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August 15, 2013

9 ½ Questions: An open practice primer

As promised, the players and/or positional groups (in no particular order) I’ll be closely observing during Florida’s four open practices over the next week…

1. Tailback Adam Lane (FR) – The supposed MJD-twin – Lane is 5’7”, 222 pounds -- has drawn rave reviews from teammates and coaches. Let’s see what’ll the buzz is about.

2. Safety Keanu Neal (FR) – He must be doing something right to have his name in the hat for a starting safety job.

3. Florida’s defensive tackles – Aside from senior Dominique Easley, there’s a lot of unproven players here and not much readily available depth. And remember, Florida’s run defense (No. 4 nationally) was crucial to its success last season. In a similar story, Sharrif Floyd and Omar Hunter no longer play for the Gators.

4. Wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood (FR) – The rangy wideout (6’5”, 190) has hops, but can he beat press coverage?


(Courtesy GatorZone.com)

5. Defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. (RFR) – A spring star who has disappeared come training camp (also see: Brian Poole, cornerback).

6. The transfer trio – Left guard Max Garcia (RJR), right guard Tyler Moore (RSO) and mammoth tackle Trenton Brown (JR).

7. Tight end Colin Thompson (RFR) – If he can display improved route running, the starting job is there for the taking. 

8. Strong-side linebacker Ronald Powell (RJR) – How healthy is he really?

9. Quarterback Jeff Driskel (JR) – Don’t worry. I didn’t forget about him.

½. The kicking dilemma - 'Cause it’s that bad, ya’ll.  

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Notebook: Purifoy, Robinson & WAIT? AN OPEN PRACTICE!!!

The Gators will kickoff the first of four straight open practices tonight at 7:30 in the Florida lacrosse stadium. Of course, Friday's scrimmage is closed. Big shocker.

Still, the next six days will be a supreme opportunity to gauge just how good the Gators will be in 2013. 

Later this afternoon, I’ll update the blog with players/positions I’ll monitor closely over the next week. 

Following the late practice, I’ll have a full update with observations, thoughts, etc.

In the meantime, here’s a notebook of goodies to hold you over.

GAINESVILLE -- Loucheiz Purifoy is primed to do his best 1998-Champ Bailey impersonation.

The former two-way star averaged close to 100 snaps per game as a junior, playing offense, defense and special teams for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Florida’s electric defensive back may not reach such a lofty number of plays, but it’s possible.

Purifoy’s fall workload will include snaps as a starting cornerback, receiver, gunner and kick returner.

“He can run and go all day,” defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. “Last year he played every defensive snap, and you see us punting the ball or kicking off and he’s the first one down the field. … I think obviously he can do it. We feel he can do it.”

Purifoy said he has no fears of getting tired and hopes to play as many snaps as the coaching staff will allow.

The staff remains coy on Purifoy’s exact number of plays but acknowledged the junior’s fatigue -- especially in the Florida heat -- will be closely monitored.

“It’s just one of those things you have to manage and control throughout the game,” Durkin said. “We’re gong keep a close track of that.”


Defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson is rapidly making national headlines.

Robinson, a Miami native, is UF’s primary recruiter for South Florida and was central in landing the verbal commitments from the talented local trio -- 2014 prospects Chris Lammons (Plantation), Ermon Lane (Homestead) and Quincy Wilson (University School).

“T-Rob’s the best. He’s the best I’ve been around,” defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. “He’s an unbelievable recruiter. The guy works relentlessly at it.” 

Robinson is in his third year at Florida and was on coach Will Muschamp’s defensive staff at Auburn (2007) as a graduate assistant.

The 31-year-old coach is also responsible for landing 2014 five-star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami Central), as well as leading what many believe to be the nation’s top cornerback unit.

“I’ve been around a lot of good coaches, luckily, in my career and I don’t know one better than him at what he does,” Durkin said. “He will be a head coach one day. There’s no reason he won’t be.”


Durkin said suspended linebacker Antonio Morison provided a spark to the team when the sophomore returned to practice late last week.

“I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but we had a great practice the day he came back,” Durkin said.

The veracity of Morrison’s two-game suspension remains a reticent storyline around camp, but Durkin did say Morrison’s teammates were happy to have their starting middle linebacker return.

“[Morrison] has been a pro about it since he came back,” Durkin said. “Everyone was excited to see him. He’s their guy.”

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

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