Second scrimmage in the books

The Gators had their second scrimmage of fall camp on Friday morning in The Swamp. It was treated with full game day operations, putting Florida coaches in the press box.

It was the 15th practice of the fall, and Florida coach Will Muschamp made it clear that this is usually the part of camp where players are sore and dealing with dead legs.

The coaches purposely extended some drives for the offense and defense, putting them through as many as 14-play drives to see how the players’ stamina would hold up. There were no pre-snap operation issues, and the offense was smooth coming out of the huddle.

The scrimmage was closed, but Muschamp did talk about a few highlights. Ahmad Fulwood continued his strong camp with a long touchdown reception on a double move, and Chris Thompson added a score. Andre Debose and Demarcus Robinson added long catches. Tight end Jake McGee had an important third-down catch. Safety Keanu Neal also made a nice pass breakup on an attempted pass to McGee.

The coaches hadn’t watched the film from the scrimmage, so they hadn’t made any roster decisions when Muschamp talked to the media. It is getting to the point in camp where they need to decide who starts getting more reps in camp.

“We'll sort through the depth chart of guys we can count on moving forward and guys that need to get more reps and guys whose reps will dwindle,” Muschamp said. “That's just part of it. Your tape is your résumé. The guys that are producing and playing well and doing it the way we want to do it, those are the guys that'll play."

Camp will continue through the early part of next week before game preparation for Idaho begins on Thursday and Friday. The players will get next Saturday and Sunday off to rest their legs before game week preparation begins.

INJURY REPORT: Offensive tackle David Sharpe suffered a high ankle sprain during the scrimmage. Muschamp said he was slated to get some first-team reps during an important day for the freshman, but the injury happened on the first series of the day.

They’ll know more about the injury on Saturday. Muschamp said it could be a two-day injury or even up to a week before he returns.

“We need to get him back,” Muschamp said. “He’s a really good football player. He’s very athletic, 6-6, 330 pounds, moves his feet extremely well. A guy that’s going to help us this year.”

Offensive lineman Trip Thurman (shoulder) and running back Matt Jones (knee) will return to practice on Saturday. Defensive end Bryan Cox suffered an AC sprain in his shoulder and should be back on Monday.

“Other than that, we’re pretty healthy. Knock on wood,” Muschamp said.

Defensive back Duke Dawson (shoulder) and defensive end Dante Fowler (shoulder) both returned and were full contact on Friday.

SATURDAY CHANGES: Florida’s final open practice will happen on Saturday, but the time was changed to 11 a.m. Since the team scrimmaged on Friday, the Saturday practice will only be one hour and without pads. It will be focused on correcting some of the errors from the scrimmage.

BACKUP QUARTERBACK BATTLE: There are no clear answers in the backup quarterback battle. Will Grier and Treon Harris are the two favorites for the job, and Muschamp made it clear on Friday that they’d like one player to win the backup job and the other to redshirt during the fall.

They’ve all had their moments. Harris had a great week of practice and looked to be coming on as he gets more comfortable, but Grier has the advantage of being in practice since the spring.

"I think all the backup guys have had some very good moments,” Muschamp said. “They've been put into some adverse situations when you talk about a true freshmen walking in. We had 4-5 one-minute situations where those guys have got to make great decisions, as far as getting rid of the ball, knowing when to scramble, knowing when to get out of bounds and knowing when to get rid of ball.

All of those things come together and you’re learning a new offense. You’ve got a lot of things going on. I’ve been pleased with those guys as far as how they’ve worked and competed. We’ll see the most productive guy and move forward.”

TWO KICKERS EMERGE: The kicker battle continues to be open, but Muschamp said on Friday that Austin Hardin and Frankie Velez are the two that have distanced themselves from the rest of the pack.

“Those are two guys I think have been pretty consistent,” Muschamp said. “Frankie’s been really good. Austin has a little stronger leg, but Frankie hit one from over 50 I think yesterday or the day before. Both guys have been very consistent in camp.”

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