The Florida Gators officially ended spring practice (and ushered in the 2012 season) today by playing in the annual Orange and Blue Debut. As expected, the usual questions that were there before the start of the game remained upon the conclusion.
Neither Jacoby Brissett or Jeff Driskel really separated themselves as the go-to quarterback. The defensive line, played like a defensive line without an incentive to rush the quarterback. All the running backs, including a surprise performance by someone nobody expected, all played great.
In the end, it was business as usual for the Gators today but with a few surprises courtesy of new offensive coordinator Brent Pease. It's early folks, but it looks as though we might finally have a running game! At least one that looks somewhat traditional.
(We'll just go ahead and continue with the format from last year. Notes first, analysis and thoughts at the end.)
FIRST HALF NOTES:
To begin the game, Jacoby Brissett got the first rep with the first-team offense.
The first play of the game, was a 3-yard run by running back Mike Gillislee.
Brissett's first two throws were high. The first one was much worse than the second one.
Leon Orr and Michael Taylor led the early charge of the defense.
JUCO transfer Damien Jacobs got the first sack of the afternoon on Brissett.
Tyler Murphy then came in to guide the second-team offense against the second-team defense.
Much like Brissett, Murphy struggled early with a pass that got away from him. Murphy does have the ability to run with the football though. Unlike Brissett, he used his opportunity to run and got 15-yards.
Running back Chris Johnson had a heck of day. He started things off with a nice run through the middle of the defense.
Michael Taylor (who looks extremely big) ran sideline-to-sideline to make the play.
Caleb Sturgis missed chip shot field goal.
Driskel's first play from scrimmage is a very nice read-option run for 15-yards. The very next play, he connects with Jordan Reed on a very nice pass on the run. Great display of athletic ability and arm-strength by Driskel.
Gillislee with a 7-yard run courtesy of a great block by Jorand Reed on Ronald Powell. Powell had a very quite day overall.
Driskel and Gillislee hook up on a designed outlet pass for a first down.
Sharrif Floyd made back-to-back defensive stops on Gillislee.
Jessaman Dunker commits the first penalty on the day with a holding call.
Brissett hooks up with freshman Latroy Pittman on a very nice 43-yard pass. Great play by Pittman to get open, and a great throw by Brissett. He can throw one heck of a deep ball.
Second penalty on the day, illegal formation (more than four in the backfield). That's a new rule? I think.
Omarius Hines makes his first appearance out of the backfield. He does a running play, then a passing play. He could be a serious weapon this fall coming out of the backfield.
The first touchdown of the day happens when Brissett hooks up with Quinton Dunbar over the middle. Great patience on the play by Brissett. Sam Robey (playing center) had a key block that allowed Brissett the time needed to complete the throw.
SECOND HALF NOTES:
Johnson continues to run tough. He could be a factor his fall.
Brissett hits Hines over the middle for a nice gain.
Jabari Gorman, who quite possibly was the defensive player of the game, absolutely lights up Johnson.
Antonio Morrison and Gorman combine for a tackle.
Hunter Joyer gets into the action with a run to the left. It takes six defenders to complete the tackle.
Jaylen Watkins had a GREAT break-up of a pass in coverage in the endzone. He looks vastly improved.
Driskel comes in and almost throws an INT on a quick bubble screen type of throw. It was by design though. De'Ante Saunders nearly got to the ball.
Ajagbe with the hit of the day as he obliterates the running back.
Another penalty on a play as Ben Peacock basically tackles Debose in the endzone before the ball is close.
In a serious display of arm-strength, Driskel laces a ball to Stephen Ali.
Joyer just uses his strength to run up the middle for a touchdown.
Xavier Nixon appeared to have hurt his shoulder halfway through the 4th quarter.
Mack Brown had a string of decent runs.
Solomon Patton shows great open-field vision as he gains 30-yards on an end around to the left. This play, is typical of offensive coordinator Brent Pease.
Hines has another run to the outside. That appears to be all he's going to do.
Brown rushes it in for the touchdown. He puts a nice move on Darrin Kitchens who can only get one arm on Brown as he blows past him.
Johnson comes on the field and puts together yet another nice run.
With about four minutes remaining in the game, the walk-ons begin to take the field.
Michael McNeely, on his first play, catches a 50-yard bomb from Brissett. Johnson proceeds to punch it in for the touchdown on the next play.
Murphy reenters the game and promptly throws an interception to David Campbell. Horrible decision to throw the ball. Reminded me of John Brantley against the Seminoles.
Driskel caps off that drive (well, after the first play listed below) with a 1-yard touchdown run.
The Trey Burton show begins:
- Burton from Driskel for 40-yards
- Burton on back-to-back plays (36-yards and 34-yards) from Brissett. He's gaining serious yardage.
- Burton gets a touchdown on that second play
Brissett's throw on the two-point conversion is a little high (and late). The announcers said "4th row" high, and it kind of was.
Clay Burton makes a nice catch to end the game.
AFTER THE GAME THOUGHTS:
The offense is clearly different under offensive coordinator Pease. The running plays are more up the middle than to the outside. Though some of that is obviously due to the fact that Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey have moved on. The passing plays appear to be more of timing than anything else, though today it seemed as if getting the running game under control was more of a priority.
The defense played as you would have expected them to. The offenses couldn't do anything until late in the game when the walk-ons and backups took the field.
The offensive line largely held the defensive line in check throughout the day. Though some of that is due to the fact that the defensive line has no incentive to hit the quarterback, thus they can't go "full steam ahead."
It's going to be a great year for the Gators as long as the offense gets figured it out. Both Brissett and Driskel played well overall which was good to see. Brissett played better in the pocker, but Driskel played quite good whether it was running with the ball or throwing on the run. Please take note in that all of Driskel's throws on the run were by design (bootlegs mostly), so it wasn't like last season when he would panic run/throw.
Brissett end the day going 8-11 for 149-yards and a touchdown, while Driskel went 10-11 for 133-yards and a rushing touchdown. It should also be noted that Brissett played with the Blue team as well, completing one pass (on one attempt) for 52-yards.
Gillislee is going to be the starting running back to enter fall camp. Brown and Johnson however, are going to be in a heated battle for the main backup role. Gillislee ended up with 6 carries for 35-yards, while Brown and Johnson had 31-yards and 18-yards respectively.
(All stats provided by GatorZone)