Florida Football Open Practice Roundup: Video, Wide Receivers' Roles, And Dante Fowler's Rise

April 7, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp (in back) watches as tackle Xavier Nixon (73) gets ready to block during the first half of the Florida-Spring Game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE

Recaps of Saturday's open practice from around Gator Nation.

GatorVision: Video highlights of Saturday's practice.

Associated Press (presumably Mark Long): Florida was "sluggish," as Will Muschamp said, and both quarterbacks "struggled." But Florida was also hiding its real offense.

"Obviously with today's technology, as we all see here, anything you say, do, show, it's there, it's out there and it's going to be on the Internet five minutes later,'' Muschamp said. "We did discuss that briefly as a staff (Friday). What are we doing today? What do we want to do? What do we want to show? ...

"At the end of the day, they got to know when you're going to call it.''


"Stuff that is on tape, people have a book on you," Muschamp said. "Anything that was totally different or new, we didn't do."

Scott Carter at GatorZone: Three areas to watch for position battles.

Offensive line - Xavier Nixon figures to start at one tackle spot and Jon Halapio (right guard) and Jon Harrison (center) appear solid at their positions. That leaves James Wilson, Kyle Koehne and Sam Robey competing at left guard and Chaz Green and Matt Patchan at the tackle spot opposite Nixon.

SAM linebacker - With Lerentee McCray at defensive end/buck in place of the injured Ronald Powell, Neiron Ball and Darrin Kitchens are in a good competition here. Both are athletic and look much-improved (Ball hasn't played since 2010).

Defensive back - Four players are competing to start at cornerback, a group that features Loucheiz Purifoy, Marcus Roberson, Cody Riggs and Jaylen Watkins. Muschamp said Saturday that Riggs and Watkins are also working inside in certain nickel and dime packages, so expect to see all six players on the field regularly.

Robbie Andreu at The Gainesville Sun: Sunday is "Decision Day," and Muschamp knows what he's looking for.

Decision Day. Time to sit down in the coaches' office, pore over what's happened in camp, and decide who falls where on the depth chart as the Gators start turning their focus to the Sept. 1 opener against Bowling Green.

"That will be huge," Muschamp said. "I told our team before the scrimmage, ‘This is decision day on Sunday for us. We're going to take the (Friday) scrimmage and today and we need to start making decisions on who is going to get turns and reps as we start to prepare.

"We do this every day, but it will be major detail tomorrow. Who are we going to win the SEC Championship with? That's my question. We understand what our goal is here and where we need to go.

Bryan Holt at Inside the Gators: Wide receivers helped the quarterbacks look good.

Quarterback play opened up a bit when things swapped over to more wide-open passing drills. Receivers tended to run deeper routes when Brissett was in at quarterback. A few highlight plays came courtesy of Solomon Patton, Latroy Pittman and Frankie Hammond Jr. Brissett showed great touch throwing the deep ball, but that wasn't always the case with some underneath routes.

In contrast, receivers tended to run more underneath routes for Driskel. He was on point with most of the throws but seldom went longer than 10-15 yards.

The recap of injury news, via The Jacksonville Times-Union's Hays Carylon.

In injury news, Muschamp stated true freshman D.J. Humphries suffered an MCL injury in a knee and will miss two-or-three weeks. Linebacker Lerentee McCray suffered a hamstring injury in Friday's scrimmage and didn't practice Saturday, but is expected back Monday. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was a non-contact participant Saturday after getting his shoulder nicked up Friday.

More Carylon, on UF's wide receivers, with some interesting quotes.

"I think there’s game-changing talent," Brent Pease said. "We have speed, guys that can stretch the field. I think there are some that are getting more confident that they can do that."

ESPN's Michael DiRocco: The Gators are focusing on the fourth quarter.

The Gators worked on it specifically during Friday's scrimmage with the following situation: tie game, 5:10 remaining. Muschamp said he was pleased to see the players make good decisions, especially on offense.

"Chris Johnson caught a pass and got out of bounds," Muschamp said. "Probably could have gotten an extra 8 yards by cutting it up the field but took the ball out of bounds. There were some things we did in that part that were smart.

"That has been a huge emphasis going through camp. Let's find the guys that are willing to make the good decisions and have the mental toughness to battle through it."

The Miami Herald's Matt Watts: Dante Fowler had a serious opportunity on Saturday.

Freshman Dante Fowler, who has been working at the Buck linebacker spot in the absence of injured starter Ronald Powell, received all the reps at the position during Saturday's open practice after backup Lerentee McCray tweaked his hamstring in Friday's scrimmage.

While coach Will Muschamp wants Fowler to shed some weight, he's also concerned with how Fowler and other freshmen will handle the start of classes on Wednesday.

Bill Ward, Tampa Bay Times: Hey, there are Tampa-area players on Florida's roster!

What's your takeaway from Saturday's open practice? Do you think we learned anything?

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