Photo (left to right): Lorenzo Lingard, Jabbar Juluke and Trevor Etienne; Credit: Zach Goodall
Another rainy day in Gainesville had the Florida Gators in their indoor practice facility for the fifth practice of 2022 fall camp, their third day in a row in the complex.
You can find AllGators' observations from the media viewing portion of practice below, as well as our notebooks for each day of camp so far this year. Since day three, we have covered positions individually to maximize the viewing window, with Monday's focus on the Gators' running backs.
Focusing on the running backs
The lone run-game drill in the media viewing window was a counter rush where the running backs practiced their footwork in tight quarters — navigating bags on the ground with two steps required in each of the first four spaces (out of seven total spaces) —, their pad level by clearing a small chute and their ability to bounce off contact by thudding a tackling dummy immediately after clearing the chute.
AllGators was able to observe each running back complete the drill once. We'd rank each of the four scholarship back's reps in this drill as follows: True freshman Trevor Etienne, redshirt junior Lorenzo Lingard, sophomore Montrell Johnson and redshirt sophomore Nay'Quan Wright.
Etienne executed the drill perfectly, getting all of his steps in without touching any bags, clearing the chute and knocking the bag to the ground. Lingard's left foot touched the first bag but he didn't let that slow him down, navigating the rest to perfection, clearing the chute and delivering the strongest punch on the bag of the bunch.
Johnson's rep was solid, although the navigation test at the beginning of the drill wasn't his strong suit as it took him more time to clear the first three bags than it did the other backs. He also could have made better contact with the bag to shake off the "tackler." Wright had two missteps in the double-step spaces with three steps in one space followed by one step in the next, then his helmet dinged the chute and his bag punch didn't carry much force. Wright was asked to redo his rep as a result.
You can find a clip of each four backs in this drill in the clip of the day section below.
Otherwise, the majority of the running back workout media was able to view revolved around the pass game. The unit ran swing routes from the backfield and curl routes while lined up at outside receiver when media first entered the facility.
The swing routes were on check-down reads, delaying the pass after the backs settled into their break, making it tough to pinpoint any standout reps. However, Johnson ran a sharp curl route and caught his pass, notably.
After the rushing drill, the running backs began to work on pass protection, taking on two "rushers" while working on hand placement and striking power as well as pad level and leverage-creating.
Once again, Etienne was a standout in this drill, showing off the lowest center of gravity of the bunch and meeting the bags with a strong punch as well as adequate hand placement. This may come as a surprise as Etienne was not overly involved in the passing game during his high school career.
Johnson and Lingard's reps were also good, although the former's hand placement and the latter's pad level were both slightly too high at one point.
Wright's height provides him natural leverage and good pad level, but his hand placement too could use sharpening. In one rep, Wright's hands were knocked back from attacking the bag too low, and in another, he immediately exposed his chest by aiming too high, which also led him to lose his grip.
Now, it must be noted that Wright is still gaining comfort after suffering a fractured ankle at the end of the 2021 season, which kept him out of the majority of spring practices as well as the spring game. He's the most proven back of the group in an orange and blue uniform, and simply appears to have rust in need of shaking off.
Below are the players that were seen wearing no-contact jerseys throughout the media viewing portion of practice. An asterisk indicates that the player worked off to the side instead of on the field. This list does not include the quarterbacks as they are required to wear no-contact jerseys at all times.
- TE Jonathan Odom
- OT Richard Gouraige*
- DE Tyreak Sapp*
Gouraige returned to practice on Monday after being absent during Sunday's media viewing portion of practice. He spent time with the offensive line and was wearing pads, but did not take part in any drills that we could see.
Monday was the first time we've seen Sapp in a no-contact jersey as he had participated in practice each day prior. He worked off to the side with a trainer and other players who did not practice during the window.
Additionally, safety Rashad Torrence II was seen working off to the side with a trainer despite wearing his standard blue jersey. He did not partake in any drills during the open window.
The same could be said for kicker Trey Smack, who wore a standard white jersey for the second day in a row after beginning camp in a no-contact jersey. However, Smack worked off to the side as well, watching practice and temporarily riding a stationary bike.
Cornerback Jaydon Hill, who has yet to practice this fall while recovering from an undisclosed offseason injury, was seen riding a stationary bike and doing some conditioning in a T-shirt and shorts near Sapp and Torrence.
Clip of the day
Our clip of the day was referenced above, featuring the Gators' projected top four running backs doing their lone run-game drill of the day.
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