Florida’s players emerged from the tunnel at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium into a familiar light drizzle. It had been trickling down all day in Gainesville, leaving The Swamp chilled and moist for the team’s scrimmage on Friday. And just like the rain, Florida’s performance was both annoying and refreshing at once.
The scrimmage was the first of coach Dan Mullen’s tenure and was open to reporters, recruits and some former players. It was basically a tale of two halves.
While no stats were kept, it was clear that defense dominated the first half. In what turned into a festival of turnovers, Florida’s top quarterbacks got intercepted and/or fumbled, while few points were put on the board.
Roles reversed in the second half.
Although there were still some miscues, the offense came back to put together multiple touchdown drives to close the scrimmage.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Feleipe Franks worked with the first-team offense to start the day. It did not go well early.
On his second possession of the game, Franks’ pass over the middle was bobbled by receiver Van Jefferson and appeared to be picked off by starting safety and Miami Southridge alum Shawn Davis. It was unclear if it hit the ground but still not a great look.
He got picked once again before the half ended, this time by freshman Trey Dean and this time in the end zone. He also missed tight end C’yontai Lewis on an open crossing route and heaved a ball about 55 yards downfield into double coverage. Luckily his arm strength sent it sailing over his intended target.
Franks finished the half with a touchdown to tight end Moral Stephens, who was wide open down the middle. He largely continued that caliber of play in the second half, finding sophomore wideout Trevon Grimes, an Ohio State transfer and St. Thomas Aquinas alum, for a 50-yard score. He did throw another interception, though, this time on an underthrown sideline pass. American Heritage alum Marco Wilson made the play.
Fellow redshirt sophomore Kyle Trask had a better day, with a higher completion percentage, more touchdowns and fewer interceptions. Despite working with the second-team offense early on, Trask led the day’s first touchdown drive — a run from freshman Dameon Pierce — and threw for three more scores, including an 80-yard bomb to Grimes.
Emory Jones, the heralded freshman quarterback, had a rougher day than Franks. He didn’t complete any long passes and few short ones, either. He did show a willingness to leave the pocket when plays broke down, though.
Jordan Scarlett got the start at running back and didn’t do much with it. He scored a late touchdown, but he couldn’t break free for a big run.
Junior Lamical Perine split first-team reps with Scarlett, and although he didn’t score, he had a nice run of about 30 yards where he spun and juked his way down the field diagonally.
Pierce and sophomore Adarius Lemons split second-team reps, with Lemons ripping off an 80-yard touchdown run late in the scrimmage. Freshman Iverson Clement worked with the third team.
Aside from Grimes’ pair of long touchdowns, junior Josh Hammond hauled in a beautifully blocked 20-yard screen pass for a score.
There weren’t many standouts on defense aside from the players with picks, although sophomore corner Brian Edwards, a Miramar High grad, made an impressive tackle on Pierce.
The defensive lineup was the same as it has been for most of spring, although redshirt junior linebacker Rayshad Jackson worked with the first team over Kylan Johnson and Vosean Joseph.
Mullen will continue to tweak those lineups and plays in the lead-up to Florida’s spring game on April 14.
Quarterback: Feleipe Franks
Running back: Jordan Scarlett/Lamical Perine
Receiver: Van Jefferson, Josh Hammond, Freddie Swain
Tight End: C’yontai Lewis/Moral Stephens/R.J. Raymond
Offensive Line: Martez Ivey, Tyler Jordan, T.J. McCoy, Fred Johnson, Jawaan Taylor
Kicker: Jorge Powell
Quarterback: Kyle Trask
Running back: Dameon Pierce/Adarius Lemons
Receiver: Trevon Grimes, Kadarius Toney, Rick Wells
Tight End: Kemore Gamble
Offensive Line: Jean DeLance, Chris Bleich, Nick Buchanan, Kavaris Harkless, Stone Forsythe
Kicker: Daniel Justino
Tackle: Luke Ancrum
Nose: Khairi Clark
End: Jabari Zuniga
Edge: Cece Jefferson
Linebackers: Rayshad Jackson, David Reese
Corner: C.J. Henderson, Marco Wilson
Nickel: Chauncey Gardner
Safety: Shawn Davis, Brad Stewart
Punter: Jacob Finn
Tackle: Tedarrell Slaton
Nose: Elijah Conliffe
End: Antonneous Clayton/Zachary Carter
Edge: Jachai Polite/Jeremiah Moon
Linebackers: Kylan Johnson, Vosean Joseph
Corner: Brian Edwards, Trey Dean
Nickel: CJ McWilliams
Safety: Donovan Stiner, Quincy Lenton
Punter: Jacob Finn