I know it's been a long off season for the Gators but I expected a little more zest from the offensive display. Saturday's annual Orange and Blue Debut game started slow with kicker, Caleb Sturgis scoring all nine points in the first half. It wasn't a totally negative experience because freshman quarterbacks, Tyler Murphy and Jeff Driskel showed signs of promise.
The mobile Murphy completed 7 of 11 passes for a game high 68 yards. Driskel simply impressed me with his tight long spirals. 2010 starter, John Brantley, didn't look so great going 4 of 14 and overthrowing receivers. Even though it looked like Gator receivers weren't on the same page as Brantley, coach Will Muschamp still had good things to say.
"Come the fall, Brantley is still our starting quarterback," he exclaimed. According to coach, his quarterback has completed close to 70% of his passes in the spring. It didn't look like it on Saturday, but I guess a series of spring practices trumps one scrimmage.
It was hard gauging exactly where the Florida Gators were since so many projected starters were missing. The offensive line was thinned out, and running backs Mike Gillislee and Jeff Demps were out.
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Chris Rainey looked decent coming out the backfield with more traditional offensive sets. He finished the scrimmage with 64 all purpose yards on seven touches. The brightest spot in the game was watching the defensive line consistently get pressure on all three quarter backs. There were hurries, sacks (well, make believe ones), and deflections.
One bat down even led to an interception off Murphy in the third quarter. No surprise to see this unit play well, but it's comforting to know that we can cause some disruption against other SEC powers in 2011. The scrimmage was limited given all the rules, particularly no punt returns. But what I did get to see was further development needed out of Brantley, a pesky defensive line, and more NFL type offensive sets.
Gator nation should remain patient, though. OC Charlie Weiss is no stranger to bringing QBs along, and a more universal offense should bode well for offensive recruits.
Final Score: Blue 13, Orange 10
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Still to early to make brash predictions, though