Kan Li / Scout

Gators' Spring Football Observations; March 16

Fightin’ Gators was on hand again at Florida’s spring practice Wednesday. The receivers had a good day at the start of practice and from what we were allowed to watch. Luke Del Rio was sharp again and not afraid to hit the deep guy on the day. Austin Appleby looked fine. There was a lot more to talk about.

I think to start off today I want to post sort of a play-by-play of the quarterbacks throwing to receivers with coverage from the DB’s. From that I will post the conclusions I came to.

Del Rio at QB…

Del Rio hits Goolsby on about a 20 yard corner route on the right side. Goolsby beat his defender and reached out with one hand to grab the pass.  The next pass from Del Rio was to Ahmad Fulwood on a slant on the left outside of the play. Quincy Wilson made a really nice break on the ball. Wilson looked early like he was having a good day with regard to his hernia recovery pain. Ahmad Fulwood with quick catch, this time along the left side and he gets up field on Duke Dawson in coverage. McArthur Burnett was beat on the offensive left side of the formation by Ryan Sousa on a 10-yard or so out-pass.  

2nd round…

Del Rio with a quick pass on the outside to Sousa again who beats Burnett again. Then he hits Hammond on the right side for about 10 yards. He then hit Worton for about 16 yards on a short corner, with McArthur in coverage. Sousa then had another short catch. Sousa has caught a lot today, nothing really long but catching the ball.

Austin Appleby at QB…

Kan Li / Scout
 Cyontai with a nice route, beats Nick Washington, Appleby hit the 16 yard pass. Good coverage and Appleby dumps the ball, and then he has to throw it away. A quick out to Cyontai and Anzalone covers, but catch by Cyontai for less than 5 yards.  Appleby dumps the ball to Herndon again.  Then Appleby hits Swain on the right side for maybe five yards.  Appleby hit Massey for about a 20-yard corner pass. Massey beat a couple of walk-ons on the relatively deep throw. Nice vision by Appleby there.

Kyle Trask with a couple of throws…

Trask throws too hard underneath and incomplete. Next pass a dump off to Herndon


Watching the QBs, Del Rio showed his comfort zone as the guy most consistently hitting the deeper passes. He made a couple of throws in pretty tight windows 16-20 yards downfield and at the sideline and was hitting different receivers. 

Appleby looked fine but either didn't have those same openings or didn't throw to those openings quite as often. As you can see above he did hit on a couple, but had more than his share of dump downs.

Trask didn’t throw much on the one field, but looked to dump down both times and according to Fightin’ Gators Jacquie Franciulli was off a bit on the far side of the field when given the chance.

The quarterbacks alternate and they work three of them more than the fourth in any given day. It was Feleipe Franks turn to not throw as much.  That said, when he did throw, Jacquie said he was much sharper throwing the ball than he had been. He did fumble the ball once and that didn’t go over very well.

It was a good day for the receivers.  We have to remember that they are still in the instillation period of spring and they are only running a few routes against a couple of different defenses. But this was the best day in terms of drops from the receivers, between Jacquie and I we saw only Cyontai Lewis drop one pass during the session.

The linebackers… 

After watching the throwing session, I traveled over to the other field and watched the linebackers. On my way over there they were running a drill where one linebacker would act as a RB out of the backfield and try to juke the coverage of another LB. 

Kan Li / Scout
 As I approached I saw senior Jarrad Davis make redshirt freshman Rayshad Jackson look silly on a juke move that had Davis going one way and Jackson the other. That was s teaching moment for linebacker coach Randy Shannon. 

Shannon took Jackson and showed him the proper stance and steps to take and what to watch. The Next rep through for Jackson and he got an atta-boy from Shannon 

The LB depth chart as they lined up Wednesday 

WLB - Anzalone, Kylan Johnson
MLB - Jarrad Davis, David Reese, Rayshad Jackson
SLB - Daniel McMillian, Matt Rolin

Running Backs… (From Franciulli)

Mark Thompson and Dre Massey worked with the second team today at running back and slot receiver respectively. Massey was working almost exclusively running the ball on Monday. Thompson has been very impressive-quick burst and physical.

Defensive Line (from Robert Kingsley)

One thing that was noticeable was Joey Ivie moving around pretty well. He wasn’t doing contact yet, but you can tell that his hernia situation is getting a lot better, just from stretch alone.

Bryan Cox lost battles to both starting offensive tackles in the few reps we were able to see. Sophomore Fred Johnson first got the most of the senior defensive end, and then junior David Sharpe did the same, smothering Cox on the rush.  Cox took out his frustrations on sophomore tight end Camrin Knight when he lined up across from the young guy.

As much as Keivonnis Davis has progressed, and they are starting to expect a lot, he lost the only battle we saw and with walk-on redshirt sophomore tight end Ryan Ferguson.

 Taven Bryan drew the most praise of the day from defensive line coach Chris Rumph. Bryan, a redshirt sophomore defensive tackle drove Antonio Riles deep into the backfield and was able to wrap up the moose of a running back in Mark Thompson for the tackle. Thompson went down and Rumph was excited to witness what his sophomore lineman just did.

In the lone rep we saw, redshirt junior defensive tackle Caleb Brantley got swallowed up by redshirt sophomore Kavaris Harkless who was working at guard.


Finally, sophomore defensive lineman CeCe Jefferson is starting to get a lot of work inside at the three-technique, but did get some action on the outside where he went toe to toe with massive tackle Sharpe. The two squared off and Sharpe was able to hold off the hard charging Jefferson to keep him from making his move.

It is a double edged sword here. The offensive line looked good here, but does that mean the defensive line struggled. My (Bob) take is that the offensive line has had so much ground to make up, if they are winning early battles against these defensive linemen, that I a really good sign.

Visitors at practice…

Florida’s Pro Scout Day is Tuesday and a few that we should be working out in the Indoor Practice Facility that day were out watching their former teammates practice. Vernon Hargreaves, Jonathan Bullard and Brian Poole stayed until the very end and left when practice was over.

One big time prospect for the future was also on hand. Gators’ receiver commit Daquon Green got to see his future teammates work out. 

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