- Derek Tyson, RecruitingNation
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Heading in to fall camp, Florida had many questions surrounding the running back position. Can probable starter Mike Gillislee stay healthy? Will sophomore Mack Brown push Gillislee for playing time and will true freshman Matt Jones be able to contribute early?
If Saturday's scrimmage is any indication, the Gators are closer to answering those questions. Head coach Will Muschamp said on Monday that Gillislee, Brown and Jones were standouts at the scrimmage, as the three combined to average five yards per carry.
"We ran the ball very well," Muschamp said. "Mike Gillislee ... Mack Brown had his best scrimmage since he’s been here. And Matt Jones. All three ran the ball extremely well. Very pleased with those guys getting the ball north and south and running and what we did up front."
Brown, who has been slowed by injuries during his career at Florida, has failed to receive significant playing time during his time in Gainesville. But now an improved Brown could earn more action in the fall because of his running style.
“He got the ball north and south and ran the ball extremely well, protected well," Muschamp said. "Again, (he) didn't do a lot of dancing. Stuck his foot in the ground and got north and south, which is something he can do very well. He's a strong guy, he's got a strong lower body. That was very pleasing.”
It wasn't just the running game that pleased Muschamp. He was pleased with the offense's overall execution.
“I thought we functioned very well," he said. "We didn’t have a lot of procedure issues, alignment issues offensively, in and out of the huddle. We had a good tempo and those are things to me that were very pleasing, especially for a first scrimmage."
Tight end Jordan Reed will miss 3-to-4 days with a "twisted knee." Muschamp said the injury is not serious and will not require surgery. Tight end Colin Thompson is still recovering from a broken foot and there is no timeframe on when he will return to practice. Freshman safety Marcus Maye participated in his first practice on Sunday night. Maye has missed time due to a torn meniscus he suffered in early spring. Muschamp said there are no other significant injuries to report.
Defense causing turnovers
In 2011, the Gators forced an SEC low 14 turnovers. Muschamp has made it known creating turnovers will be a priority this season. He said he was pleased with the turnovers the defense forced in Saturday's scrimmage.
“Defensively got the ball out," Muschamp said. "Four times we turned the ball over, got the ball on the ground. Very pleasing for us. And three interceptions and two of them in one-minute drives. Those situations for us defensively are emphasized."