New defensive backs coach Torrian Gray has plenty of talent to work with and it starts with Jalen Tabor.
Tabor was all over the field on day one of spring practice, never a step behind his coverage assignments, and appeared to be quick in his hips and feet. In between drills, Tabor started assuming the leadership role – previously held by Vernon Hargreaves III – by coaching players and leading defensive back drills.
In short, Jalen Tabor looks NFL-ready heading into his third season at Florida.
Quincy Wilson and Duke Dawson took turns in the second DB spot opposite Tabor during the Gators’ first-team drills. Both will be expected to make plays in the defensive backfield this upcoming season.
The edge at the moment seems to go to Wilson due to his size advantage, but Dawson looked equally as good.
At safety, Marcus Maye and Nick Washington started for the first team.
Both players appeared to be bigger and faster than they were last year – Washington especially.
On one specific play, Washington read Austin Appleby's eyes perfectly, jumped the slant route and picked off Del Rio’s pass.
If Washington can continue to play at a high level and keep improving, then the Gators should not have any big questions in their secondary.
A lot seems to be expected of Gardner. Despite his impressive practice, coach Gray did not hold back on critiquing Gardner’s fundamentals.
Chris Williamson and Marcell Harris also saw second-team reps and proved that the Gators are very deep in the secondary. Harris drew compliments from coach Gray after catching a pass thrown too high, showing off his athletic ability.
With day one in the books, it’s clear that the sky is the limit for Florida’s defensive backs.