Spring Scrimmage In-Depth report on Offense

It wasn't a usual scrimmage as the Florida Gators took it to each other on the regular practice field on Saturday. The offense opened the day winning the early portion of the scrimmage at the goal line. The defense dominated outside of the red zone. Then the offense capped it of with a very nice red zone and goal line plays that saw the offense win the scrimmage. It was nip and tuck until the last play when Head Coach Urban Meyer awarded the offense as the winner.


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Unless the offense was pinned against the end zone or getting close to the end zone today, the defense generally ruled the roost. Offensively, trick plays and pounding it into the interior of the defense minus Marcus Thomas and Steven Harris seemed to do the trick.

The only two bad snaps I have seen all spring came today when the heat was on, on the field. Overall, snapping the ball has not been much of an issue.

Short yardage / Goal line

The Gators opened up with the ball placed at the three yard line and the offense having to score. Here is how it went.

1st offense vs. 1st defense

DeShawn Wynn ran up the middle for a TD. Wynn stopped for 1. Wynn pounds for a TD. Wynn around left side for minus 2 yards. Wynn over right guard for a TD.

2nd offense vs. 2nd defense

Walk on Anthony Gay for a touchdown up the middle. Gay stopped for none. Tebow, bootleg left finds Casey all alone in the back corner of the end zone.

The Gators then went into the open field and regular down and distance situations. The defense usually would give up one first down and then stop the offense. The offense never scored a point during this portion of the scrimmage.

Regular Down and Distance Session Highlights

Roll out pass from Leak early to Jemalle Cornelius gets nine yards and close to a first down.

On third down in one of the early possessions, Javier Estopinan was out in space and forced an errant pass by Chris Leak who threw low and behind Dallas Baker.

First play of 2nd offense vs. 1st defense netted negative yards when Gay didn't get back to the line of scrimmage on an inside run to the left side.

Tim Tebow seemed to find Cornelius Ingram early and often in the scrimmage situations. Ingram is still learning the position but making big strides.

Tebow scrambles left and avoids contact. He completes the ball but just shy of the first down. He definitely is at ease throwing the ball on the run.

DeShawn Wynn was the only scholarship running back that saw action today. He had one exceptional run today where he made two defenders whiff in traffic and scampered for about 15 yards. It is on video and should be a fun one to watch.

Tate Casey was the target on a first down pass, but Earl Everett was there just when the ball hit. The ball was in Casey's hands, but he dropped it.

Anthony Gay came around the end on one play and saw open field only to see it closed off by Dorian Munroe who really laid a big time hit on Gay.

Tremaine McCollum went down for a bit when he and Terrance Holmes collided on a hit on Louis Murphy. McCollum was out for while but later returned to the scrimmage.

Tebow made two first down throws in a row to Louis Murphy in the drive portion of the scrimmage. Still, neither offense was able to put the ball in the end zone outside of red zone and goal line drills.

Special teams

...continue to be a big part of spring practice and maybe more than I can ever remember. Most springs around here, dating back through the Spurrier years, special teams saw a lot of time during the week of the orange and blue game, so that they could look somewhat coordinated.

Jemalle Cornelius and Nyan Boateng are clearly the best kickoff returners so far.

One guy doing well for the most part is Eric Wilbur. The Gator's punter pounded his first two punts over 60 yards before coming back to earth on his next two.

Coming Out

The next session the Gators scrimmaged was what we used to call Coming Out. The ball is placed near the goal line and the offense tries to get a first down to at least equalize field position. They have the normal three downs to do so. A point is awarded to the offense if they get the first down. Here is how it went…

First pass form Leak from the two yard line was complete to Tookes for eight yards. A short run by Wynn gets first down and a win for the offense.

Second offense gets 2nd and nine after a short run, Tebow rolls out and throws deep incomplete. Then he hits a short pass for a first down. Point offense.

Leak scrambles for zero. On second down all receivers are covered, Leak takes off up the middle for a first down. Point offense again. Third down / middle of the field…Here are some highlights.

Leak in third down portion of scrimmage threw his first interception of the scrimmage to Reggie Nelson. Point to the defense.

Leak then was sacked when he waited a tad too long to throw to David Nelson on a deep post. The pass was completed and would have gone the distance. Point defense

Leak threw a little behind Tookes, point defense.

On a short out pass form Leak, Tookes made Earl Everett miss for a first down. Point offense

Tebow hit Louis Murphy for an excellent slant, but Murphy had to catch and tuck it in for the first. Point offense.

On a third and four situation, Tebow decided to run and only got two yards. Coach Mullen was all over hi for that saying, "we just lost the game." Point defense.

Leak completed a 20 yard out to Cornelius Ingram. The ball was actually bobbled and should have been incomplete, but the point went to the offense on the 3rd down play. Point offense.

Leak had at least four passes dropped in the third down part of practice today.

DeShawn Wynn takes a nice short out pass and rambles untouched for about 15 yards. Point offense/

Red Zone Offense

First offense gets a first down on first play Leak to Tookes. Then they stall with a short run and two incomplete passes. Reggie Lewis gets a hand on the kick and partially blocks it. Point defense.

Second offense scores first on a reverse to Boateng. He went untouched into the left front corner of the end zone (see video)

Leak very nice shovel pass to Wynn who shifts and runs for about a fifteen yard touchdown. (see video)

Second team offense scores on one play. Tebow fools everyone, even the camera man and keeps it around the left side for a touchdown. (I would show video but am embarrassed at the cameraman.)

First team offense scores on one play. Leak hands off to Ingram on a reverse to the right. Ingram stops, turns around and hits a wide open Leak for a touchdown.

Tebow rolls out and completes a pass to Ingram at the two. The second offense and running back Anthony Gay then runs it in from the two yard line.

Goal Line 2 yards

Leak fakes a handoff and finds Tate Casey in the corner for a touchdown.

Tebow fakes a handoff and bootlegs to the left for a touchdown.

Wynn closes practice with a two tough yards up the middle for a touchdown.

Observations

My perceptions of the offense following the scrimmage are mixed. First, they were handicapped with only one scholarship running back on the field. Second, with Dallas baker held out, they were without their top receiver. They struggled mightily in the middle of the field where they usually try to spread a defense out.

With those struggles came the silver lining that they were really able to pound it on the defense in short yardage. Although Steven Harris and Marcus Thomas were not in there on Saturday, the offense and especially Wynn was able to really get some tough yards.

Midway through practice I was thinking blowout for the defense, then the offense really turned it around.

Offensive stars…

  • Leak had several dropped balls or would have had a lights out day, except for the interception.
  • Tebow was solid most of the day and exceptional near the goal line.
  • Wynn ran hard and fast and will be easy to see on the video
  • Ingram has some loose ends, but it is easy to see his star potential at his new position.
  • Casey (except for one drop) caught two touchdown passes today.
  • Louis Murphy made several tough catches in traffic.
  • The first offensive line opened some gaping holes today.

This was most of the offensive highlights and most of the scoring on the day. Mark McLeod will touch a lot further on the defense.


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