The quarterback position is the one everyone is most interested and very well should be. Everything I have heard is that Feleipe Franks is way ahead of Kyle Trask through the spring and as I mentioned the other day, I was surprised that Jim McElwain actually admitted that there has been separation at the position. As I also said, he didn’t say who was leading.
I don’t expect McElwain to name a quarterback until possibly two weeks before the first game, certainly by a week before the first game.
Luke Del Rio is doing the rehab work on the sideline at practice, so he is working toward returning. There are some that believe that won’t happen. I think that way sometimes, but not at the moment.
Do I think that Del Rio could get the job back? Yeah, it could happen. I don’t anticipate that happening, but I do believe he wasn’t himself even in the North Texas game because of a shoulder injury and I believe we will have to see how he is throwing when he does come back. I do believe that Franks will be the guy.
I also think that most around the program believe that former Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire will be coming to Florida and all the red tape will get worked out. I full believe that Florida is his wanted destination, so waiting on the SEC to overturn their rule and for him to pass the GRE.
At running back, while Jordan Scarlett is the leader of the pack, Mark Thompson has lived up to the billing so far this spring for running back coach Ja’Juan Seider. He finished the season certainly third among the three guys that finished the year, I think now he may have moved ahead of sophomore Lamical Perine.
Honestly, it shouldn’t be considered a bad thing. The competition is fierce here and there is talent all over the place. Definitely the best this position has been in a while at Florida.
I think there are a couple of things that stick out to me at receiver from the spring. The first is the play I hear about all the time of sophomore Josh Hammond. I think he is about to break out this season in a big way. He has gotten himself in a position to play any receiver spot on the field and he can do all of them well. He is very intelligent and doesn’t make mistakes, but he’s also a play maker. Again it is another very talented position on the field for Florida and will get better when Freddie Swain returns in the fall.
The other thing I am really encouraged about is the way that junior Dre Massey looks only a half year removed from an ACL tear. He hasn’t had contact, but he moves like nothing ever happened. That wasn’t expected to me.
The biggest drawback has been drops by sophomore Tyrie Cleveland. Definitely fixable, but he has to continue to work hard on it, and I do hear he does work hard.
Don’t know what to think at tight end other than freshman Kemore Gamble is going to be a really good pass catching threat. He has good size now, but does need to add some weight to be effecting blocking. The other positive is that Moral Stephens has really stepped up his game. I have said since his arrival that he has more positive physical traits than any of them, now he is starting to utilize those in the eyes of the coaching staff. He will be a guy that wasn’t expected to contribute that will.
On the offensive line I think there are three spots that could swing any of a few different ways in the fall. I believe both tackle spots are pretty much set. Fred Johnson would likely be the third tackle, but he is far behind the two starters at this point.
The four possible moving parts in the middle are juniors Tyler Jordan and Fred Johnson, redshirt sophomore TJ McCoy, and redshirt freshman Brett Heggie. I don’t think either of the guard spots or center for that matter are set in stone right now.
Jordan has been getting a lot of work at center and I don’t think that is an accident. McCoy is a favorite, but he has his limitation with his size and foot quickness. Johnson has really improved his attitude in the last few weeks. He is starting to get on the good side of things with the staff. Heggie has made a lot of improvement and is on the upswing. I still think Jordan is the most solid of the guards, but if getting the best group on the field means playing him at center, that is what could happen.
The worst thing is that there aren’t more bodies working in the mix right now. Nick Buchanan to a certain extent, but behind those already mentioned. Nobody else but Johnson behind the starting tackles at this point.
They get Antonio Riles back in the fall, they add freshman TJ Moore, and Kavaris Harkless might be able to make some noise. They need to get 8-9 guys ready to go.