Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Opening camp: Florida Gators
By Edward Aschoff
Schedule: The Gators being practice on Friday with a split squad schedule. The first group will go at 6 a.m. ET, while the second group will go at 6 p.m. ET. Florida will hold open practice on Aug. 15, 17, 19 and 20. The first day in full pads will be Tuesday, Aug 6.
On the mend: Quarterback Jeff Driskel is expected to miss two weeks after undergoing appendectomy surgery on Tuesday. Hybrid linebacker/defensive end Ronald Powell is returning from two ACL injuries that cost him his entire 2012 season. Linebacker Matt Rolin (knee) and Trip Thurman (shoulder) could be limited during fall practice. Linebacker Alex Anzalone should be healed from his spring shoulder injury.
Key battle: Florida has to find consistent pass-catchers on offense. Junior wide receiver Quinton Dunbar stuck out as the top receiver, but there isn't much experience after him. Someone has to step up to be a consistent receiving threat for Driskel. True freshman Demarcus Robinson turned some heads this spring, but he has to get more familiar with the playbook. Latroy Pittman has to play with the same attitude he had last spring, too. The Gators will also work with four more true freshman receivers this fall. At tight end, the Gators are hoping Kent Taylor or Clay Burton develop into a real receiving threats, while Colin Thompson expands his role beyond being mostly a blocker.
Of note: Last year, running back Mike Gillislee became Florida's first 1,000-yard rusher (1,152) since Ciatrick Fason in 2004. Florida has never had back-to-back years with 1,000-yard rushers in school history. Sophomore Matt Jones replaces Gillislee at running back this fall.
Predicted order of finish at media days: Picked third in the SEC East at SEC media days.
They said it: Driskel on what his wide receivers think about being looked down upon heading into the fall: "It's an insult. It really is. That's what they do -- they're football players -- and anytime people say that you're not good at what you do, you're going to be insulted. They've really taken it upon themselves to really improve this year and really prove everyone wrong."