GAINESVILLE -- Who knew Normandy beaches washed up into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium?
According to coach Will Muschamp, Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, is D-Day for his football team.
The Gators held their second scrimmage of training camp today in The Swamp, and Florida’s coach said it’s time to figure out who going to contribute in the fall and who is going to hold the water.
“This is moving day for a lot of guys,” Muschamp said. “We’ve got to start narrowing reps.”
Muschamp said he’s already warned the underclassmen of the ensuing changes, while the veterans are well aware of the process.
“We can’t continue to give some guys reps at positions where we’re wasting our time,” he said. “We’ve got to move forward with the guys we need to go into the season with and really concentrate and develop the young players on the team.”
Safety, tight end, wide receiver and kicker remain ongoing battles, and Muschamp wasn’t ready to name any specific positions Florida's staff is ready to thin out.
“That’s my question for our coaches: Alright, who do you count on? Not necessarily on August 31, but in game three, four, five,” he explained. “Who’s going to be the best player for the University of Florida in those games? Let’s take our growing pains if we have to, but let’s get those guys ready.”
Promising freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was noticeably missing from Thursday’s open practice. According to Muschamp, Hargreaves sprained his shoulder during Wednesday’s practice and won’t be cleared for about a week.
Muschamp said tailback Matt Jones (viral infection) is improving, but “we still don’t have a clear timetable for his return.”
Offensive guard Jon Halapio (torn pectoral) and defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (patella) should be cleared by game week (Aug. 25).
First-team fullback Hunter Joyer (hamstring) remains out, while offensive lineman Octavius Jackson (shoulder), linebacker Alex McCalister (shoulder), offensive lineman Quinteze Williams (illness) and cornerback Jaylen Watkins (foot) are all “day-to-day.”
Loucheiz Purifoy is primed to do his best 1998 Champ Bailey impersonation.
Bailey, a former two-way star, averaged close to 100 snaps per game as a junior, playing offense, defense and special teams for Georgia.
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.”
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.”
FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE
“Oh I saw it. That was a heck of a hit. I didn’t teach that. It’s natural. Some coaches try to take credit for that stuff, I don’t.” -- Muschamp on Jon Bostic’s hit
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton