The UF offensive coaches spoke to the media Tuesday, and each of them talked about their evaluations of fall camp so far.
The Florida Gators will take the field for the first time in full pads today.
Here’s what we learned about the skill positions from each coach.
The quarterbacks need to buckle down and learn the offense.
UF quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson said that with a short time until the first game and limited reps in practice, all of his quarterbacks will need to put in extra work to prepare for the season.
“So as a group we have to really, really watch what the other guy’s doing and learn from their mistakes, so when we get that same opportunity, we’re not double coaching,” Johnson said.
Redshirt sophomores Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask and freshman Emory Jones are all in the early stages of learning Dan Mullen’s offense, so separating them hasn’t been easy for Johnson thus far.
Franks started eight games in 2017, while Trask hasn’t seen a snap in his collegiate career. However, Johnson doesn’t see Trask’s lack of experience as much of a disadvantage, and he likes the leadership qualities the quarterback has shown.
“To me the biggest thing... is that they need to lead through their personality,” Johnson said. “He is likable. Now it’s about coming out and executing and putting people in position so they can highlight their talents as well.
UF may line up in two-back sets.
Greg Knox has been Dan Mullen’s running backs coach since joining him at Mississippi State in 2009. His familiarity with the offense may only be second to Mullen himself, and when asked if he’d utilize Florida’s depth at the position by using two-back sets, he was rather optimistic but thought the backs were 20 to 25 days from learning those formations.
“Well, we’re going to use our talent,” Knox said. “If they can handle it, we’ll do it.”
While Knox emphasized that spots on the depth chart aren’t clear, he said senior Jordan Scarlett has revealed himself as a leader of the unit. But he also said Scarlett needs continue to progress physically as he’s returning from suspension from the 2017 campaign.
“He’s in that process of getting himself back to where he was in the past conditioning wise and physically,” Knox said. “So he’s just grinding through it.”
Wide receivers have a long way to go, but Jefferson shows promise.
Co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales stressed that his receivers and the offense as a whole need to work on retaining information.
But along with learning the playbook, the two things Gonzales said he wanted from his receivers were beating man-to-man coverage and blocking.
“I’ve stressed to them, ‘if you can’t block, you’re not gonna play, as gifted as you are,’” Gonzales said.
While transfer wide receiver Van Jefferson is as inexperienced with the offense as all other players at his position, Gonzales has seen special qualities in his attitude and work ethic.
The co-offensive coordinator referenced an instance where Jefferson misran a go route, and he told him what to work on to correct. On the very next rep,
Jefferson ran the play to his coach’s specifications and beat his defender.
“When guys are listening, taking the coaching, you know their attention to detail, so you’ve got a chance to be successful with those guys too,” Gonzales said.
Scott recruited Krull based on his baseball skills.
Tight ends coach Larry Scott left Tennessee for Florida and brought with him Lucas Krull, a pitcher from Jefferson College in Kansas.
Krull played one season of football in high school, and Scott evaluated his high school tape and made a visit to a Jefferson baseball game on a recruiting trip to watch him pitch.
“He was actually throwing in the 90s as a lefty coming off the hill,” Scott said. “That was a pretty impressive thing to watch.”
Even though Krull was playing a totally different sport, his athletic ability was all the coach needed to see before offering him a scholarship.
“It’s all hand eye coordination, athleticism, and natural reaction,” Scott said. “All of those things that you really can’t coach a guy to have, he’s either got those instincts or he doesn’t.”