Florida cornerback Brian Edwards braced himself as receiver Josh Hammond came near. Hammond caught a pass from quarterback Kyle Trask moments before meeting his defensive teammate near the end zone.
Edwards didn’t tackle Hammond like normal, instead hitting the receiver in the helmet with his own and drawing a loud “oooh” from the players on the sideline. Edwards was penalized for targeting and was subsequently pulled by coach Dan Mullen for the the next few drives, simulating what would happen if the penalty were to happen in a regular game.
The Gators football team held a scrimmage at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Thursday that featured plenty of highs, like the play of the quarterbacks, and some lows, like Edwards’ targeting.
Positive: The Quarterbacks
Perhaps one of the biggest upsides of the day was the performances of Florida’s four main quarterbacks.
(Sidenote: all the stats that are mentioned in this article are unofficial. They come from 247Sports’ Thomas Goldkamp and GatorCountry’s Nick de la Torre.)
Let’s start with Feleipe Franks.
The redshirt junior completed eight of his 16 passes, good for 138 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also ran for seven yards and a another touchdown. He looked confident in the pocket and meshed well with his receivers, hitting them in stride and completing big receptions.
He made mistakes (every quarterback did) that resulted in the lone interception of the day by Brad Stewart, but his poise and command of the offense makes him the favorite to start next season.
Trask had the most yards on the day (143 yards), but also threw the ball more than any other quarterback (11 of 21 with two touchdowns).
Redshirt freshman Emory Jones looked shaky in the passing game, going 6 of 17 for 76 yards and a touchdown. His specialty was on the ground, rushing for 64 yards on eight carries.
Freshman Jalon Jones went 2 of 5 for 55 yards and a rushing touchdown.
Positive: Zachary Carter
The Gators needed someone to replace former defensive lineman Jachai Polite now that he is turning pro.
They might have found one in Zachary Carter.
The redshirt sophomore was a monster on the line, recording anywhere from four to five sacks and some more quarterback hurries. (Again, unofficial stats. Players can’t hit the quarterbacks, they have to wrap around. It’s hard to determine just how many sacks Carter had.)
Expect Carter to see some significant playing time next season.
Negative: The Offensive Line
If Carter’s sacks were a positive, the unit that gave them up has to be listed as a negative.
Florida’s offensive line took a massive hit following the 2018 campaign. Four starters either left to go to the NFL or graduated. That leaves a serious gap in experience with the talent.
It showed on Thursday.
Defensive linemen easily broke through and put pressure on the quarterback. They recorded at least six sacks during the scrimmage. Franks could handle it, but Trask, Jones and Jones all struggled.
The O-line will be a serious issue for the Gators going into the 2019 season and will force Franks to have to make plays on his own with limited time.
Follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake and contact him at email@example.com.
Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks threw for 173 yards on 13-of-23 passing and a touchdown in UF's Peach Bowl win over Michigan in Atlanta on Dec. 29.