After a rather light practice yesterday the team went at it hard for about 2 hours today. There was little work in position drills, as the team mostly worked in scrimmage. The focus was on situational plays today, such as various 3rd down and distances, goal line, red zone as well as putting the offense in the shadow of it's own goal line. There was also some special teams work.
The defense won the scrimmage which is to be expected in the spring. The way the scrimmage played out may prove to be some positive signs for next year's Gator team.
Defensively, John Thompson's unit made a lot of plays. The interesting thing with this defense is the fact that more than one or two players will be featured. Bobby McCray has been unblockable. He has been awesome and will be an all SEC player next year. Ian Scott has been a huge player and continues to impress, but his backup Arpedge Rolle had a great scrimmage and played well in the 3-3 formation that Thompson likes to use. He will be a contributor. The linebackers played well and if there was one sore spot it was the secondary. Keiwan Ratliff was burned by Taylor Jacobs and the safeties blew some assignments.
Offensively Rex Grossman looked good and as usual forced some throws due to a lack of options. The offensive line finally competed and had there best practice from a competitive standpoint. The blitzes are still too much for the backup OL that QB Ingle Martin had to work with. The running backs did not do much. Aaron Walker made some nice catches. Reggie Vickers is emerging as the number 3 or 4 receiver. Carlos Perez (still not 100%) made some great catches. The offense as whole struggled but the bright spots were Vickers, Jacobs and Grossman.
GOAL LINE WORK
The team first worked on goal line situations where the offense managed 2 touchdowns on 5 possessions. The 2 scores came on a QB bootleg by Rex Grossman and a 2 yard Creveling pass to walk on TE Darrell Carpenter. The defense was stiff against the run allowing only 12 yards on 9 attempts, as well as forcing a fumble on an Ingle Martin option pitch.
SPECIAL TEAMS WORK
The kickers then got in some work on field goals with walk-on Jeff Whitaker going 2-3, hitting from 42 and 47 yards. Brendt Talcott was 1-2, hitting from 47 yards. His 42 yard attempt was blocked. Matt Leach went 1-2 as well, hitting from 47.
3rd DOWN SITUATIONS
3rd DOWN SITUATIONAL STATS
The team then worked on various 3rd down situations. The defense was once again stiff against the run. Marcus Oquendo Johnson had 2 sacks in this set with Todd McCullough and Ian Scott also collecting one apiece. The offense only managed 2 first downs in 13 attempts.
Passing: Grossman 1-5 18 yards, Martin 0-2 0 yards, Creveling 0-3 0 yards.
Rushing: Graham 1 carry for 2 yards; Carthon 1 carry for 3 yards. .
FULL FIELD SCRIMMAGE
After 3rd down drills they went into full field scrimmage, with down and distance being kept, and in some instances 2 minutes drills. The offense got untracked a little bit scoring on 3 of 13 possessions. Rex Grossman led all the scoring drives. Grossman scored on 3 of his 7 possessions. The highlight was a 79 yard TD bomb to Taylor Jacobs. Jacobs also caught another score from 10 yards out. The defense was still stiff against the run with no real highlights in the running game to speak of, and got after the QB's much of the night. They also forced a Ran Carthon fumble and Larry Kendrick had the lone interception of the day, picking off Ingle Martin to end practice.
FULLFIELD SCRIMMAGE STATS
Passing: Grossman 12/20-203 3TD's; Martin 6/17 - 78 yards, no TD's, 1 INT; Creveling 1/5 - 4 yards
Receiving: Jacobs 4-121 2 TD's; Vickers 1-37
Sacks: Oquendo-Johnson 3; Nattiel 1; Scott 1; McCray 1
Other players caught passes as well but no performances really stood out, as the receivers all had an up and down day. There were some good catches and some bad drops. Tight End Aaron Walker was also effective catching a few passes including a 4 yard TD from Grossman.
-The fullbacks carried the ball a lot today, though they were mostly ineffective as were the running backs. The long run of the day was 12 yards by FB Ralph Townsend. Ran Carthon also had a fumble.
-Punting is becoming a concern. Snaps were horrible, which isn't helping the already slow punters getting the ball off. Out of about 10 attempts 2 were blocked and none went longer than 40 yards. Protection looks poor as well. Whether that is a function of a great punt block unit or bad protection remains to be seen.
-The defense experimented with the nickel back and MLB position today. They let some guys who are not normally first teamers play with the first units. Reid Fleming saw time with the 1st unit at MLB and Jarvis Herring played nickel back some, having a nice break up on a pass down the middle of the field to Aaron Walker.
-Once again the option is being practiced. More so with Ingle Martin but Rex Grossman does work on it.
*All stats are unofficial and only represent the portion of practice that they were collected in.