Florida Gators 2012 opening week depth chart

Though things could still change over the next five days, the Florida Gators on Monday morning released the team’s first official depth chart for the 2012 season. As was noted by head coach Will Muschamp last week, sophomore quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel will both play against the Bowling Green Falcons though who will take the first snap has not yet been determined.

Florida omitted players who are not participating in the season opener, therefore the below depth chart is not the “best case scenario” version. A list of those players can be found at the end along with some additional explanations.

QB: Jeff Driskel OR Jacoby Brissett
RB: Mike Gillislee, Mack Brown
FB: Hunter Joyer, Trey Burton
WR (X): Frankie Hammond, Jr., Latroy Pittman/Andre Debose
WR (Z): Quinton Dunbar, Solomon Patton
F: Trey Burton, Omarius Hines
TE: Jordan Reed, Clay Burton

LT: Xavier Nixon, Kyle Koehne
LG: James Wilson, Ian Silberman
C: Jonotthan Harrison, Sam Robey
RG: Jon Halapio, Jessamen Dunker
RT: Chaz Green, Trip Thurman

DE: Dominique Easley, Earl Okine
DT: Sharrif Floyd, Damien Jacobs
NT: Omar Hunter, Leon Orr
Buck DE: Lerentee McCray, Dante Fowler, Jr.
Sam LB: Darrin Kitchens, Neiron Ball
Mike LB: Jon Bostic, Michael Taylor
Will LB: Jelani Jenkins, Antonio Morrison

CB: Jaylen Watkins OR Louchiez Purifoy
CB: Marcus Roberson OR Cody Riggs
S: Matt Elam, Valdez Showers
S: Josh Evans, Jabari Gorman
Nickel CB: Matt Elam, Jaylen Watkins
Dime CB: Matt Elam, Brian Poole

K: Caleb Sturgis, Brad Phillips
P: Kyle Christy, Todd Fennell
H: John Crofoot, Tyler Murphy
LS: Drew Ferris, Kyle Crofoot
KR: Andre Debose, Solomon Patton
PR: Marcus Roberson, Andre Debose

OUT SATURDAY: Redshirt junior tackle Matt Patchan (pectoral), sophomore defensive back De’Ante Saunders (hamstring), junior Buck linebacker Ronald Powell (ACL), freshman tight end Colin Thompson (foot), senior defensive lineman Nick Alajajian (knee), redshirt junior DL Kedric Johnson (knee)

POSSIBLY OUT SATURDAY: Redshirt junior DB Jeremy Brown (wrist), freshman LT D.J. Humphries (MCL), freshman DB Marcus Maye (knee), redshirt freshman OL Tommy Jordan (shoulder)

NOTES
- Debose is not listed as a starting receiver.
- Koehne and Thurman are inserted as reserve tackles because Patchan is out.
- Silberman is listed as the second-string left guard because Koehne is filling in at tackle.
- Taylor is at Mike LB and Morrison at Will LB as reserves but both are interchangeable.
- All four cornerbacks are expected to see 75 percent of the snaps in a particular game.
- Phillips beat out freshman Austin Hardin for the No. 2 kicker job.
- Murphy is the back-up holder after working on that during the fall.

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8/23: Quinn on reserve LBs, secondary, pass rush

Florida Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had plenty to say just over a week before the 2012 regular season is set to begin and did exactly that on Thursday afternoon. Quinn discussed the team’s reserve linebackers, how the secondary is shaping up and who is stepping up in the pass rush.

VERSATILITY IN THE MIDDLE

Not every defensive coordinator is lucky enough to have two terrific inside linebackers like senior Jon Bostic (Mike) and redshirt junior Jelani Jenkins (Will). According to Quinn on Thursday, his embarrassment of riches extends to their reserves as both redshirt sophomore Michael Taylor and true freshman Antonio Morrison are making themselves known during practice.

Taylor, the primary back-up to Bostic in 2011, said recently that he has been switching between Mike and Will in practice in order to become more versatile. That is good news considering Quinn somewhat revealed that it will be Morrison behind Bostic this season.

“This guy is really coming on,” he said. “I like his instincts. I like his toughness. I think he’s got a big future ahead of him, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Quinn did say, however, that both Morrison and Taylor can play either inside position and that he is completely comfortable with moving them back and forth until he figures out which player is best at which position.

SECONDARY COMING TOGETHER BUT NOT YET SET

It should be no surprise junior Matt Elam and senior Josh Evans will be starting at safety for the Gators, though it was interesting when Quinn noted that junior Cody Riggs has been spending plenty of time back there after mostly serving as a cornerback and nickel corner in 2011.

Riggs along with junior Jaylen Watkins and sophomores Marcus Roberson and Louchiez Purifoy are all competing for the two starting cornerback jobs though Quinn pointed out (just like head coach Will Muschamp has repeatedly) that the team will probably be starting three each game and all four will see plenty of time on the field.

“It’s nice having so many of those guys return, know the same language going into training camp and moving forward,” he said. “I kind of have a feeling it will work itself out like it usually does through the course of the season and as we get through a few ballgames.”

IMPROVING THE PASS RUSH

Read the rest of what Quinn had to say on Thursday…after the break!
Continue Reading » 8/23: Quinn on reserve LBs, secondary, pass rush

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8/20: Muschamp on roster, starters, injuries, etc.

With the Florida Gators under two weeks away from the beginning of the season and set to compete in their third and final scrimmage of training camp on Tuesday, head coach Will Muschamp met with the media to provide updates on the team.

SOME, BUT NOT ALL ROSTER DECISIONS MADE ON SUNDAY

Muschamp said on Saturday that the entire coaching staff would sit down Sunday and iron out the roster in order to determine who should get the most reps heading into the third and final scrimmage. Though he said that the Gators will not be releasing a depth chart until Aug. 27, Muschamp explained what was accomplished Sunday as far as organizing the roster is concerned.

“We looked at the roster and went through everybody. We did not necessarily set depth charts; I know everybody will be asking for that. We will release that Monday of game week,” he said. “More than anything we narrowed down who is getting reps and then talked in terms of special teams. Who are the guys that we need to be stepping up on special teams for us? Especially some of the younger players, where are they figuring in as far as snaps are concerned.”

Florida has now mostly figured out out which “guys we can count on” and “guys that we need to continue to rep,” an important step before a the final scrimmage on Tuesday that will look in many ways like a game day.

“We’re going to have another situational scrimmage. We’ll treat it like game day,” Muschamp explained. “We’ll have a pre-game at 11:30 [a.m.], and we’re going to kick it off at 3:30 [p.m.]. We’re going to go in for halftime; we’re going to come out. We’ll have to be able to adjust coming out of the locker room and put them in some situations.

“We’ll have some move-the-field. I want to have another [situation of] coming out off the goal line. We weren’t very good in the first scrimmage on that. Some more third-down work, some more red zone work and then some just getting on the field and functioning as an offense, get the coaches in the booth. It will now be our third time [doing that]. That, as much as anything, is what [Sunday] was about.”

SO…WHO IS STARTING?

Though position-by-position starters were not discussed by Muschamp on Monday, he did provide a handful of notes on who has nailed down jobs prior to the third scrimmage.

QUARTERBACK
Sophomores Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel will continue splitting reps down the middle during practice on Monday and the scrimmage on Tuesday. Muschamp said both will be non-contact (the plan was apparently always to return to that) for he duration of practice heading into the game on Sept 1.

Muschamp noted over the weekend that he expects to name a starter on Aug. 27 (along with the release of the entire team’s depth chart) but also said that Driskel’s bruised shoulder will be reevaluated next Monday. That can be looked at one of two ways: Either the health of his shoulder is a deciding factor as to whether or not he gets the start (in which case one would expect that evaluation to occur before the press conference) or it is a non-factor (in which case the time is of no matter).

Either way, Muschamp is pleased with the way both have improved.

“Both guys, I would say, are just commanding the huddle, knowledge of the system, understanding what Brent [Pease] wants,” he said. “What I have seen with both guys is a maturity level now of anticipating some of the situations that come up and what we’re going to go to. When you start getting that then you start maturing as a player and you’ll play better because you have better anticipation of what’s going to happen.”

Read the rest of what Muschamp had to say on Monday…after the break!
Continue Reading » 8/20: Muschamp on roster, starters, injuries, etc.

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8/9: Gators speak about team, position battles

With the Florida Gators entrenched in their first week of fall practice, a handful of players spoke with the media on Thursday about how things are going as the team prepares for the 2012 season. Due to time constraints, the quotes below have not been formulated into individual segments as is tradition in these posts.

Michael Taylor – redshirt sophomore linebacker

» On if he is playing Mike or Will linebacker: “I’m trying to be versatile and interchangeable so whenever I’m on the field I can do whatever to help the team.”

» On freshman LB Antonio Morrison: “That boy love to hit. That’s my buddy right there. He’s picking up the calls. He picked them up a lot quicker than I did when it was my first year here.”

» On which of his position-mates have taken on a leadership role:Lerentee [McCray]’s probably the most outspoken one out of the three of them.”

» On if the linebackers are the strength of the defense: “I think the whole defense is the strength of the defense. I don’t feel like we’re weak at one spot.”

Darrin Kitchens – junior linebacker

» On redshirt sophomore LB Neiron Ball: “Neiron Ball look great. He looks great. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with this year.”

» Kitchens said he, Ball and redshirt sophomore Gideon Ajagbe are working at Sam linebacker while McCray is pretty much solely taking reps at Buck linebacker.

» On if he thinks he has matured now that he is married: “I really do because it puts things in perspective. I have to essentially make things more important than they really were. Although things were important for me before, I know I’m not doing it for myself but I have a family to look after now.”

Louchiez Purifoy – sophomore cornerback

» On if the offense is going to be a problem for teams this year: “Right now it might just be a problem. They’re coming on strong. They’re getting ready to have something special.”

» Purifoy said four players – sophomore Marcus Roberson, junior Cody Riggs, junior Jaylen Watkins and himself – are competing for the two starting cornerback jobs.

» On how he describes his play: “I’m physical. I can run. I’m big. I put my hands on people. That’s it.”

» On how he distinguishes sophomore quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel: “They both have some similar similarities.”

» Purifoy said that redshirt sophomore Quinton Dunbar has been the best wide receiver so far in camp: “He’s fast. He’s got good hands, and he can get open.”

» On freshman WR Latroy Pittman: “He’s strong, physical. You got to really get physical with him because he’s a possession receiver. He can catch; he’s got great hands. He can catch in traffic, catch without it. He’s a good player who can come in and help us.”

Hunter Joyer – sophomore fullback

» On who is standing out at quarterback: “I really can’t even tell most of the time who is in there. They both do just about the same amount of work and they’re just as good, so it’s going to be a tough competition.”

» On if he will get more touches this year (via InsidetheGators.com): “It’s a huge role and I’d love to do that, love to be that person. Everyone likes to be able to touch the ball and do certain things, but I mean I’m fine with whatever the coaches ask me to do.”

Valdez Showers – redshirt freshman defensive back

» On how good the defense can be this year: “This defense could be very good, especially with the people we have in it. As long as everybody is on the same page, it could be a great defense.”

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2012 Orange & Blue Debut – Gameday Preview

Event: 2012 Orange & Blue Debut
Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Time: 1:00 p.m. (EST)
Reference: Roster | Schedule

TV: Sun Sports (in Florida, some other national cable outlets) SiriusXM: 91
Online Video: FOXSportsFlorida.com (nationally outside of the state of Florida)
Live Updates: @OnlyGators
OGGOA Live Coverage: Live Chat from 12:45-3:30 p.m.

EVENT INFORMATION

» Gator Walk: North side of stadium, exterior, 10:30 a.m. start
» Parking: The following parking locations are available first-come, first-serve for fans wishing to attend the game – O’Connell Center garage, O’Connell Center lot (disabled), Commuter Lot (Lemerand Dr.) with shuttle
» Gates/Seating: Open gates – 7, 8, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18 (west concourse closed for renovations); Open seats – general admission in open areas with gates opening at 11:30
» Former Gators in attendance: S Ahmad Black, DE Alex Brown, S Teako Brown, RB Ran Carthon, K Jeff Chandler, LB Andra Davis, WR Chris Doering, DE Carlos Dunlap, RB Ciatrick Fason, WR Jacquez Green, WR Percy Harvin, TE Aaron Hernandez, RB Terry Jackson, FB Billy Latsko, QB Terry LeCount, WR Travis McGriff, C Maurkice Pouncey, C Mike Pouncey, RB Chris Rainey, RB Errict Rhett, CB Lito Sheppard, LB Brandon Spikes, RB Fred Taylor, WR Travis Taylor, DT Gerard Warren (and more).
» 2013 Commits in attendance: WR Rodney Adams, DT Caleb Brantley, LB James Hearns, OL Roderick Johnson, RB Adam Lane, LB Dillan Lawson, LB Daniel McMillian, DB Keanu Neal, LB Quinton Powell, RB Kelvin Taylor, DB Nick Washington
» 2013 Recruits in attendance (partial list courtesy of InsideTheGators.com): WR Ahmad Fullwood, WR Reggie Davis, WR Taj Williams, WR Alvin Bailey, RB Ryan Green, DB Mackerno Alexander, DB Tre Bell, DB Leon McQuay III, DB Marcell Harris, OL Josh Cardiello, DB Adrian Baker, WR Richard Benjamin, DB Reggie Wilkerson, DE Jonathan Allen, ATH Marcus Clark, LB Keith Kelsey, Jr., QB John O’Korn, OL Joshua Outlaw, WR Carlos Burse, OL Cameron Dillard, DE Joey Bosa, DE Demarcus Walker, DB Damonte Jones, DB Jamonte Jones (and more).

Additional information including the game format, injury report, team notes and who to keep an eye on all are available…after the break!
Continue Reading » 2012 Orange & Blue Debut – Gameday Preview

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4/5: Floyd outside, Wilson debuting, Nixon, Riggs

A handful of Florida Gators spoke on Thursday about how they and the team as a whole is coming along heading into the 2012 Orange & Blue Debut on Saturday, April 7. The scrimmage will air live on Sun Sports and FOXSportsFlorida.com at 1 p.m.

FLOYD STILL PLAYING DEFENSIVE END

It was quite obvious during the 2011 season that junior Sharrif Floyd was not completely comfortable playing defensive end and succeed at a higher level by playing defensive tackle. However with two solid players on the inside and lacking players on the outside, Floyd bit his lip and played end to help the team. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn noted at the beginning of the spring that Floyd is indeed better suited to play inside and that he would see more work there this year although he would also continue playing end for depth reasons. That is not necessarily what is happening on the practice fields.

“It’s one of my best springs since I’ve been at Florida,” Floyd said Thursday. “I’m still out at defensive end and getting better at each day at it. Now I understand it so it’s no problem with me anymore.”

It may not be a “problem” for him but Floyd nodded in agreement when asked if he preferred to play inside. “We’re still low on numbers right now so it’s still about what we have and what we need,” he explained. “As of now, in our base front, I’m the D-end. In the nickel front, I’m the defensive tackle. It hasn’t been that way throughout spring ball because of numbers so right now I’m at D-end. Ideally, getting ready for the season, I should be inside for good or, depending the way it goes, I’ll be playing both.”

WILSON READY FOR HIS FIRST SPRING DEBUT

In his sixth year with the Gators, redshirt senior guard James Wilson will actually be participating in his very first Orange & Blue Debut on Saturday. Wilson, 23, has experienced a myriad of knee injuries since joining the team in 2007 and plans to use his extra year of eligibility to ensure that he leaves Florida satisfied with his career and out on a high note.

“It was really tough,” Wilson said of being injured for so long. “Sometimes I couldn’t even – I’d have to call someone to come help me and get my knees loose [after waking up in the morning]. Now it’s all good, smooth sailing. Knock on wood.”

Interestingly enough, Wilson credits new strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman for his improved health. “I really think it has a lot to do with Coach Dillman and the strength and conditioning program we have now. A lot more power lifting – the stuff I did in high school. I really feel a lot stronger,” he said.”

He also thinks that the offensive line as a whole is much improved from a year ago and is excited to see what they can do in 2012. “We’re just more tight; we communicate,” he said. “We’re comfortable with each other. We tell each other when one is slacking off and when one’s not. It’s just more like a family.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Redshirt sophomore Chaz Green said he redshirt junior Matt Patchan have been rotating at right tackle while senior Xavier Nixon has pretty much locked down the left tackle job with his much improved play this offseason. “He’s playing real well this spring. I think he’s had the best spring that I’ve seen. He’s looking good,” he said.

» Junior cornerback Cody Riggs on the improvement of sophomore CB Louchiez Purifoy: “He’s doing real good. He’s improved a lot from last year. He’s always been physical; he’s a big body out there at corner. He can really help us on defense.”

» Riggs on sophomore CB Marcus Roberson and how he’s doing coming back from injury: “He looks good. I’ve played with him since high school, so he’s very talented and he’s doing real good out there.”

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4/2: Muschamp on QBs, special teams, motivation

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp spoke on Monday about the team’s weekend scrimmage while also previewing the 2012 Orange & Blue Debut set for 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 7 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

QUARTERBACK COMPETITION RAMPING UP BUT STILL EVEN

Though the team has participated in one-and-a-half scrimmages (Saturday’s was cut short at approximately 35 snaps due to lightning), sophomore quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel remain in a dead heat for the starting job.

“Not much separation. Both guys have done some nice things for us. For the few snaps we got in the scrimmage we did a nice job of managing our offense,” Muschamp said on Monday. “They’ve done a really nice job as far as procedural issues, getting in and out of the huddle. We do motions and shifts quite a bit and both of those guys are doing a really nice job of that.”

No matter what happens at the spring game on Saturday, Muschamp does not expect there to be any further clarity in who will start the first game of the season. He said it is “not going to be D-Day” for the players because one good practice will just be intertwined to the other 14 days of competing.

“I don’t know that we will name a starter after spring. We will go into the fall camp [without one]. That to me is becoming more and more evident every day that both guys are guys we can win with. Bottom line. That’s good for us. But both guys are competing at a high level, in my opinion, and they both have done outstanding things throughout spring,” he said. “I’m very pleased with their progress as much as anything in just managing our football team and getting in and out of the huddle and taking a command of the offense. Both of them are working extremely hard off the field. They’re always in the building watching film and doing the things you got to do to be successful. [...]

“The game slows down for older players because they’re able to see and anticipate. Even though we’ve changed some things from a verbiage standpoint, terminology, the game is slowing down for them.”

A MIXED BAG ON SPECIAL TEAMS

Muschamp was quite honest on Monday about the way his special teams unit performed in 2011: “We were really good in all categories, but we were not good in returning punts.” Therefore, Florida is working six players out as punt returners and eight as kick returners in order to get some added production from that unit.

Redshirt junior wide receiver Andre Debose is the team’s best returning threat (showcasing his ability as a kick returner last year) and has improved his hands from a year ago making him a legitimate option on the punting unit as well. He is getting plenty of competition there, however, from sophomore defensive backs Louchiez Purifoy, De’Ante Saunders and Marcus Roberson, redshirt senior WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. and even junior running back Trey Burton. That same group along with redshirt senior tight end Omarius Hines and junior DB Cody Riggs is returning kickoffs as well.

Muschamp is also hoping to see sophomore punter Kyle Christy improve his performance from a year ago. He said Christy “really punted the ball well” on Wednesday and continues to progress though he most show that he can be more consistent. “He’s got the leg. He’s got the tools. He’s got the talent. It’s a matter of doing it all the time,” he said. “As Kyle continued to improve that consistency, that’s’ what enabled him to get the job [in the middle of 2011].”

WORK ETHIC AND MOTIVATION ARE IMPROVING

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3/30: Muschamp on Leonard, spring progress

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp spoke at length Friday prior to the team’s second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday. He discussed not only the status of one player in particular but also how the offense is coming along and some individual things he is pleased with following the 10th practice of the spring session.

LEONARD RETURNS TO PRACTICE: AN EXPLANATION

Florida announced Wednesday that sophomore tight end A.C. Leonard had returned to practice following a six-week suspension from team activities that he incurred after being arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery. Though Leonard’s case is still pending, he returned to the team on Monday; however, his status for other activities is up in the air.

“After six weeks of being suspended from our football team, I felt like he’s done the things that I’ve asked him to do from the standpoint of the measures that I took with him to this point. And I’ve allowed him to practice only – only,” Muschamp said. “No decision on the fall has been made. No decision about playing as been made. He still has an awful lot of things to do in order to play for our football team and play for the University of Florida. He’s very remorseful about what happened. He made a mistake. And that’s all I’m going to comment on that at this point. All he has been cleared to do is practice.”

He did wind up commenting further on the situation, however. Muschamp said that Leonard’s status for the 2012 Orange & Blue Debut on April 7 is to be determined and then provided an anecdote to explain why discipline for one player or another is not always cut-and-dry depending on the reason they are being punished.

“At the end of the day, I’m not talking about this situation. I’m talking about just discipline in general. I’ll never forget when I was a defensive coordinator – and I’m not going to say where it was or who the head coach that was involved [was as] it was a guy I have tremendous respect for. We had three players late for a team meeting. When the team meeting got done, one of the players was my position players. [The head coach] went up to the three players and he looked at one player and said, ‘This doesn’t need to happen again.’ He looked at the next player and said, ‘You need to do this, this, this and this.’ He looked at the other player and listed 40 things he had to do. He’s the head coach. He’s the boss. ‘Yes sir.’

“We leave the team meeting and the middle guy came to me, he was my position guy, he came to me and said, ‘I don’t understand why one guy had nothing happen to him, I got this and the other guy, he’s going to have a lot of stuff he’s got to accomplish to work his way back.’ I said, ‘There’s only one person that can answer this – that’s the head football coach.’ So we walked down to his office and I said, ‘Tell him what you told me.’ He repeated the question he asked me.

“[The head coach] said, ‘Obviously you and Coach Muschamp don’t have all the information.’ No, I don’t. He said, ‘The first young man has made no poor decisions since he’s been here. He has done nothing wrong. He was late for the team meeting. We locked the doors, he was late, he had poor judgment and he was late for the meeting. It’s the only thing he’s ever done wrong.’ OK, that made a lot of sense to me. Then he said, ‘You’ve had this happen, this happen and this happen. Now you’re late for a team meeting. Obviously your judgment as a member of this football team is not very good. So that’s why I gave you the discipline I gave you. Now the other guy, he’s what we call a ‘list guy;’ he’s on every list in the building. He’s on the academic list. He’s on the training room list. He’s on the weight room list. He’s on every list in the building. So he has a very hard time with choices and decisions in life. So that’s why he’s got a bunch of stuff to come back from.’

“The point being made here is: I was an assistant coach and didn’t have all the information. The players don’t have all the information. And certainly just anything that’s public you don’t have all the information. Does that make sense? So a lot of times when discipline is handled within an organization – whether it’s a team or whatever it is – if you don’t have all the information it’s really hard to comment on why the discipline was handled in a certain way. Does that make sense?”

QUARTERBACKS MAKING PROGRESS

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