Florida Head Coach JIm McElwain discusses ball security and the new faces standing out after the scrimmage.

GAINESVILLE, Fla.-- Jim McElwain saw a few players stand out during the Gators latest scrimmage. Who are the new faces standing out, and where does the team stand as the season draws near?

The Florida Gators held its second scrimmage last Friday, a scrimmage that produced some "good situations," but showed an area that needed some focus prior to the season. 

"We had some turnovers, which we’re obviously not excited about as far as the ball security piece. We had three of those in the scrimmage. We’ve got to get better at that," said UF head coach Jim McElwain. “We kind of misjudged throws that were thrown into coverage rather than take what the defense gives us in two of those cases."

The practice also allowed some players to stand out. 

Dre Massey, "I think the thing about him is his versatility to do a lot of different things. Everything from punt, to throw, to handle it carrying it out of the backfield. There’s a lot of different things and he’s one of those guys that you can use in a lot of different situation. That’s been a good thing.

"I thought our running backs really did a nice job as well, [Jordan] Scarlett... Lamical Perine really showed up. Some of the young guys got a lot of reps in the scrimmage," he said. "Defensively, I thought Jabari Zuniga is doing some really good things as are some other guys up front. Vosean Joseph is really showing up every time we go out there. That’s really good news from that standpoint, some of the young guys."

Medical Report

  • Jordan Cronkrite- the running back got banged up a bit during the scrimmage, however, should be back on Thursday-will miss Tuesday and Wednesday's practices. 
  • C.J. Worton (leg) should return by the end of this week. 
  • Andrew Mike-still out 
  • Martez Ivey and Alex Anzalone- McElwain has been pleased with both of their progress since returning from injury. 
  • Kalif Jackson continues to rehab. "He's there every day in the training room," he said,"and they're working him through the workouts there that he can do to maintain his stamina and the different things he needs to do on that leg."

Grading the Offensive Line

Although McElwain did not want to grade or quantify where the offensive line stands ahead of the season, the UF head coach is confident that the sack numbers that were "just unacceptable" last season will not be something that will repeated this year. 

"I don't see that as being as big an issue for us. It hadn't been in camp. I think we are markedly better at all the spots. And that has as much to do with guys that gained experience, gained a year of strength, knowledge as to what we're trying to accomplish," said McElwian.

He adds, "footwork wise, at times we're going sideways. We need to make sure that we're trying to control the line of scrimmage not let the line of scrimmage control us. But those are things we're working on."

Last season the line felt a bit depleted at times, lacking in numbers. This season, however, McElwain is pleased at the depth the team has. 

"I think we've got some answers even with Riles being down. So, you know, it's good. 'Wanny' is going to come in and help us, Sandifer has been doing a good job both at guard and at tackle. We should get Harkless back, and he was actually having a really good camp, but he should be back today. As you talk about some of the depth pieces there, a guy that we talked about early, T.J. McCoy, we don't talk a lot about him... size-wise he's not the biggest guy, but he does a great job of quickness off the ball and he's able to get underneath some guys' pads and play with pad level. Consistency in the snap is what we're looking for there, but we've got some options."

Special Eddy Pineiro

Eddy Pineiro stole the show during the spring game and during camp has been adjusting to the college game. 

"The big thing is has been his, we’ve talked about it, his pre-kick routine," said McElwain. "Making sure we’re on time with that. From a kickoff approach standpoint, he’s messed with a couple different things, as far as … we’ve talked about how he can be a weapon, not only by his distance obviously but really his hang time. He’s done a really good job of that with his approach. Both of those guys, both Johnny and him, are real weapons.”

According to McElwain, Pineiro has been pretty consistent on shorter kicks as well. 

“He’s been so far from what we’ve done, and then again there’s no way to simulate what it’s going to be like come game time. He needs to learn to adapt to that and go out and kick. With each time he’ll be able to get a little bit better as we go from there.”

Whats Next

The Gators have four practices this week, and they will use that time to help better prepare for game day and the start of the season. 

"Obviously, for us trying to do some things for acclimation for our bodies to game times," said McElwain. "We’ll get back to a 3:30 day on Thursday. As we move toward the weekend, we’ll give them Saturday off. Stretch and strut a little bit next day if we can. Start the UMass prep in full on that following Monday. That’s kind of where we’re headed that way.”

There are a few position competitions and position rotation that McElwain and company will keep an eye on this week. 

"I think narrowing down kind of wideout rotation a little bit and where that's going to fit, I think is going to be big," he said. "Finishing up this week, I think at the d-line, kind of looking rotation-wise how we're going to make sure we stay fresh and which of those parts go in there. With CeCe going a little bit inside obviously, but still being able to play some on the outside in some of our rabbit stuff. So I think that those are kind of the big pieces to me as far as kind of solidifying how we're going to do the rotation."


On Luke Del Rio:

"He definitely had a little bounce and that was good to see. A good part is kind of getting back to there, I talked about the ball security piece, but we actually had some really good explosives -- both in the run an the pass game -- and that was good to see. It was really good to see from a run standpoint getting into the second level and running through an inside arm tackle and getting some explosive runs that way. And we were able to put the ball down field. I thought we did a pretty good job in that standpoint, and Luke was a big piece of that."

On Lamical Perine

"Yeah, no doubt about it. And as we talk too, I want every one of these guys' mindsets that they're playing. They don't need to step in to, 'Well, I'm redshirting and not getting any better.' None of those things will be determined until after the fourth game anyway, so moving forward, I tell you what, he's a guy that runs with great pad level. He's slippery in there. I mean, guys bounce off him, and he's really strong, he's got a great stiff arm and he's done some really good things."

On Bryan Cox

“Not only is he out there in that but he’s also in a couple of our offensive short-yardage, goal line packages as a fullback and wing. So, you know, I’ll tell you what, you guys watch the games and he just plays the game and practices with such a sense of urgency, he doesn’t take plays off, it’s really important to him and he’s somebody our young guys have been able to look at and say this is how you go about your practice habits. He plays the game hard.”

On Johnny Townsend

“Well, I’ve said it. I think he arguably was one of the most valuable players on our team a year ago because of what he did by flipping the field with big kicks. Really, not being selfish to think about his average but pinning guys inside the 10. To force teams to go a long field, it’s because of what he did with his accuracy. He’s a real weapon.”




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