He played mostly as an outside receiver last year but won’t be easy to track if an opposing defense tries to shadow him with their best cornerback. Ahmad Fulwood seems set to be the third starting receiver.

The player that seemed ready to breakout was C.J. Worton. A leg injury halted that, and while McElwain will only say it won’t be a lengthy injury, there’s still no word on when he’ll return. Florida needs to continue developing playmakers at the receiver position because there aren’t enough on the roster.

TIGHT END: This is the position that seems to be coming on the most at the midpoint in fall camp. Jake McGee didn’t get to showcase his talent in games last year, but his performance in open practices last fall and this fall make him look like someone ready to challenge for the team lead in receptions. He is a difference maker and an important part of an offense that will led by a young quarterback.

The surprise has been in those around him. Coaches and players for their play are singling out all DeAndre Goolsby and C’yontai Lewis, and they all should get on the field this fall. The challenge comes in finding enough snaps and ways to be creative with the tight end depth. McElwain even singled Moral Stephens out for his recent performance. There is depth at this position.

OFFENSIVE LINE: There are still two likely starters that are locked in at this point. It’s David Sharpe and Trip Thurman, but there still isn’t clarity on where they’ll line up. Sharpe is flipping between both tackle spots and will start at one of them while Thurman is seeing time at left guard and center.

It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that word of Martez Ivey’s emergence started to come out at the same time McElwain brought up the possibility of Mason Halter playing guard or tackle. If Ivey can handle the load of a starting tackle in the SEC, it gives the Gators some actual depth inside. Fellow freshman Tyler Jordan should see extended time on the interior, and Antonio Riles continues to be mentioned as someone that will have a big role.

The offensive line seems to be in better position at the midpoint in fall camp than it looked over the summer. The Florida staff has done a great job of rebuilding the numbers at the position and it looks to be in good shape in the future. The challenge will be finding the right mix to piece it together this fall.


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