GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Another unrevealing press conference with Jim McElwain followed by another day of rotating a different quarterback through the early first-team reps at practice.
With that, dissecting Florida’s quarterback situation remains guesswork.
After Luke Del Rio led the first-team offense during the opening “fastball” period on Tuesday, Malik Zaire took the reins Wednesday.
In four plays, he threw incomplete downfield to Josh Hammond, who was well covered by freshman Marco Wilson, hit Brandon Powell on a quick screen and had Hammond drop two nice passes.
Reporters were allowed to remain at practice for the first period of individual drills as well (see video below).
Earlier in the day, McElwain had preempted the array of quarterback-related questions that would soon follow by saying he was not ready to name a starter.
“You’re going to see a bunch of them in there playing. I mean the three guys have done a really good job. … Will all of them play? I don’t know yet. Will a couple of them play? I don’t know yet. I know we will have somebody at the position,” he said.
To compound that response, he was later asked what he still hoped to learn about Del Rio, Zaire and Feleipe Franks this late into the preseason, and he offered no more clarity. If anything, his response provided more confusion.
“Like I said, I think they’re all going to play,” he said. “So, you know, we’ve got a lot more work against each other. We’ll see how some things kind of work out, especially in the option game and some of those type of things. And see kind of where that fits for some of those guys.”
That was McElwain’s last press conference until Monday, five days before the season opener with Michigan, so barring an announcement in the meantime the biggest question of the preseason now becomes the big question of game week.
- Freshman tight end Kemore Gamble, who was in a walking boot at fan day Saturday, remains out with a foot injury. “We’re going to get that relooked at and we’ll see kind of where that is,” McElwain said.
- Redshirt freshman cornerback C.J. McWilliams and redshirt sophomore linebacker Kylan Johnson are still out with hamstring injuries while redshirt freshman safety Quincy Lenton (foot) is back in action.
Senior cornerback Joseph Putu, who has been playing with the first-team defense in the portions of practice open to the media this preseason, has a hamstring injury. “It’s not like a pulled pop or rubber band snap, but he’s going to be held out today. But he should be back. I don’t see this being a lingering one like C.J.’s was,” McElwain said.
- While sophomore Chauncey Gardner Jr. has been a fixture at safety in the portions of practice open to reporters this month, McElwain said he’s also gotten work at corner and nickel and wouldn’t have an issue sliding to corner if needed. It wouldn’t surprise in the least if that’s how it ends up. “The idea is to get your best four or five wherever they’re at,” he said.
- Starting left tackle Martez Ivey is “OK to go” with an undisclosed injury. “We’re going to have to manage that like we did his freshman year. He’ll be ready to go at tackle for us,” McElwain said.
McElwain praised several of Florida’s freshmen defenders, saying the nickel and dime spots “are starting to get solidified” with Wilson and Donovan Stiner. He again highlighted Shawn Davis‘ play at safety, where he’s gotten significant first-team work with senior Nick Washington (shoulder) ailing. He said both C.J. Henderson and Brian Edwards “are ready to play out there” at cornerback. And he added that fellow freshman defensive back Brad Stewart “has really come a long way. I think Chauncey’s been a great influence on him.” Along the defensive line, McElwain noted that freshman defensive tackle Kyree Campbell “has made huge strides on the inside up front defensively from spring practice” and again called fellow freshmen DTs Elijah Conliffe and T.J. Slaton the “Bam-Bam Boys.” “I think those guys are going to be ready as the season wears on,” he said.
The post Wednesday practice report and video of Florida’s QBs and WRs appeared first on SEC Country.
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