Gators' practice observations: 8/27

An hour after Jim McElwain announced that both quarterbacks would play in the season opener, neither was sharp on the practice field.

Thursday was not a banner day for the Florida quarterbacks. Two of the three periods open to the media were positional drills, so the team was only doing offense vs. defense in one period. During that one period, it wasn’t pretty. Treon Harris mostly threw dump down passes, and even two of those were broken up. Will Grier wasn’t much better, overthrowing an out route to C.J. Worton that was well ahead of his receiver.

After looking strong during the open portion on Tuesday, Luke Del Rio looked like a different person on Tuesday. Duke Dawson jumped a corner route for an interception, and on the next rep, Del Rio was almost intercepted by Florida safety Marcus Maye.

The running backs didn’t do much during the portions open, but it’s clear that Jordan Cronkrite is the most comfortable of the scholarship backs when it comes to catching the football. He has really soft hands and runs good routes out of the backfield.

Demarcus Robinson and Brandon Powell were the two receivers that stood out the most, which has been a theme this fall. Powell’s route running has improved a lot since the spring and Robinson is still a natural at everything he does. While drops have been an issue for the Florida receivers and plagued Robinson last season, his hands have actually looked good during the open portions of camp.

As the portion of practice that the media was allowed to watch came to a close, the offense was working on a few two tight end formations. Everything we’ve seen looks like the Gators will lean on their tight ends.

The offensive line had a new look after Martez Ivey, who has served as the first team left tackle, was out with a leg injury. David Sharpe played left tackle with Mason Halter moving to right tackle. Trip Thurman was the left guard, Cam Dillard was the center and Antonio Riles was the right guard.

Florida offensive line coach Mike Summers had to get on Sharpe during positional drills to practice at the same speed the rest of his teammates were.

Just like the offensive line, the defensive line went through positional drills during the entire portion of practice open to the media.

Alex Anzalone has looked really good in coverage this fall. Florida will lean on him whether Antonio Morrison is healthy or not, but it was clear on Thursday that he can be trusted in coverage. He even jumped a short Harris throw for a pass breakup, causing Jim McElwain to yank Harris out of the drill immediately.

In the secondary, the Gators have to move people around. Keanu Neal remains out with a leg injury and Marcus Maye is suspended for the first game. Brian Poole has worked there some. Nick Washington actually had a good day on Thursday. He had two pass breakups and looked comfortable covering receivers.

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