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Notebook: Depth chart coming together (maybe)

GAINESVILLE -- The depth chart is starting to take shape.

Coach Will Muschamp reveled that some of Florida’s key positional battles are ‘over,’ while also announcing a crowded, but strange, field at running back.

Muschamp officially endorsed redshirt freshman Marcus Maye and junior Cody Riggs as the definitive starters at safety -- while juniors Michael Taylor and Neiron Ball, two career role players -- earned starting spots at middle and weak-side linebacker, respectively.

Three freshmen -- Alex Anzalone (MIKE), Jarrad Davis (WILL) and Daniel McMillian (SAM) -- were named backup linebackers.

The depth chart at running back remained muddled.

Mack Brown is still the primary backup to Matt Jones, who remains doubtful for Week 1 while recovering from his serious viral infection.

But after Brown, things get interesting. Muschamp said walk-on running back Mark Herndon and recently converted safety Valdez Showers were next in line, not freshmen Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane.

“They’re both talented runners, but it not all about carrying the ball,” Muschamp said. “We like to make sure the quarterback is protected.”

Muschamp cited ball security as a major concern with both freshmen. 

***EDITOR'S NOTE***

Muschamp is either playing possum with the freshmen running backs’ expectations (mainly Taylor), or Florida could be in serious trouble if Jones is sidelined for a significant period of time because there’s seemingly little reason a recently-converted safety and a walk-on should be ahead of a Taylor, who was on campus during the spring. He’s legitimately had ball security, pass protection and pass-catching issues during camp, but I think this is a motivational ploy more than a shocking revelation. The dude’s the all-time leading rusher in Florida high school history. I think he’s underperformed in camp, and he’s not anywhere close to being ready to be an every-down back, but according to the recent depth chart, he’ll struggle to get snaps. And I don’t believe that for a second.

MUSCHAMP NAMES FIVE BEST

Florida’s search for reliable playmakers is ongoing, but coach Will Muschamp has identified the team’s best five receivers: Quinton Dunbar, Trey Burton, Solomon Patton and two freshmen, Demarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fulwood.

“Those five right there have been productive and consistent in what they do and how they perform,” Muschamp said.

Sophomore Latroy Pittman has disappointed during camp, while the other three freshmen -- Alvin Bailey, Marqui Hawkins and Chris Thompson -- are “swimming mentality.”

Hawkins has battled an ankle injury during camp and seems destined for a redshirt. Bailey may redshirt too, while Thompson, who isn’t ready to play receiver, will contribute on special teams. 

SURPRISING STANDOUT

Freshman defensive end Joey Ivie continues to impress in camp, unexpectedly vying for immediate playing time.

The early enrollee was forced to play tackle during the spring, something Muschamp said made Ivie adjust to the physicality of SEC football. “His improvement from spring to right now is night and day,” Muschamp said.
“We moved him inside purposely in the spring. He needed to learn how to play blocks, strike in a situation he’s got to play fast and physical. … Very pleased where is he is now.” 

INJURY UPDATES

Cornerback Jaylen Watkins (foot) returned to practice Sunday, while sophomore wideout Raphael Andrades (turf toe) is out for at least 10 days.

Left guard Jon Halapio (torn pectoral), fullback Hunter Joyer (hamstring), cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (shoulder) and tackle Damien Jacobs (patella) are all expected to return to practice next week.

Also, Muschamp said Jones is scheduled to have blood work done Monday, and the sophomore is close to his original weight after losing 10 pounds from the illness.

QUOTABLE

“He does make me laugh a lot. Sometimes by his athleticism and running around.”

--- Muschamp on starting middle linebacker Michael Taylor

THIS & THAT

Muschamp was not particularly pleased with Friday’s scrimmage, noting the offense out preformed the defense but the practice’s tempo wasn’t what he wanted. “I was not totally pleased with the sense of urgency we played as a group, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” he said. “We have some steps to take forward, as far as that’s concerned.” … Cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy, teased as a two-way threat, finally took some offensive snaps in third open practice. … Muschamp offered no updates on Antonio Morrison’s two-game suspension. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Comments

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Wow.... Sounds like the gaytors are in big trouble. Your sorry offense out performed the defense. Can't wait for sept. 7 showdown!!!! Trust me you guys are in for a rude awakening!!! You will be 0-1 going into the Miami game.

You can look at it that way, or you can look at it and say, uh oh the offense just might be a lot better than last year, and now they have a decent offense to go along with a great defense. Looks like the canes really don't have a chance! Only a cane fan can turn a good offensive performance into a negative. What are you trying to do, convince yourself that the canes actually have a chance at winning?

You can also note that due to losing players to the NFL the gatah defense will not be as good and with midget safeties starting, the passing lanes will be wide open. Also an offensive line that is in flux with a QB that cant make the right reads or make accurate throws just speaks volumes as to what the gatahs are about. sounds like a 7 win season for the gatah. 09/07 is coming and the beatings will begin on the field and in the stands.

Again a cane fan not realizing how many players played significant minutes every game last year on D, and not realizing how many great players are still here. I cannot wait till the 7th, because you cane fans are in for a rude awakening if you actually believe what you just said! By the way, Matt Elam was only 5'10". Not tall by safety standards at all, and was a first rd pick. So criticizing a player's height and thinking he can't play safety is pretty stupid. But then again, you're a cane fan so I'd expect nothing less!

Louisville just scored again!!!

I know a bad team from a good team, and Miami was terrible team under Shannon. I'm telling you, this team is going to do something special this year and it starts Sept. 7. The key to Miami is to keep the linebackers healthy. If they stay pretty healthy all season, the sky's the limit for this team!!

Perryman is better than all 3 of your linebackers put together.

Man, Louisville made 5' 10" Elam look like a hall of fame safety.....Louisville hardly scored that game!!!!!

Louisville would've scored 100 on the canes! It's hilarious how hung up on that game you cane fans are. You guys care more about that game than gator fans do, its hilarious! It's good to have hope, I mean what else can you have after 10 straight years of sorriness? But just like every other year, that false hope will quickly turn into misery!

The sorry canes became UL fans after the Sugar. They live their lives vicariously, cherishing when other teams do what they have been unable to do for a decade.
With nothing to be proud about their sorry team they are fixated on UL performance in the Sugar.

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