Published August 15, 2012 - 8:42am
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On Saturday, the Florida Gators held the first of three fall preseason scrimmages. These scrimmages are unique from most practices because they are run like real games. Players, coaches, trainers, and referees assume their normal game day positions at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The only things missing are the fans, the TV cameras, and an opposing team; it’s as close to game day as the team will get until the first of September.
Some of the highlights coming out of Saturday’s scrimmage:
Welcome back Marcus: Even though he was forced to wear a non-contact jersey throughout spring practice, sophomore cornerback Marcus Roberson, who suffered a neck injury last season against South Carolina, will tell you that he has been healthy enough to go full-contact for months now.
I am starting to think he may have been right.
Picking up right where he left off in the fall, Roberson was one of three defensive backs to record an interception in Saturday’s scrimmage. The other two were Loucheiz Purifoy and Brian Poole.
Not only has Roberson been plugged back into one of the starting cornerback spots, he has been named as the leader in the race to be Florida’s main punt returner in the fall.
It’s not all about yardage: It may sound backwards, but as a running back, one of the best ways to impress a head coach is to show him how well you do without the ball in your hands.
That is just what sophomore Mack Brown did on Saturday.
Though he did have a good afternoon running the ball, it was his ability to pick up the blitz and block that really made head coach Will Muschamp take notice, calling it Brown’s best scrimmage as a Gator. But Brown wasn’t the only running back who caught the head coach’s eye; Mike Gillislee and incoming freshman Matt Jones had their fair share of production as well.
“All three ran the ball extremely well,” Muschamp said. “Very pleased with those guys getting the ball north and south and running and what we did up front.”
With offensive coordinator Brent Pease attempting to establish a “run first” offense, a trio of running backs practicing at a high level is a very encouraging sign.
- Tight end Jordan Reed suffered a minor knee injury and will be held out for three to four days.
- Incoming freshman wide receiver Raphael Andrades made two big plays in the passing game and has really impressed the coaching staff in fall camp.
- Muschamp has stated that senior Frankie Hammond Jr. has been Florida’s most consistent receiver this fall.
- The starting offensive line for the scrimmage: left tackle Xavier Nixon, rotating at left guard were James Wilson and Kyle Koehne, center Jonotthan Harrison, right guard Jon Halapio, and right tackle Chaz Green.