Another week of practice in the books for the Florida Gators, another seven days closer to regular-season action. The Gators are now just 15 days away from their season opener against Idaho.
Florida’s second week of fall camp was once again heavily focused on the offensive side of the ball. With the defense set, the Gators continue to try to get their offense up to speed and to the point where it can put points on the board on a consistent basis. There’s a lot of positive things going on offensively and a ton of confidence being displayed.
Here are the key updates from the second week of Florida’s fall camp.
These Aren't the Same Receivers
At times, it feels like Florida’s practices are all about quarterback Jeff Driskel. Everybody wants questions answered and updates on his progress. How is he going to pick up the new offense? Can he stay healthy? Is he really going to be that much better under offensive coordinator Kurt Roper?
Driskel is still improving, and a lot of folks are impressed, which is something I wrote in last week's article.
However, what about the guys catching the ball? Last season, no Gator caught more than 44 passes, and there was only one receiver who had more than two touchdown receptions (Solomon Patton, who is no longer on the team).
A quarterback is only as good as his receivers, and those same receivers who weren’t contributing much a year ago have a different mindset this season, according to Edward Aschoff of ESPN.com.
"Since I've been here this is probably the most talented receiving group we've had," Quinton Dunbar said. "I feel like everybody is going to trust each other this year to get better. I feel like we've got depth, and a lot of people can make plays."
Andre Debose chimed in, per the report: "I feel like we can be great. We can be the best in the SEC. With the offense we have I feel like the coach puts us in a lot of good situations to make plays. I feel like with this offense we'll flourish."
That certainly doesn’t sound like a group of receivers who allowed Florida’s passing offense to rank 109th in the country. Then again, the Gators have been drenched in confidence all offseason and truly believe they can be the surprise team of the year that makes an honest run at an SEC title.
Speaking of Debose, he’s looked terrific in camp so far.
If Debose can remain healthy and productive, there's no question Florida's wide receiving corps will be light years better than last season.
Tempo, Tempo, Tempo
If it’s not keeping an eye on every move Driskel makes, it’s making sure the offense is moving at a quick enough speed. Roper runs an uptempo offense that wants to get to the line quickly, gets a lot of plays off and simply wears down the defense by the time the fourth quarter arrives.
While things have progressed over the months, it’s not good enough yet, according to receiver Ahmad Fulwood, via Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports.
The biggest step (left) I’d have to say is the tempo. We watched the film of Duke last year. I feel like we should pick up the tempo a little bit more. We’re running it fast, but coach Roper said we could always do it a lot faster. The less time the defense has to prepare, the better for us.
That’s typical coachspeak. No matter how perfect it may look on film or what the results are, a coach will always find something to push his players that much further. Truth is, the tempo can always be a bit faster, which is why the Gators have been going through a brutal conditioning program to prepare them for what’s to come.
With several months to prepare, the Gators' tempo is certainly faster than it was in the spring. Still, Oregon probably believes it could run its offense faster than it has in the past, and it's a unit that ranks at the top of every offensive category.
The speed of the offense is without question going to be the top thing to watch in Florida's first game of the season.
Injuries Won't Go Away?
The first week of fall camp involved the close call to cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. Now, last Sunday’s scrimmage finished with a lot of bumps and bruises, according to Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports, who listed all of the players' injuries and expected return.
Player (Injury) -- Projected Return
RB Kelvin Taylor (hamstring strain) -- Thursday or Friday
RB Matt Jones (knee swelling) -- Tuesday
RB Adam Lane (unspecified) -- Unspecified
WR Andre Debose (knee swelling) -- Wednesday
OL Trip Thurman (shoulder) -- Unspecified
DE Alex McCalister (shoulder) -- Unspecified
DE Taven Bryan (strep throat) -- Day to Day
DE Bryan Cox Jr. (shoulder) -- Unspecified
DL Jonathan Bullard (ankle) -- Tuesday
DT Thomas Holley (hernia) -- Surgery Needed, Unspecified
CB Vernon Hargreaves III (bone bruise) -- Tuesday or Wednesday
S Duke Dawson (shoulder) -- Next Couple Days
Practicing in Non-Contact Jerseys
TE DeAndre Goolsby
CB J.C. Jackson
S Marcus Maye
The good news is that the majority of those players have already returned to practice or are close to it. But Florida’s lengthy injury history and several incidents in just one scrimmage has the coaching staff thinking ahead. That’s why Dante Fowler was limited in Thursday’s practice due to a minor arm injury, according to Robbie Andreu of Gator Sports.
“Dante was in orange as a precautionary today,” UF defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. “He’s fine. He’s ready to go. He did some of practice, and some we held him out. That was just precautionary.”
This is too close to comfort for Florida fans, as the regular season can't get here fast enough.
Ever wonder what it looked like from the eyes of a quarterback? Now you know.
Until next week.
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