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August 05, 2014

Gators open camp with clean bill of health

GAINESVILLE -- Florida opened training camp Monday, and no one got hurt.

It’s early, but it was a massive leap forward compared to last season.

“Drastically different,” coach Will Muschamp said.

“There’s no question it was a rough fall.”

A year ago, UF opened training camp without quarterback Jeff Driskel (appendectomy), starting tailback Matt Jones (virus) and offensive linemen Jon Halapio (torn pectoral) and Max Garcia (back), and the injury situation further snowballed throughout camp.

The Gators -- working out in helmets and shorts per NCAA rules -- had a “solid” first split-squad practice, as the veterans went in the morning and the majority of underclassmen worked out in the evening. Florida will practice in shells Wednesday and Thursday and then transition to full pads on Friday.

Three (notable) true freshmen -- corners Jalen Tabor and Duke Dawson and offensive lineman David Sharpe -- practiced with the veterans early Monday morning, but Muschamp chalked it up to class conflicts.

He added another “three or four freshmen” would also practice Tuesday morning due to exams.

Muschamp, who welcomed lofty expectations during Sunday’s Media Day, raved about his team effort and energy before quickly adding a qualifier.

“Everybody is fired up Day 1,” he said. “Let’s find out how they are Day 12. … I think we’ve seen a very inspired group throughout the summer.”


The Gators have five rookie defensive backs competing for the starting job opposite All-American Vernon Hargreaves III, and Muschamp noted the quintet had some positive first showings.

“They’re all athletic,” he said of Dawson, Tabor, Quincy Wilson, J.C. Jackson and Deiondre Porter.

Wilson, a hybrid defensive back from University School capable of playing corner or safety, had in interception during the evening practice working out at cornerback.


It was just the first day of camp, but Muschamp couldn’t resist his favorite saying (one he’ll undoubtably repeat all preseason): “[Player X] did some nice things.”

Those named included Dawson, Tabor, Driskel, wideout Andre Debose, kicker Austin Hardin and punters Kyle Christy and Johnny Townsend.


"I got up about 3:35 a.m. today. … I didn't sleep a whole lot last night. Excited about getting back on the field and coaching. That's what you get hired to do. That's what I enjoy doing. All of the other stuff, not so much, but the coaching part of it I really enjoy.”

-- Muschamp, on working on just a couple hours of sleep in eager anticipation for fall camp to start.

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