Florida fall practice: scrimmage notes (8/14)

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Florida held its first scrimmage of fall camp yesterday. It was an event that had Jim McElwain more than a little nervous; he literally said, “I didn’t sleep last night, thinking this scrimmage could be a disaster.”

Yikes.

But as it turned out, there was no need to be nervous. Sure, there were some less than memorable moments, but that’s to be expected. After all, this is the time to work out those kinks. All things considered, it had to be considered a success.

For one thing, Kelvin Taylor really had a big day. He’d had a relatively uneventful fall camp up until yesterday, where he really took off. McElwain had previously criticized him for trying too hard to bounce it to the outside, but in yesterday’s scrimmage, there was very little of that. Instead, he displayed great patience and vision, picking out the holes his offensive line opened up for him and darting through them for some big gains. He also had a very nice day catching balls out of the backfield, including one deep ball on a wheel route just inside the sidelines.

Taylor was only part of a nice day for the passing game. Will Grier turned in another solid performance, including one highlight reel play. He rolled out of the pocket to escape the rush, broke into a full sprint to get away and fired a laser to C’yontai Lewis, who made a diving catch in the end zone for a touchdown. What made the play so impressive was that Grier fit the football into a very tight window, and Lewis laid out for his quarterback and made a nice play to pay off Grier’s efforts.

Grier’s receivers, however, drew mixed reviews from McElwain. Chris Thompson and Ahmad Fulwood each made a few nice plays, but Thompson also dropped multiple balls, which McElwain called a result of him getting “big eyes” when the ball was coming to him. McElwain also complained that Fulwood, who stands 6’3, went after a few passes like you would expect a 5’2 receiver to. Or in his words, “be aggressive. Go get it.”

The other notable moment of the scrimmage came on a wounded duck that Vernon Hargreaves stepped in front of, picked off, and returned for a touchdown. Linebacker Jarrad Davis made it clear that Hargreaves made a nice play on the ball, but declined to say who threw the “duck” ball.

So to sum that all up, it seemed like a typical mid-August scrimmage: a lot to like, a lot to work on, and a lot more to be hopeful about.