SIX BITS: Westbrook, Alli, Brantley, lax, Dunlap

1 » At a Gator Gathering in Orlando, FL on Tuesday, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp announced that sophomore Tevin Westbrook (6’5” 268 lbs.) will switch from defensive end to tight end over the summer. Westbrook, who appeared in three games as a true freshman but did not see much action in those contests, was one of the last players to commit to Florida in 2011 and did so knowing that he would not play much right away as the team had plans to develop his talents. There were rumors that Westbrook was considering transferring following the spring but he has apparently decided to take on this new challenge. He committed to UF over offers from Connecticut, North Carolina, Purdue and South Florida.

2 » Muschamp also touched on a number of other topics during the event. He noted that redshirt junior wide receiver Stephen Alli will miss approximately three months of action after having successful surgery on a stress fracture in his leg, depleting the team’s pass catchers even further, and added that linebacker Graham Stewart, who the school announced last week decided to transfer, will move on to UConn.

3 » Four-star defensive tackle Caleb Brantley, a pledge to the Gators since Jan. 28, wrote Monday on Facebook that he is now a soft commitment to Florida. UF’s third-highest rated recruit according to Rivals at No. 82 overall and best overall recruit according to ESPNU (No. 18), Brantley wanted to reassure Gators fans that while his commitment status has changed he is not planning to play for any other team but Florida. “I feel like I rushed myself into a commitment, that is all,” he told InsidetheGators.com of his decision to open his recruitment slightly. “Not ever, I am not decommitting,” he added. “Florida is at number one, like way in front of the pack, but then you have Bama at two and three is USC and Florida State.” Other schools have continued to recruit Brantley, but he was quick to note that the Gators have been in constant contact with him as well. In addition to visiting other campuses, Brantley also plans to speak with Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to get a better feeling of what Florida’s depth chart will look like upon his arrival.

4 » Gators lacrosse received a special distinction on Tuesday, just one day after learning they will be the No. 1 overall seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. As the newest top 25 polls were released, Florida learned that they are the new unanimous No. 1 team in the country. UF took down previously top-ranked Northwestern for the second time this season on Saturday to win the 2012 ALC Tournament and is now both the fastest program in school history to receive a No. 1 ranking and the fastest program in collegiate women’s lacrosse history to earn that distinction. NCAA Tournament action for the Gators begins on May 12 at 1 p.m. against Albany.

5 » Cincinnati Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap is ready for his breakout. After leading Cincinnati in sacks as a rookie with 9.5 (all of which he registered in the final eight games of the season), Dunlap slowed down a bit in his sophomore campaign and only registered 4.5. Slowed by a foot injury in the preseason and a hamstring injury that nagged him over the final few games, he struggled to be completely healthy and consistently effective; Dunlap hopes to improve on both in 2012. “When you get there you expect to get the sack. It’s better to be there than not be there,” Dunlap told the Cincinnati Enquirer of being around the quarterback but not bringing him down. “When I was starting to get them then the unfortunate situation [injury] happened. Now I want to have a complete season. The hamstring is one of those things that really doesn’t go away until you give it good rest. This year I didn’t want it holding me back.”

6 » Cleveland Indians outfielder Johnny Damon, an 18-year MLB veteran and long-time Gators fan who actually committed to Florida before deciding to play professionally, recently provided financial support to the UF College of Medicine in order to aid research opportunities. The $16,000 contribution from Damon’s foundation will be used to help study “a genetic condition called glycogen storage disease type III, which prevents children and adults from properly processing sugar stored in the body,” according to UF. Researchers are currently doing work on the Faroe Islands (where one in 3,000 people have the disease compared to one in 100,000 in the United States) to learn about the disease and determine if they can find a solution that could not only help people with the disease but also “potentially change the course of care for [people with] high blood pressure and other common conditions.”

“Johnny Damon has no connection to this disease, so his willingness to help means a lot to me,” said David Weinstein, M.D., a professor of pediatrics in the UF College of Medicine and director of the UF Glycogen Storage Disease Program. “We hear often about problems in sports, but we don’t frequently hear about athletes who go out of their way to help people. We could not do this without his support.”

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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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3/26: Muschamp discusses first spring scrimmage

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp spoke at length Monday about the first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday, how the team is coming together early into the spring practice session and how some individual players are progressing.

GILLISLEE AND POWELL STAND OUT

Two of the players that the team needs the most out of in 2012 – senior running back Mike Gillislee and junior Buck linebacker Ronald Powell

“You look at the two players of the day – Mike Gillislee and Ronald Powell both had great offseasons,” he said. “They didn’t miss a day. They worked hard. They’ve done a great job in the weight room. They’ve done a great job in our offseason program. And they’ve both, in the first seven days of spring, have had really good springs. They’re in shape and they’re attentive to detail of what they have to do to be successful.”

Gillislee was one of the reasons that Florida was “able to run the ball pretty effectively throughout the scrimmage.” He has also improved his blocking immensely. “Protection he did a nice job,” Muschamp said. “One of the first series there he did a nice job [with] protection, blocking on the edge and then had a nice run for a 20-yard gain, caused two guys to miss. He’s got good vision and a good feel for the running game.”

Being named the official starter seems to be a formality at this point for Gillislee, but it is a goal he will have to continue working towards, according to Muschamp. “If he continues down the same path, there’s no question,” he said. “That’s where competition is your best motivator. I know he’s got guys behind him that are pushing him and doing a good job as well.”

Muschamp also said that Powell was the most productive player on defense; he continues to be impressed with how hard he has worked on a day-to-day basis. “Ronald had a couple good third down stops, a couple good pressures, a sack. He continues to play well. His pad level has improved and his hand placement playing blocks,” he said.

INJURY UPDATES

» Redshirt junior wide receiver Stephen Alli (groin) – day-to-day, missed scrimmage
» Junior WR Solomon Patton (groin) – “week-to-week,” missed scrimmage
» Redshirt freshman WR Ja’Juan Story (ankle) – back this week, missed scrimmage
» Redshirt senior defensive end Earl Okine (back) – out for spring
» Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Leon Orr (shoulder) – back Monday, missed scrimmage

Sophomore cornerback Marcus Roberson remains in a non-contact jersey but is still participating in one-on-ones and 7-on-7 skeleton drills. The team is trying to work him into some drills so he can continue getting all of the reactions down, but he is “not in the fray” as far as tackling and taking on blocks.

PLAYER EVALUATIONS

Starting quarterback job: “Nobody really distanced themselves as far as the quarterback position. I thought both guys did play well, did some good things. There is no separation. We will continue to split reps with all three – Tyler Murphy did some nice things as well. […] Really for a first scrimmage, with a lot of new stuff going on, I was very pleased. There was really no procedural issues. A couple times we had to get them back in the huddle to make sure we had the right things communicated. For a first scrimmage, after six practices, I was very pleased with that. There wasn’t a whole lot of lining up offsides, jumping – none of that. For a first scrimmage, I thought both guys managed the huddle very well, getting them in and out and on the play clock the whole time. We had one delay of game [out of] close to 100 snaps in the scrimmage. That was very pleasing as far as just managing our team. They can be more accurate with the ball. Both were the same as far as their completion percentages – right around 60. We’ve got to do a better job catching the football, making some plays around them and being more accurate with the ball, especially on critical downs like third down. They had a couple dropped here and there – both of them did. There wasn’t a whole lot of separation to speak of.”

Freshman offensive linemen D.J. Humphries and Jessamen Dunker: “[They] are both doing an outstanding job up front. Both guys are way ahead athletically than most big guys are at this time. Both guys are very talented. How quickly they will continue to pick up on what they’re doing – time will tell. I’m very pleased with both of those young men.”

Freshman linebacker Antonio Morrison: “Antonio Morrison is a physical, tough, instinctive linebacker that has done some nice things for us.”

Freshman cornerback Willie Bailey: “Willie Bailey just needs to get stronger. Willie is talented. Willie can run. He’s got length; he’s got size for the position. We just got to get stronger in the weight room. He’s got cover skills, and he’s a willing tackler. He’ll take on and play blocks. I’m real pleased with him.”

Freshman wide receiver Latroy Pittman: “I’ve been very pleased with his progress to this point. Very encouraged. Latroy is another guy who came in and had a great offseason, works hard every day, gives everything he’s got. I’ve been very pleased with his attitude and his playmaking ability. He’s a stronger guy from being a freshman. […] I don’t know where he was rated, so don’t ask me that, but we really liked him in camp. We thought he was a really good player. But he committed a long time ago, too, so that lost its luster, too. If they commit too early then they’re not as good as the other guys.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On the offense in the scrimmage: “ I thought offensively we did a nice job getting some movement up front. Did a nice job – we had a red zone period – I thought our offense did a nice job executing down there in the red zone.”

» On the defense in the scrimmage: “It’s a give-and-take. The defense didn’t stop them very well at times. It didn’t’ play as well up front as I thought we should. We weren’t as productive at the linebacker position as I’d like to be.”

» Muschamp said the starting offensive line consisted of senior left tackle Xavier Nixon, redshirt senior left guard James Wilson, redshirt junior center Jonotthan Harrison, redshirt junior right guard Jon Halapio and redshirt junior right tackle Matt Patchan. He singled out Nixon and Halapio as standouts on the offensive line.

» He also said that redshirt senior WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. had a nice practice including taking a reverse for a touchdown and showcasing some solid blocking and catching down the field.

» Muschamp believes the defense was too inconsistent across the board during the scrimmage and noted that tackling was a constant issue, especially in the secondary where there were eight missed tackles.

» On not seeing a lot of production from the linebackers in the scrimmage: “When you’re in one of those [hard-hitting scrimmages], you’d like to have a little bit more production from the linebacker position. It was not all their fault; we need to play blocks better up front. We need to take down teams and not let them climb to the next level so quickly, which certainly happened at times.”

» Muschamp said that, after spring is over, he will sit down with both staffs, create a depth chart and figure out who can play and who cannot. “Either you get it done or we move forward and try to find somebody else who can do it,” he said.

» On if he is noticing the team becoming tougher: “We’ve made strides. I really believe that. We’ll find out in the ball. But as a coach, for the first time, I felt like there were some pads popping in practice last week.”

» On Tim Tebow going to New York: “His press conference is bigger than mine. […] Obviously the New York Jets got better. You look at what he did in Denver, taking them to the playoffs, he did a phenomenal job. You meet Tim and you understand that he has the ‘it’ factor. He positively affects everybody around him. It’s pretty well-documented what he did for the University of Florida but not just [here] – college football. He’s had his opportunity on Denver and took them to the playoffs, and now he has a great opportunity in New York.”

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3/23: Muschamp, Gators talk spring practice

A handful of Florida Gators football players met with the media on Thursday to discuss how their offseasons have been going, and head coach Will Muschamp did the same on Friday in order to go over how some of the players have been progressing heading into a team scrimmage on Saturday morning.

“[Saturday’s] scrimmage obviously should create some separation,” he said. “It’s the first time the defensive coaches will not be on the field at all. Offensively we’re still working through some things so obviously they’ll be involved a little bit as far as getting guys aligned in some situations to make sure the huddle procedures are right, the quarterbacks and managing our huddle and managing our football team.”

INJURY UPDATES

» Redshirt junior wide receiver Stephen Alli (groin) – day-to-day, out for scrimmage
» Junior WR Solomon Patton (groin) – “week-to-week,” out for scrimmage
» Redshirt freshman WR Ja’Juan Story (ankle) – day-to-day, out for scrimmage
» Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Leon Orr (shoulder) – day-to-day, doubtful for scrimmage

With three pass catchers set to miss the scrimmage on Saturday, Muschamp joked (or at least he seemed to be) that WR coach Aubrey Hill was going to line up on offense. “We’re a little short there,” he said. “With what we’re doing, it will create some opportunities for Trey Burton doing some different things. Omarius Hines is still playing tight end looks and [we will] flex him in some situations.”

Muschamp also said that freshman tight end Kent Taylor, who will not be on campus until the summer, could very well see a lot of action in his first year and that he has been putting on weight as the coaches have asked. “Certainly he’s a guy that obviously athletically does a nice job stretching the field. In our camps this summer he did a great job as far as that is concerned – stretching the field vertically,” he said.

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3/19: Muschamp talks youth, injuries, RBs

Head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday before the Florida Gators began their third spring practice of the offseason. He touched on a number of issues concerning the team including its youth, injury issues and options at running back.

INJURY UPDATES

» Redshirt junior wide receiver Stephen Alli (groin) – day-to-day
» Redshirt senior defensive end Earl Okine (back) – day-to-day
» Junior WR Solomon Patton (groin) – “week-to-week”
» Sophomore cornerback Louchiez Purifoy (shoulder) – should practice

» Sophomore CB Marcus Roberson (neck) – out for spring

After injuring his neck in a game against South Carolina, Roberson was forced to miss the remainder of the season and was seen sporting a neck brace as recently as a few weeks ago. Asked why Roberson was participating in some shadow-type drills even though he was listed as being a non-contact player, Muschamp got a little snippy.

“He is moving around fine. Again, it’s just a contact issue. We’re not going to have him do any contact,” he said. “That’s what the orange jersey means. I had to explain that last fall – what non-contact means. Do we have to go through that again? Non-contact means ‘no contact.’”

He then got into specifics on Roberson’s injury and why he has been out so long.

“It was a displacement in the neck area. It was a very serious issue. It was all very healable as far as the medical process is concerned. It just takes time,” Muschamp explained. “He was in a neck brace for 6-8 weeks – a stationary brace. Then he was in a less-confining brace for another six weeks. It was a pretty – it was a scary injury.

“He came in on Sunday [after the injury] and told me, and it was scary. It really was. Any time you deal with the head and the neck, football’s over as far as I am concerned. Our medical people do a great job. They put him through every test you can imagine – took all the pictures and did all the stuff you do. They cleared him for non-contact.

“Marcus is a competitor and any time you take that away from someone, it is very frustrating. Marcus was down – bad. I was worried about him just as a human being. He was really depressed about the situation, something he loves and cares about so much maybe being taken away from him. He’s a guy you’re glad to see back out there. Football is important to him. He likes playing the games, as you see out there. It’s very hard for him to be non-contact. He’s a competitive guy and he likes to play the game.”

PLENTY OF RUNNING BACKS COMPETING

Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey graduating automatically made the Gators bigger at the running back position. However, their departure also left a void as far as depth is concerned. Senior Mike Gillislee and redshirt sophomore Mack Brown have stepped up into the first- and second-string roles, respectively, and Muschamp spoke positively about both on Monday.

“Mike GIllislee is a guy we’re excited about,” he said. “Mack Brown is playing his best ball since he’s been at Florida, according to Brian White who I spoke to this morning.”

He also discussed two players that the team has recently moved into a backfield role – redshirt senior Omarius Hines (tight end) and sophomore Chris Johnson (linebacker/safety).

“He’s an explosive athlete. He’s done some nice things,” Muschamp said of Hines. “It’s hard to judge in helmets obviously. He’s done some nice things carrying the ball. He’s a guy that has got some instincts with the ball in his hands and I’m interested to see him progress. He’s got good hands. We felt that way going in. more than anything, it was adding a bigger body to the backfield. A guy that has played and who we need to find a role for, find some different ways to get him the football.”

He noted that Johnson moved to offense, in part, because he did not necessarily have a full-time role on defense. “Chris really is a tweener as far as the secondary is concerned,” he said. “He gets swallowed up a little bit as a linebacker. I feel like he’s a very physical safety, he’s got a physical nature. He’s a box safety type of guy. He does a nice job in the open part of the field. He’s was a guy that was a good back in high school and a guy that’s got some explosive power. Let’s give him that opportunity to take a shot. We’ve been pretty pleased so far in, again, three days.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On redshirt sophomore wide receiver Quinton Dunbar: “Quinton has always worked extremely hard and he had a great offseason this past offseason. Quinton was a redshirt freshman and I would say there aren’t many redshirt freshman that you rely on to be your go-to guy as far as the receiver position or any positions is concerned. Now he’s a year older. I challenged him in front of the entire team. I said, ‘You’re not a freshman anymore. It’s time to take the next step as a football player.’ More than anything it didn’t have anything to do with physical ability, it had to do with mental aptitude, consistency in his performance every day, week-in and week-out in our league.”

» On if he often calls guys out in front of the team: “The other day, when we first started, I called several guys out and told them they need to step up at different position groups. I addressed the entire team about where we are right now. As much as anything, we let everybody understand what our expectation level is so we’re all on the same page. I think it’s important to do that in front of the whole group – offense or defense or in front of the entire team.”

» On how the quarterbacks are progressing: “All three guys are working hard at it. They’re up there watching film and constantly trying to improve themselves and get better. Again, physical ability all three possess the qualities to be good quarterbacks. I want to see them continue to progress this spring.”

» On if he is keeping up with the basketball team: “I’m a big Billy Donovan fan. We were shooting the lights out early yesterday, I know that. We were hot. I love basketball. I love watching and I’m a big fan of Billy Donovan.”

» On redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed: “He’s a guy that’s an explosive match-up issue as far as a defense is concerned. I thought he improved his blocking tremendously for a guy that hasn’t done it a whole lot. […] He’s a guy that continues to make strides as far as that is concerned.”

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Muschamp, Pease talk Florida Gators offense

With the Florida Gators set to begin 2012 spring practice on Wednesday, head coach Will Muschamp and new offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics concerning the team’s offense.

RELATED: Muschamp, Quinn talk Gators team, defense | Spring depth chart

QUARTERBACK COMPETITION

After both playing sparingly as freshmen, sophomore quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel will go head-to-head in spring practice to determine who will win the starting job this season. However, as Muschamp and Pease both pointed out in their respective press conferences, should neither player distinguish himself from the other, Florida could very well use two quarterbacks in 2012.

» Muschamp on the competition: “Jeff and Jacoby will split reps, and we’ll name a starter when we’re ready. Whether that’s spring, summer, fall camp – I don’t know. We would like to declare a starter and move forward with it, but we’ll name that when it’s ready. And obviously Brent does an outstanding job with the quarterbacks, and we will evaluate that – he and I – as far as what’s best for our football team. We want to name a starter, but we’re going to do what we need to win games. If we’ve got to play both guys, we’ll play both guys, and we will make that determination as we work through this. But both guys have had good offseasons and [I’m] very pleased with their progress to this point and where we are.”

» Muschamp on if he is OK with playing two quarterbacks: “Prefer to play one. Prefer to play one. But again, at the end of the day, you’ve got to make the best decision for the team. If one guy doesn’t distance himself from the other then you play two. You look at it as no different than any other position. We’ll see how that plays itself out.”

» Muschamp on how one can distance himself from the pack: “Manage our football team – on the field, in the locker room, in the meeting room, [be] productive, accurate, whatever adjectives you want to throw on top of it, helping our football team move the ball down the field and score points.”

» Pease on if either player has an advantage over the other: “No, I don’t believe that. I haven’t really seen anything to associate I think it’s coming in, everything is based off of the fact that they’re here. I think the fact that they’ve been consistent off season in workouts, and they’re two of the guys that can lead the team. There’s going to be other guys that get reps also but right now they’re the guys in the position that they kind of were at last year. They’re the guys that can lead the team. I mean, I haven’t even seen these guys throw a football other than watching film of them and some of it goes back to some high school when they were in high school and I watched them. That’s kind of what I know of them right now.”

Pease on if he is OK with playing two quarterbacks: “Yeah, I’ve been in a situation where you’ve had to use both. It’ll work well if you’ve got the right type of kids that both can compete and you kind of use their strengths to how you’re going to manage the game. Not particularly in favor of that. I’d rather see one kid step forward and take charge and be productive and let it be his team. But if that’s not the way it works out, then as coaches you’ve got to do what’s best for your football team.”

» Muschamp on the future of redshirt sophomore Tyler Murphy: “He’s a quarterback. Tyler is battling in there with Jacoby and Jeff and obviously they’ve kind of distanced themselves a little bit, but I’m very pleased with Tyler. He’s a very good athlete, very smart, very dependable guy and a guy that certainly will get his opportunity and reps in the spring. […] No [he will not change positions] at this time. I think Tyler is a quarterback, and that’s where we see his future at the University of Florida.”

Read more about the offense’s players and Pease’s offensive philosophy…
Continue Reading » Muschamp, Pease talk Florida Gators offense

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Florida Gators 2012 spring practice depth chart

You may be excited that, in a few lines, you are getting a look at the Florida Gators 2012 spring practice depth chart. Don’t be. As he explained one year ago, head coach Will Muschamp does not put a lot of stock in the spring’s first depth chart, referring to it in 2011 as not worth the paper it was printed on. In other words, it is just a starting-off point for 2012 and plenty can change between now and the end of spring, the start of summer, the beginning of fall or when the season starts. Nevertheless, below is the depth chart as it was presented on March 13.

RELATED: Muschamp, Pease talk offense | Muschamp, Quinn talk defense

Florida omitted players who are injured or limited and not participating in spring practice. A list of those players can be found at the end along with some additional explanations.

QB: 12 Jacoby Brissett OR 6 Jeff Driskel
RB: 23 Mike Gillislee, 33 Mack Brown
FB: 8 Trey Burton OR 43 Hunter Joyer
WR (X): 4 Andre Debose, 89 Stephen Alli
WR (Z): 1 Quinton Dunbar, 83 Solomon Patton
WR (Slot): 85 Frankie Hammond, Jr., 13 Latroy Pittman
TE: 11 Jordan Reed, 20 Omarius Hines* OR 88 Clay Burton

LT: 71 Matt Patchan*, 73 Xavier Nixon
LG: 66 James Wilson, 50 Sam Robey*
C: 72 Jonotthan Harrison, 64 Kyle Koehne*
RG: 67 Jon Halapio, 74 Jessamen Dunker
RT: 75 Chaz Green, 71 Matt Patchan*

DE: 73 Sharrif Floyd*, 91 Earl Okine
DT: 44 Leon Orr*, 4 Damien Jacobs*
NT: 99 Omar Hunter, 58 Nick Alajajian
Buck DE: 7 Ronald Powell, 25 Gideon Ajagbe*
SLB: 49 Darren Kitchens, 55 Graham Stewart
MLB: 1 Jon Bostic, 51 Michael Taylor
WLB: 3 Jelani Jenkins, 72 Antonio Morrison

CB: 15 Louchiez Purifoy, 27 Willie Bailey
CB: 31 Cody Riggs*, 14 Jaylen Watkins
Nickel CB: 22 Matt Elam*, 31 Cody Riggs
S: 22 Matt Elam*, 26 De’Ante Saunders
S: 9 Josh Evans, 10 Valdez Showers*

K: 19 Caleb Sturgis, 97 Brad Phillips
P: 44 Kyle Christy
H: 47 John Crowfoot, 44 Kyle Christy
LS: 46 Drew Ferris, 43 Kyle Crowfoot
KR/PR: Not listed

LIMITED FOR SPRING: LB Neiron Ball (vascular condition), CB Marcus Roberson (neck)

OUT FOR SPRING: CB Jeremy Brown (knee), DT Dominique Easley (ACL), OL Cole Gilliam (shoulder), DE Kedric Johnson (shoulder), OL Tommy Jordan (shoulder), LB Lerentee McCray (shoulder), OL Ian Silberman (shoulder)

*BEING CROSS-TRAINED: Floyd – DE/DT/NT, Jacobs – DT/NT, Riggs – S/CB/NCB, Elam – S/NCB, Hines – RB/TE, Patchan – LT/RT, Orr – DT/DE, Ajagbe – SLB/Buck, Jabari Gorman – S/NCB, Showers – S/NCB, Robey – C/G, Koehne – G/C

OGGOA NOTES
– TE A.C. Leonard remains indefinitely suspended from the team for his recent arrest for misdemeanor domestic battery. He would fit in at the first or second slot at his position.
– Wilson was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, a big win for the Gators and their lack of depth and experience on the offensive line.
– Freshman D.J. Humphries, expected to make an impact at offensive tackle, is not yet on the two-deep depth chart likely due to an off-the-field reason like weight or conditioning.
– Brown (CB), Roberson (CB), Easley (DT), McCray (SLB) are four other starters/potential starters who are currently off the depth chart due to injury.

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