Things We've Learned About Florida Gators Through Fall Camp So Far
The Florida Gators are a week deep in fall camp and preparing hard for a 2014 season that is quickly approaching. There’s only so much that happens during a week, but the Gators have already experienced an interesting incident and have made progress on the offensive side of the ball.
The Gators have a lot of work to do if they’re truly going to be one of the most improved teams in college football this season. There’s a lot of positive news coming out of Gainesville so far.
While nothing really groundbreaking, here are the main tidbits from fall camp for Florida.
The Backfield Is in Good Shape
Florida knew it had a gem in Kelvin Taylor, who is poised for a breakout season in his second year. However, the depth stepping up in camp is what really makes this group of running backs special.
Matt Jones used his time off to get bigger, stronger and faster, according to David Jones of the News-Press Florida Media. Meanwhile, Brandon Powell is getting love from just about anyone who has seen him run and even has his teammates giving him props, per Robbie Andreu of The Gainesville Sun.
Offensive lineman D.J. Humphries said he feels for the coaching staff, which has to decide who gets the bulk of the carries, according to Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports.
"I would look at top to bottom and just like, I couldn't be a coach and have to decide this person is gonna start and this person is going to start," he said.
That's a good problem to have.
Jeff Driskel Is Looking Sharp
Florida’s offense likely isn’t going to improve unless quarterback Jeff Driskel can become more of a difference-maker and stop turning the ball over.
He seems to have accepted the challenge and is turning some heads so far in fall camp.
"I just think he does a good job making decisions from the gun," Muschamp said of Driskel. "Very pleased with his progress. Timing has been very good. He’s thrown the ball well.
"He’s making very good decisions in the run and pass game."
This may just be coach talk. After all, you rarely hear a coach bash his quarterback to the media. In any case, regular-season games are where Driskel will really be able prove he’s a better player than in the past.
However, for what it’s worth, it’s been all positive news for Florida at the quarterback position thus far.
The Injury Bug Hasn't Completely Left
Last season, it seemed like Florida players were getting injured simply by coughing too hard or waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Every time you turned around, a player was going down with an injury.
Florida did a great job of avoiding the injury bug in the spring but experienced the scariest possibility when Vernon Hargreaves III went down with a banged-up knee. Florida’s coaching staff and fans had no choice but to prepare for the worst, but an MRI revealed simply a bruised knee bone, according to Iliana Limon Romero of the Orlando Sentinel.
This close call is a swift reminder that the tough injury luck hasn’t disappeared completely. Maybe bubble wrap for the players is an option.
No Fighting Allowed
Hargreaves hurt his knee by trying to break up a fight between defensive back Quincy Wilson and wide receiver Raph Andrades, according to Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports.
A fight once in a while can be a good thing for a team, as it often shows passion and competitiveness. Sometimes you want guys to get after it on the field as long as nothing gets too out of hand.
Well, this scuffle simply rubbed Muschamp the wrong way, per the report:
Then, after the practice Muschamp lit into the team, telling them that anyone who swings at another player in practice again will be suspended. That's how it works in a game, so that's how it's going to work in practice from now on. Obviously he lit into the defense pretty good and made them run gassers afterward. He was not happy about the situation, to say the least.
That incident clearly wasn’t your typical camp tussle that even happens between grown men every season in the NFL. What made it worse is that it nearly knocked out arguably the best player on the team for a significant amount of time.
You can only hope the players heard the message loud and clear.