The last time we saw Gavin Dickey in scrimmage situation he was pressing his way to a poor showing in the Orange and Blue game. After a strong first week in practice he draws the first team for Wednesday's scrimmage. Dickey has been consistent in his decision making and has connected on some big plays. He throws a nice "catch-able" ball and will look to show the skeptics he has the confidence to move the offense. He should be able to get some help with the running game and the addition of Max Starks at guard and Tavarus Washington at tackle. We all know how important first impressions are so Dickey must perform well.
The defensive line will be under the gun in the scrimmage, especially against the run. While the offense looks like it will be able to run the ball on the backups the starting rotation at defensive tackle (Kenny Parker, Ronald Dowdy, Maurice Mitchell) need to provide some resistance. Look for the defense to be extra "hyped" for this scrimmage to try and get the fall off to a "Strong" start.
The corner opposite Keiwan Ratliff will get a long look with UF playing a lot of nickel during the scrimmage. There will be scripted situations with base personnel but for the most part as many as three corners will be on the field at one time. This will be where the cream rises to the top and I would not be surprised to see one of the contenders rise up and have a big scrimmage. The defense needs to get more turnovers this year and it starts with the experienced secondary.
Special teams protection on punts and field goals will also be closely monitored as coaches try to ready their guys for the fall. Eric Wilbur will get his first taste of simulated action while Matt Leach (who has been very impressive) will get an opportunity to shine.
I expect the offense will look it's best in the hurry up and no huddle offense. This tends to wear defenses out especially if they are running the ball well. It will be interesting to see if they can run it in the endzone when they get down in the red area. Even in the spring in which they dominated the line of scrimmage they did not run it in with regularity. The red zone passing game however is much improved and Ben Troupe will be the number one option.
When evaluating the quarterbacks remember a lot more goes into it than completions and touchdowns. They must get the team into the right play and formation, then make the right reads. From there, they must execute the play by delivering under duress. Quarterbacks also are evaluated on their ability to quickly digest Offensive Coordinator Ed Zaunbrecher's no huddle offense and handle adversity when protection breaks down. But the most important aspect of the first scrimmage is to avoid turnovers. This defense is not good enough (yet) to absorb sudden field position changes and the quarterback who takes care of the ball best will get the nod.
Snippetts and Tidbits?
Mo Mitchell and Sylvester McGrew have been working after practice along with Marcus Thomas on extra conditioning to get themselves in better shape.
David Kenner has worked hard to become a better receiving threat behind Ben Troupe and Dwayne Dixon has logged a lot of time with him early in camp.
Jonathon Colon has surprisingly looked very agile and his back seems to be holding up pretty well. Keep an eye on him in the scrimmage to see if he keeps coming along.
I mentioned Kelvin Kight the other day and his improvement. He ran a 4.3 40-yard dash and benched 425 in the strength tests. Now if he can just translate that into plays on the field.
When the quarterbacks go with the second and third teams they would be well advised to play within themselves and let the plays come to them. Gavin's emergence as a possible starter against San Jose State may come down to his legs and his running ability. When he chooses to run and not force throws may be as important as anything.
The addition of the new defensive backs has improved Keiwan Ratliff's play in the secondary. Ron Zook said that Keiwan is playing more physical than he has ever played before. He might be watching Matt Jackson and Demetrice Webb knocking guys around.
There are plenty of players to watch in the scrimmage and probably more than I could write about, but keep an eye on Channing Crowder and Taurean Charles at the linebacker spots. I think you will see both guys playing meaningful snaps in the San Jose St. game.
Stat of the week: 47-17
Out of the 110 schools in major conferences (no independents) 47 coaches have a losing record at that particular school and 17 are first year coaches. Ron Zook is not one of them.