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Muschamp gives scrimmage highlights

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida held its first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday. It was closed to the media and public, but coach Will Muschamp said the following:

Running back Mike Gillislee was the offensive player of the day. The senior continues to hold onto the No. 1 spot atop the depth chart, especially with his improved pass-blocking.

Defensive end Ronald Powell was the defensive player of the day. He had several third-down stops, a sack and several quarterback pressures. Muschamp singled out Powell and Gillislee for having great offseasons.

The first-team offensive line was Xavier Nixon (left tackle), James Wilson (left guard), Jonotthan Harrison (center), Jon Halapio (right guard) and Matt Patchan (right tackle). It's essentially the same starting unit from 2011. "You do see a lot of carryover with those guys playing together," Muschamp said. "I think we’ve made some strides up front, I really do."

Neither Jacoby Brissett nor Jeff Driskel separated themselves in the quarterback competition, but Muschamp was encouraged by their performances -- especially when it came to the operation of the offense. The offense ran 100 snaps, and there was only one delay of game penalty. "For a first scrimmage with a lot of new stuff going on, [I was] very pleased," Muschamp said. "A couple of time we had to get them back in the huddle to make sure we got the right thing communicated, which in a first scrimmage after six practices [I'm] very pleased with that. There wasn't a whole lot of jumping offsides, lining up wrong, none of that."

Muschamp said both quarterbacks completed about 60 percent of their passes, but that number could have been higher had they been more accurate on third downs and the receivers done a little better job. "We've got to do a better job catching the football, making some plays and be more accurate with the ball, especially in the critical downs like third down," Muschamp said. "They had a couple dropped here and there."

Early enrollee offensive linemen D.J. Humphries and Jessamen Dunker are doing "an outstanding job up front," Muschamp said. Receiver Latroy Pittman and linebacker Antonio Morrison also have had a good start to spring. Defensive back Willie Bailey needs to get stronger, and defensive tackle Damien Jacobs needs to be more consistent, Muschamp said.

The linebackers didn't do much during the scrimmage, but that was partly because the defensive line didn't handle blocks as well up front. Muschamp said Jonathan Bostic and Jelani Jenkins played well, but there needs to be more production from the unit as a whole. Michael Taylor and Morrison continue to progress, Muschamp said, but the unit also is missing Lerentee McCray (shoulder).