MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Live from Blues City, where the top-seeded Gators will meet with the media later this afternoon before they tangle with fourth-seeded UCLA tomorrow night in the Fed-Ex Forum (approx. 9:45 p.m., CBS).
But first: SPRING FOOTBALL!!!
Coverage has been minimal due to hoops, but coach Will Muschamp met with the media Tuesday and discussed a number of topics.
Here are the pertinent details.
DRISKEL SEPARATING FROM THE PACK
Following a dismal 4-8 season, Muschamp pronounced every position -- including quarterback -- was open this spring, but the forgone conclusion was that redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel would regain his starting job upon returning from his broken leg.
For all intents and purposes, he has -- just unofficially.
On Tuesday, Muschamp said Driskel, "comfortable and confident" in Kurt Roper’s up-tempo scheme, has “distanced himself from the other quarterbacks” during spring practice.
Driskel’s mechanics have been a tad rusty early in camp, but the quarterback’s experience and duel-threat skill-set has worked seamlessly in the premature stages of installing Roper’s spread offense.
“I’ve been very pleased with his maturity and handling it,” Muschamp said.
“He’s running well, he’s moving it around well. The ankle is not bothering him as far as those things are concerned. I think continuing just to work on the fundamentals because he really didn’t throw much to my knowledge until we started practice, so he was just cleared right before spring was concerned as far as all of the movement stuff is concerned.”
While Driskel has the leg-up in the pseudo quarterback race, Muschamp said sophomore Skyler Morhinweg, who started the final three games in 2013, and star-recruit Will Grier are competing well.
“But those guys have done some nice things at times,” Muschamp said. “Jeff’s been through change before, so I think the more times you go through that stuff you kind of can handle it and move forward, the maturity takes over. Everything is brand new to Will.”
RECIEVER … DEPTH???
Florida’s wide receiver corps has been a position of grand ineptitude in recent years, a much-maligned unit on a historically bumbling offense.
But according to Muschamp, the situation is primed to change this season.
Florida's current assemblage of wideouts is the most talented group he’s had at Florida, he said, adding, “I don’t think there’s any question.”
Muschamp noted six contributors -- senior Quinton Dunbar, juniors Latroy Pittman and Valdez Showers and sophomores Ahmad Fulwood, Demarcus Robinson and Chris Thompson -- standing out in practice and capable of producing come fall.
“All of those guys have shown some flashes and done some nice things through four days, and had good off-seasons as well,” he said.
Muschamp also highlighted the play of preferred walk-on receiver Case Harrison, a local product from Gainesville High School.
Senior linebacker Neiron Ball, a projected starter at outside linebacker, will likely miss the remainder of spring practice with a sprained MCL.
According to Muschamp, Ball is “fine” and “probably could [participate] in the latter part [of camp] but we feel like some other guys need reps.”
Meanwhile, redshirt freshman linebacker Jordan Sherit (hyper-extended right elbow), sophomore safety Keanu Neal (hamstring) and freshman offensive lineman Roderick Johnson (concussion) all missed practice Monday with minor injuries.
Sherit will work non-contact until next week, while Johnson -- who is competing for a starting job at guard -- is expected to return to practice Friday.
THIS & THAT
Sensational sophomore cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III is taking on an increased leadership roll in the locker room, Muschamp said. … Freshmen defensive backs Duke Dawson and Jalen Tabor, early enrollees, are competing for a starting job opposite of Hargreaves. … Former Gators quarterback Shane Matthews attended practice Monday and Muschamp said the 13-year NFL veteran was impressed with Roper as a position coach/teacher. … Muschamp noted the play of end Bryan Cox Jr. and tackle Jay-nard Bostwick as two defensive linemen standing out in camp.
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