Defense Dominates Debut
Dominique Easley
Dominique Easley
FightinGators.com Insider
Posted Apr 9, 2011


It was a slow day for the offense at the annual Orange and Blue Debut, Florida’s spring scrimmage to close out spring drills. New schemes on both sides of the ball saw some highlights on both sides, but the pass defense was the stand out of the day and kept the offense from really producing anything spectacular on the day.

The Gators played five quarterbacks on the day and the one that stood out the most was the scholarship quarterback most were not expecting to do much. Freshman Tyler Murphy was 7-of-11 on the day for 68 yards and a touchdown and showed athleticism and a sharp throwing ability both long and with short throws.

Senior John Brantley did not have a day indicative of his spring according to head coach Will Muschamp. Brantley threw some nice deep balls that fell incomplete, and he also showed some nice stuff with the short balls. Only 4-of-14 for 45 yards, he was constantly harassed from a defensive line that was very active and a porous offensive line that came into the scrimmage with a ton of injuries.

Senior running back Chris Rainey got the ball early and did some quick damage, running five times for 35 yards including a 21-yard scamper and adding 10 yards on two receptions. The back of the day was walk-on running back Malcolm Jones who tallied 72 yards on 15 carries and played for both teams. The running back position was also depleted and it really seemed to hurt the offense along with the injuries on the offensive line.

Sophomore running back Ben Sams caught one of only two touchdowns in the game on a late 10-yard throw from Murphy.

Tight end Jordan Reed had a nice catch and run for 19 yards, but freshman A.C. Leonard showed up late in the day with the most catches at three for 18 yards.

Not enough passes were caught for the receiver spot to be much of a bright one, but there were a few nice plays. Stepehn Alli showed that he can go over the middle and run after the catch. Quinton Dunbar, in just two catches for 21 yards, showed what he is capable of making two tough stabs at the ball and a terrific run after the catch that totaled 16 yards.

The positive story of the day was the defense, especially up front and in the secondary. Linemen Sharrif Floyd, Dominique Easley, Chris Martin, and Ronald Powell really turned up the heat on the banged up offensive line. Leon Orr was thrown in the mix as well. Floyd finished the day with three tackles for loss and a pass break up. He also tied for the lead in tackles with safety Josh Evans.

Freshmen linemen Martin and Lynden Trail had the two sacks on the day.

The secondary was tough all day. Some beautiful on time and on the mark throws were there deep to be had by some receivers except for some very solid safety and cornerback play. Cody Riggs finished with a pass break up and an interception. Safeties Matt Elam, Joshua Shaw, and Josh Evans each had pass breakups with Elam playing solid in run support as well and Evans having a great day playing deep.

Special teams was pretty solid on the day. Caleb Sturgis is back from his back injury and was 3-for-3 on the day with a long of 43 yards. Punters Kyle Christy and David Lerner were both solid albeit with zero rush coming from the defense. Lerner punted twice and averaged 43 yards per punt while Christy punted twice and averaged 46.5 yards per punt.

The final score didn’t really matter as multiple players on both sides of the ball played on both teams. The final score was 13-10, with the blue team winning for the fourth year in a row. There was an announced crowd of over 53,000.



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