Practice Day 7 Scrimmage Breakdown

The defense was dominant, but the offense didn't help themselves most of the day either. The Florida Gators are going to have buckle down on offense and get things moving with a lot of young guys this spring or they could be in for a long season. The final tally was 41-20 as the defense won per the Gator coaching staff's scoring system. Here is a breakdown of what we saw.

The offense just hasn't been able to hit it's stride when it comes to the long passing game or putting out a strong running game. There are nice plays here and there, but the inconsistency of the spring was the same old stuff for the offense on Saturday. Injuries up front on the offensive line certainly aren't helping, but the defensive line is banged up as well. The bottom line is the skill players on offense have to start stepping up.

Drives Phase (offense has to put together 40 yard drives or so to earn points in the scoring system)

The offensive struggles started in the first series when John Brantley went 0-3 and then they waked off the field to let the second team have a chance.

Offense penalized twice with illegal substitution. Urban Meyer isn't putting up with anything right now and making the offense have to earn everything in the early going. Backing them up to 1st and 20. The first pass caught on the day was by Omarius Hines on a nice play and then that was followed with a drop by mike Gillislee....more inconsistency. The next play was another dropped pass, but defended, Jordan Reed had a chance but couldn't hold onto it,. It wouldn't matter, it was 3rd and 20 and the pass was all of about seven yards or so.

Trey Burton and the second team offense gets the third series and the first two plays are runs that are stuffed by the defense. Then he drops back and throws a beautiful corner pass to Frankie Hammond along the right sideline and that is a point for the offense.

The second series and Burton runs hard up the middle for about three yards. He continues to show great toughness and I am amazed just how much the coaching staff is allowing the defense top pound on Burton. They are certainly trying to see what the kid is made of and he is showing great fortitude in my opinion. On second down another tough run for two more yards by Burton. Stephen Alli dropped a pass a little behind him on third down and the point goes to defense.

With the first group back up, Mike Gillislee runs hard for two yards on first down. Brantley's next pass was to Deonte Thompson but Jaylen Watkins made a nice play on the ball to break it up. Gillislee then collects himself and the ball after a bad hand off exchange, leaps over one defender at the line of scrimmage and burrows his way for five yards, but not enough for the first down. Point defense.

The next series starts and Gillislee has a nice inside run where he weaves his way for a first down.

Walk-on Ean McQuay had the best run of the day and a 40+ yard jaunt caught a lot of people by surprise.

During this phase of the scrimmage Lerentee McCray playing hard and got smacked real hard by a lineman he got up a little wobbly, but came back to play.

Lots of bad snaps on the day. Sophomore Nick Alajajian in his first few days at center has had a rough go with the snaps. At one point Urban Meyer had to stop the play and just talk to Alajajian about it, kind of calm him down but did it sternly. That was followed by another bad snap.

Special Teams

Caleb Sturgis really whiffed bad on his first field goal try. The ball was not placed properly after a snap that was a little off, or so it seemed. Sturgis nailed the second kick.

Coming Out Phase (Offense is backed against the end zone and needs to get a first down to be considered a success)

On the first play Mike Gillislee runs for about five yards. Play number two is one that John Brantley would like to have back. Brantley spied Chris Rainey in the left flat and turned to throw, but freshman safety Matt Elam was on the prowl and cut right in front of the pass and had to run all of about eight yards for the touchdown. The long out pass is a tough one to make so close to the line of scrimmage, high risk for the reward in that scenario.

The second group takes the field and after no gain on first by McQuay, Burton runs for about six yards. A short run on third down makes it 4th and 2. Meyer decides to have the second group go for it and then proceeds to try and get both sides pumped off for a one play battle. McQuay squeezes through the defense and gets about six yards for the first down and a point for the offense.

Brantley takes the next series and runs an option right. He pitches wide to Gillislee who gets around the end for about 11 yards and a first down. Point offense.

2nd Down Situations (Offense must get a first down after being put in different 2nd down situations)

The offense stalled on the first series. A short pass to Stephen Alli to show for it, however the play was likely a sack if they were allowed to hit Brantley. William Green and Jaye Howard were all over the quarterback, but he stepped aside and completed a short pass to Alli. On the next play he threw way over the head of his receiver for the incomplete.

Burton and the two's up next...Burton completes to Alli for about five yards on 2nd and 10. Burton hits Alli on the same short square in pass for a first down, Alli barely made the first.

Burton still in and Brendan Beal gets to the backfield for a sack. On the next play, Alli couldn't catch the ball again in the middle of the field and Jaylen Watkins, for the second day in a row benefited from Alli's mishap, scooped up the ball, and ran it back for a touchdown the other way.

3rd Down Situations (Offense has to get the first)

Carl Moore drops what would have been a first down pass from John Brantley. He seemed to hear Jelani Jenkins footsteps and was nailed anyway by the freshman linebacker.

Gillislee gets about seven yards on a dump off pass, but he needed nine for the first down.

Omarius Hines gets about 15 yards on the next play after weaving his way through the defense. Nice play for a first down by the sophomore receiver. Brantley threw incomplete to Hines on the next play.

Gillislee gets four yards on 3rd and 3.

Burton had the best run for him on the day in this portion of the scrimmage. He broke away from containment and started down the right side of the field. After about 15 yards and the first down the whistles were blowing and blowing, but he kept running. Jordan Haden wasn't having any of that and decided to tackle Burton despite the whistles. That is all it took for Meyer to start flying toward Haden and yelling at him, until co-defensive coordinator Chuck Heater grabbed Haden and filled him on on quarterback etiquette 101.

Second team got one more first down when Jon Bostic was called for pass interference on a pass to the right side. That was about it for positive plays from the offense in this portion of the scrimmage. They completed some passes, but most were too short to get the first down.

Duke Lemmens made one of his many big plays on the day during this portion of the scrimmage as well. Burton was one on one with Lemmens near the goal line and the senior defensive lineman snared the quarterback and forced him to cough up the ball. It seemed the staff wanted to give Lemmens the chance to make a lot of plays in the scrimmage and the Californian took real advantage of the situation.

Red Zone Phase (Inside the 25 yard line)

The first play was the best designed offensive play of the day. Tight end Jordan Reed on a drag route caught a Brantley pass on the run and raced to the corner of the end zone where he absolutely leveled a defender to score on the play. Reed continues to be the absolute surprise of the spring on offense.

The next play Brantley could have really upped his sock on the day. Omarius Hines beat Moses Jenkins on a seam route and had three steps on Jenkins. Brantley overthrew him by about two feet for what would have been an easy score. Despite the incomplete, Jenkins got an absolute earful from Chuck Heater.

A couple of defensive stuffs later, the offense was at the three yard line and Brantley rolled out quickly to the right and found Chris Rainey open for the touchdown just in the front corner.

It was a muffed snap on the next short yardage play and then Gillislee was held to two yards when he needed three on the following play.

Burton and Hammond copied the Brantley/Rainey play from the previous series for a score in the front right corner of the end zone. Burton sprinted out fast from the snap and found Hammond racing to the corner for the easy pass.

Burton then barely overthrows sophomore fullback T.J. Pridemore for what would have been a touchdown reception.

Drive Phase (from the -30 yard line)

Brantley a six yard completion to Hines. Then to Carl Moore for another six yards and the first down. Brantley to Hines for seven yards. Then ball goes through Rainey's hands and senior linebacker Lorenzo Edwards popped him good. Alajajian with another bad snap. Hines on a square in, breaks a tackle and gets about 12 yards. Moses Jenkins breaks up the next pass to Hines out in the flat. Brantley avoids the pass rush of Jaye Howard and another defender and hits Rainey on a drag for about 13 yards. Gillislee catches the ball and gets about four yards on first down to the 28 yard line. Moses Jenkins breaks up a deep corner pass , but had both hands on the ball and should have pulled it in. Earl Okine gets a blocked pass after pushing his man a little bit into the offensive backfield and reaching up with his giant paw. Another deep corner pass to Thompson and it was double covered and fell incomplete. Offense turns the ball over.

Walk-on Scott Peek with a sack of Burton on his first play in this phase of the scrimmage. Burton scrambles on the next play and hit a crossing Solomon Patton for a 21 yard gain and a first down. Ean McQuay with nothing on his first down run. Three yard run on second down. McQuay gets five yards on third down and Meyer wants them to go for it again on fourth. McQuay bounces off tackle, hops outside and gets the first down. He looks pretty good today. Short pass to the 31 yard line makes it 2nd and 3...McQuay gets two yards and it is 3rd and 1. Burton threw just behind Alli and the ball falls incomplete. Burton threw a nice skinny post route to Alli who had to get down to get it, but it should have been caught. It was a really pretty pass that went incomplete. Offense turns the ball over.

Next series and Burton gets a chance to get some positive yardage, but wants to take it outside and stumbles on his own feet. Addazio come in and rips Burton for not getting the yardage in a time that it was needed. Muffed hand off to walk-on running back Will Clark and the ball hits the turf. They give it back to the offense. Josh Shaw breaks up a Burton pass for the last play of the day.

In Conclusion (from the scrimmage)...

I didn't notice this when the scrimmage was going on but through most of the first three quarters of the scrimmage it seemed the first team offense was waiting to take a cue from the the second team offense. Time and again during the scrimmage the first team O would not accomplish anything and the second unit would come out and do their thing on the first try. Then the first team would respond accordingly. I'm not sure why that was , but it did happen and is basically recorded here for you to read through and understand.

It is going to be really hard to get a real take on the offense until the line is back and at least two of the running backs are healthy. Jeff Demps is running track and Emmanuel Moody is hurt. That left the only scholarship running back as Mike Gillislee who is performing well. Of course hats off to Ean McQuay who had a strong day in place of Moody on Saturday.

Again, I think it is clear to me that Jordan Reed is the best tight end on the squad right now. He is the biggest shocker on the squad so far. I never realized how physically gifted Reed is...he really has size, speed, and agility for a kid that is so muscular and big.

It appeared that Omarius Hines took a step forward on Saturday. That is a good sign. At the same time, Justin Williams, who was making big strides, disappeared during the scrimmage.

I like the progression of Trey Burton. He isn't flashy with his arm, but if he learns to not make big mistakes and use his feet wisely, he can be a very effective quarterback in this offense even if pressed into duty early. Once those throwing mechanics come around just a little, he will be that much better.

The defense has the edge up front right now even with all the injuries to the line. All the starters up front are there unlike the offensive line who was missing Marcus Gilbert and Carl Johnson from the starting lineup.

After thinking about it quite a bit, my player of the day is defensive end Duke Lemmens. His counterpart on the other side of the line didn't play much on Saturday, so Justin Trattou's absence made it a little easier for the offense to worry about Lemmens. Lemmens played a ton and showed up a lot when I watched the film over again. He really is a relentless player that just keeps coming at you. He seems to get better as time goes on and the offensive players are getting worn down. He was very disruptive on Saturday.

Saturday was a good day for Brendan Beal and a rather quiet one for Jon Bostic and Lorenzo Edwards. In the secondary, Joshua Shaw and Jeremy Brown, who both have been big lately this spring both were kind of non-existent on Saturday. Jaylen Watkins made a few plays again and probably improved his stock.

One great thing is that there appeared to not be any more injuries out there on Saturday. Maybe the weekend will help get some of the wounded back on the practice field Monday.

Odds and ends...

Injuries are kind of crazy and if not for the rich roster, these practices may be quite ugly. Here is the injured list as I can think of it. RB Emmanuel Moody, WR Andre Debose, TE Desmond Parks, OG Carl Johnson, OT Matt Patchan, C Sam Robey, C Kyle Koehne, OT Marcus Gilbert, DT Terron Sanders, DT Brandon Antwine, DT Lawrence Marsh, DT Leon Orr, DE Kedric Johnson, S Josh Evans.

The Gators had a four receiver look without a tight end which I expect some this year without the services of Aaron Hernandez. In the set, the RB was Gillislee, and the receivers were Deonte Thompson, Omarius Hines, Carl Moore Moore (in the TE spot), Rainey (slot).

Jelani Jenkins saw a lot more work with the first group of linebackers again on Saturday. It appears that Jelani has pushed himself into the top three backers on the team and much like the way Addazio does the offensive line, they probably want to get the best three linebackers on the field at the same time despite their specific position. That is one hellaciously fast linebacker group with Jenkins, Brandon Hicks, and A.J. Jones.

Matt Elam was the first nickel back and then sent a considerable amount of time with the starters at strong safety when Ahmad Black went to the bench. Black and Will Hill sat out most of the scrimmage giving the young guys a lot of time on the field. Elam took advantage of it and is just a pure natural football player and shows it most of the time he is on the field.

When Elam was at strong safety in the first group, fellow true freshman cornerback Josh Shaw was in on the first team at the nickel position. Shaw, much like Will Hill would be a good fit there with a big receiver match up in the slot.

Oddly enough, one of the biggest contributors this spring, even though I have hardly mentioned him is walk-on senior safety Miguel Carodine. Carodine is the son of Florida Senior Associate Athletic Director for Student Life Keith Carodine who is responsible for the academic advancement of the athletes at the University of Florida.

Okine spent a good part of the last few series working on the offense as the sixth linemen in running situations. Offensive tackle is something I have been saying would be a great fit for him and all he did was drive William Green five yards backwards on his first play at the position Saturday. On the second play, he took his guy and planted him in the ground some 4-5 yards away from the original point of contact. Don't let Addazio see too much of that or Okine will be working the other side of the ball a lot. Right now the depth is so low on the defense, I don't know if they can afford it, but get a few of them back and I would love to see this move and think it could be huge for Okine's career.

One thing that you learn about Urban Meyer at practice is he is very observant. At one point during practice, he stopped and instructed the "extras" on the practice field to clear the extraneous equipment from close to the back of the end zone so that the players won't have injuries running in the direction of that equipment if the play leads them off the field at all.

Three veterans got a lot of time off during the scrimmage. Michael Pouncey watched and helped sophomore center Nick Alajajian as much as he could. Alajajian has struggled for two days with numerous bad snaps, but it is just the first three days of his entire stint at Florida working at center. With second and third team centers Sam Robey and Kyle Koehne out, the staff had to find someone else to try at the position. Outside of the snaps, Alajajian seems to be doing fine.

Speaking of Robey, he was looking rather rough trying to walk to the Pit area where the wounded work out during practice. I don't think Robey's injury has been discussed by the staff yet, but it certainly appeared like a back injury to me...he was in a ton of pain.

Will Hill, Ahmad Black, and Janoris Jenkins, all sat for most of the scrimmage as well affording the young guys in the secondary a great number of snaps and the opportunity to shine in front of the coaching staff. I would say that Jaylen Watkins, Matt Elam, and Miguel Carodine did just that.

Dorian Munroe was on the sideline and he told me he is still trying to get that sixth year from the NCAA with the one last appeal. He isn't counting on it and if it doesn't work out, he told me he will be helping coach on the sidelines at Florida next year in some capacity.

One of the great things about scrimmage days is all the jawing between offensive and defensive players. However, it doesn't just go on between players. The coaches relish this too and get after the other side of the ball and want them to be fired up to play their own boys. One of the funny moments during warm ups was the jawing between Michael Pouncey and new defensive graduate assistant Anthony Weaver. Weaver was telling Pouncey he was going to get beat bad on the day and Pouncey was firing back that Weaver doesn't know anything because he just played ball "in Conference USA or something like that". Weaver actually was an all-American defensive end at Notre Dame and played seven years in the NFL with both the Ravens and the Texans. He doesn't need the work but wants to get into coaching, so the Gators landed him as a graduate assistant. Weaver got the last laugh on this day.

Besides Munroe former players are still showing up in numbers on the practice field. Joe Haden was in attendance Saturday, as was Percy Harvin, Scot Brantley, Henry McMillan and probably a few more I missed.

Gator signee Jonathan Dowling was in attendance as well. Dowling is actually easy to notice because he always wears high socks, like almost up to his knees high. He is also always surrounded by the ladies.

Gator prospects tight end A.C. Leonard (Gator commitment) of Interlachen, receiver Sammy Watkins of South Fort Myers, linemen John Theus (2012) and Nathan Theus of Jacksonville Bolles, and defensive end Trip Thurman of Dover (DE) were all in attendance. Watkins got a ton of attention from Urban Meyer just before the start of the real scrimmaging.

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