« April 8, 2014 | Main | April 10, 2014 »

2 posts from April 9, 2014

April 09, 2014

Grounded: 'Sky' returns to Gators

GAINESVILLE — Former McDonald’s All-American Chris 'Sky' Walker is returning to Florida for “one more year.”

The five-star freshman announced his decision Wednesday via Twitter, with the school quickly confirming the news. 

  Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 9.00.47 PMWalker missed the first three months of Florida’s historic 2013-14 season — first delayed by academic issues then serving an NCAA-mandated 12-game suspension for accepting impermissible benefits. 

In 18 games, the freshman was a little-used role player during UF’s Final Four run, but with a full offseason of strength and conditioning he’s expected to be a breakout contributor next season. 

Walker flashed his elite athleticism for small stretches for the Gators (see: Three minutes of brillance against UCLA in the Sweet 16), but the freshman mostly struggled understanding the nuances of coach Billy Donovan’s system — offensively and defensively. 

The 6-foot-10 power forward averaged just 1.9 points and 1.3 rebounds in 4.8 minutes per game, but according to numerous mock drafts he projected as a first-rounder in the upcoming NBA Draft based largely on his limitless potential. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Driskel earns praise

GAINESVILLE — Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel continues to shine during spring practice, according to coach Will Muschamp. 

Driskel, a redshirt junior, is quickly mastering Kurt Roper’s no-huddle system, flashing the offense’s (professed) explosive potential in last weekend’s scrimmage. 

“He’s throwing the ball extremely well,” said Muschamp, who delayed the start date of Florida’s spring camp so that Driskel’s broken leg would be fully-healed. 

“I think he had three dropped on Saturday on a bubble, slant and dig. The [one] interception should’ve been caught. I think he’s throwing the ball very accurately.”

Driskel, much-maligned for two years at UF, played in just three games in 2013 before sustaining a gruesome leg-fracture in the first quarter against Tennessee.  

Florida’s offense was the laugh-stocking of college football last season, but Muschamp (reluctantly at first) embraced a philosophical shift and hired Roper and a system suited to Driskel's skill-set. 

So far, so good. 

While Roper's offensive instillation is not complete, Driskel has steadily improved this spring, Muschamp said.

Florida's coach also commented on the offense's ability to avoiding bad plays under Roper's easy audible system -- something strikingly missing in 2013.  

“We create a lot of run-pass issues, run-pass conflicts I would say for a defense with what we’re doing in the run game and off the passing game off,” Muschamp explained. 

“If we get a bad run box, we’re able to get out of it with a quick game, whether it’s a slant or a bubble or a quicks outside. Jeff has done a really good job because that takes quick hands to get the ball from a play action situation up and out. I think he’s doing extremely well.”

NO SEPARATION 

Muschamp remains mum on naming a backup quarterback, opting to blanket redshirt-sophomore Skyler Morhinweg and early enrollee Will Grier with universal (albeit generic) praise. 

“No [separation],” Muschamp said. “Both guys have done some nice things. Will made a really nice adjustment off a corner pressure and hotted the ball to Andre Debose in the red zone. It was a really nice throw. Skyler does some nice things. Both of those guys will continue to get reps with that group.”   

ORANGE & BLUE DETAILS

Florida’s annual spring scrimmage will kickoff Saturday at 1:30 p.m. from The Swamp, and the spring game will be televised on tape delay on Sun Sports (statewide) starting at 5:00 p.m.

The Orange & Blue Debut will be available live for GatorVision subscribers or for purchase ($3.99) on pay-per-view. 

INJURY UPDATE

Former walk-on tailback Mark Herndon, a spring standout to date, sustained a high-ankle sprain during Saturday’s scrimmmage and will miss the remainder of camp. 

According to Muschamp, the injury isn’t serious and will not require surgery. 

Sophomore linebacker Daniel McMillian missed the scrimmage with an ankle injury, while safety Marcus Maye pulled a hamstring during the scrimmage -- both players are questionable for Saturday’s Orange & Blue Debut. 

Meanwhile, offensive lineman Roderick Johnson (concussion) remains sidelined and is unlikely to play Saturday.   

QUOTABLE 

“In a perfect world you like to have four guys inside and four guys outside. If you're able to play with between eight and 10 players in this league, which normally in my experience is what it's going to take. Now, you can survive with three inside and three outside, but you're living a dangerous life with injuries. … I think all of those guys have the ability to be in that group. I really do. Now will they take that next step from a maturity standpoint and understand to battle through pain and mental and physical toughness to have it for the position? Because I think they have the ability. I think that's there. It's just a matter of how quickly it's going to come for them at a championship level."

-- Muschamp, on Florida’s youth along the defensive line and finding a consistent rotation. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton 


Team Stats


» View more stats

Categories


Archives


Powered by TypePad