Following Friday’s first full-contact team scrimmage, Gator football head coach Jim McElwain says veterans stepped up to the challenge set before them.
Instead of sinking into complacency, Coach Mac says Florida’s seasoned starters took the opportunity to help coach their younger counterparts.
McElwain also says some inexperienced defensive players got valuable playing time, while reiterating that he hasn’t named a starting quarterback. However, both Luke Del Rio and Austin Appleby have shown promise by moving the ball well, despite some moments that need to be “cleaned up”.
Coach Mac says he was impressed by Del Rio’s poise in the red zone, marching the team down the field during a two-minute drill and punching in a touchdown. According to McElwain, Austin Appleby controls the offensive unit well and does a better job of handling run/pass option plays.
McElwain says Florida is stacked at tailback, listing different complementary qualities about all five backs: Cronkrite’s consistency, Scarlett’s explosiveness, Thompson’s impressive hands, Herndon’s experience, and Perine’s potential.
Injury-wise, Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson is being held out of practice with a bad ankle and wideout Brandon Powell is back in shape after some time off.
McElwain says Powell’s confidence makes him a game-changer, and his ability to make people miss will help Florida’s offense moving forward. Meanwhile, JUCO-transfer WR Dre Massey is also earning reps, and Mac expects him to “touch the ball in a lot of different ways.”
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Having talented wide receivers is important for Florida, especially considering the fact that there is no official timetable on Antonio Callaway’s return. McElwain also says his players shouldn’t get too bogged down on depth charts, stating that position groupings are simply meant for organizing practices.
The Gators continually reference a need for setting the “standard” during fall camp, and Coach Mac likes what he sees out of his veterans moving forward.
More than anything, McElwain is here to help Florida’s young athletes become better on and off the field, hoping to make them better fathers who give back to their communities.