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10 thoughts from UF's open practice

3/16/2012

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Here are some observations/thoughts from Florida's open spring practice on Friday afternoon:

• Neither quarterback looked particularly impressive on Friday. Both had several good throws -- Jeff Driskel hooked up with Ja'Juan Story on a deep pass, Jacoby Brissett and running back/tight end Omarius Hines combined for a long TD pass -- and both had several poor throws. Brissett did throw two interceptions, including and overthrown ball that cornerback Jaylen Watkins grabbed. The other was a nice play by safety Valdez Showers.

Chris Johnson has been moved from safety to running back. He spent some time there at Ocala (Fla.) Trinity Catholic but was supposed to be a full-time safety at UF. He played mainly on special teams last season as a freshman. The move was made to create depth at the running back spot behind Mike Gillislee and Mack Brown. Hines also is working there, and he had a few nice runs Friday.

• Receiver Solomon Patton was on crutches and did not participate in practice. His injury is unknown. UF coach Will Muschamp was not scheduled to speak with the media on Friday, so the exact nature of Patton's injury won't be known until Monday.

• Receiver Frankie Hammond had an up-and-down practice. He caught a couple of passes but dropped a quick throw from Brissett and also fumbled the hand-off on an end around.

• It's easy to see why cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy is now the starting corner opposite Marcus Roberson. He forced two turnovers in drills, ripping the ball out of Gillislee's hands at the end of the carry on the first play of 11-on-11 work and making a diving interception on the far field in 7-on-7 drills.

Sam Robey, who will work at center and guard, had some trouble with low shotgun snaps during several pass-rush drills. He was snapping to a walk-on quarterback and the drill was designed for the guards and tackles to stop pass-rushers, but Robey rolled several snaps back to the quarterback.

• It's only his second practice and certainly understandable, but freshman offensive tackle D.J. Humphries looked a bit lost at times. Sophomore defensive end Tevin Westbrook whipped right by Humphries to tag Hines in the backfield for a loss on one play. Humphries has to get bigger and stronger, but he's got long arms and is very athletic and will eventually develop into the Gators' starter at left tackle.

• Defensive end Earl Okine was wearing a huge cast on his right hand. It completely covered his hand and looked like the end of a Q-tip. He was a full participant in practice, though.

• It'll be hard to tell if the Gators are any tougher than they were last year, but one thing is pretty clear: Several players appear to have changed their bodies after just one offseason of working with new strength and conditioning coordinator Jeff Dillman. The most notable is linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who looks much bigger in his upper body than he was last season. Defensive end Ronald Powell and tight end Jordan Reed also appear to have bulked up.

• Perhaps the most disturbing thing we saw on the field on Friday: linebacker Michael Taylor dyed his hair blonde.

The Gators will have another open practice on Saturday from 1:05-3 p.m. at the Sanders Practice Fields.