Photo: Brenton Cox Jr.; Credit: Zach Goodall
Following what was a productive scrimmage for Florida's first-team defense on Saturday evening, the Gators returned to the practice field for day ten of head coach Billy Napier's first fall camp in charge.
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. We have covered positions individually to maximize the viewing window since day three, and on day ten, we honed in on coach Mike Peterson's edge rushers (outside linebackers).
- Day one - offense
- Day two - defense
- Day three - wide receivers
- Day four - linebackers
- Day five - running backs
- Day six - defensive line
- Day seven - offensive line
- Day eight - cornerbacks
- Day nine - quarterbacks
Focusing on the edge rushers (outside linebackers)
If there's one thing that stands about the Gators' group of outside linebackers, it's that the room is deep. You won't typically see more than one edge rusher (called the JACK in defensive coordinator Patrick Toney's scheme) on the field very often, yet the room is composed of six players with varying experience and skill-sets.
The room is led by returning starter Brenton Cox Jr. freshly removed from an eight-sack campaign where he played through the recovery of a Jones fracture in his left foot. He looked springy and flexible going through drills, noticeably without the heavy amount of tape covering his cleats and ankles he sported last year, and his hand usage appears to have sharpened.
There are several edge rushers who stand a chance to offer Cox occasional relief at the JACK position this season, each with a different résumé than the others.
Redshirt junior David Reese, sophomore Antwaun Powell-Ryland Jr., redshirt sophomore Lloyd Summerall III, redshirt freshman Chief Borders and true freshman Jack Pyburn made up the rotation behind Cox in most drills.
Powell-Ryland has the most playing experience on the edge of the reserves as played in a rotational role across his first two seasons with the Gators, compiling 1.5 sacks and five tackles in that stretch. He showed off an impressive spin move during a block-disengagement drill, keeping his hips tight to the bag but swiftly getting his body around it to close in on the hypothetical ball-carrier.
Reese has yet to carve out a role in Florida's defense due to a mix of injuries and lack of opportunities during his four-year UF career. He'll face a tough fight from younger players for snaps this season, but his muscular frame is worth noting here. He physically looks like a middle linebacker but with long enough arms to make an impact off the edge, perhaps on early downs and primarily against the run.
Summerall's story is similar to Reese's, not having contributed much off of the edge in his Gators career although he's been a regular on special teams. He possesses the ideal frame for an edge rusher, though, with great height (6-foot-5) and arm length to go with a much-improved muscular build entering his fourth year at Florida, now weighing 231 pounds.
Borders and Pyburn may be victims of the experience ahead of them, currently unlikely to crack the rotation for meaningful snaps barring injuries or performing so well in practices that they surpass the veterans ahead of them. Borders is a high-effort player, seen giving it his all on most of his reps including the one in our clip of the day below.
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 or watched practice instead of being on the field. This list does not include the quarterbacks as they are required to wear no-contact jerseys at all times.
- WR Ricky Pearsall*
- WR Ja'Markis Weston*
- TE Arlis Boardingham*
- LB Ventrell Miller
- CB Jason Marshall*
Pearsall and Marshall continue to wear no-contact jerseys and work with trainers to the side of the practice field as they recover from various injuries. The duo, alongside linebacker Amari Burney and offensive lineman Ethan White, only stretched and did not participate in individual drills prior to Florida's Saturday evening scrimmage.
Both Burney and White, who wore no-contact jerseys on day eight, were seen fully participating during the viewing period on Monday.
Weston, Boardingham and Miller were new additions to the participation report on Monday, although Miller was seen working with the linebackers while Weston and Boardingham were working with trainers. A sling was supporting Boardingham's right arm while he rode the stationary bike.
Quarterback Jalen Kitna was not seen at the facility during the viewing period. Other than prior to the scrimmage, Kitna had not been seen with the team during the viewing period since day four of camp.
Cornerback Jaydon Hill has yet to participate this fall due to an undisclosed offseason injury but was seen stretching with the players in no-contact jerseys.
Napier shared during his Monday press conference that, "for the most part," the team exited Saturday night's scrimmage relatively healthy.
Clip of the day
Our clip of the day features the entire group of Gators scholarship edge rushers, each working on their initial punch in a pass-rushing drill. Borders had the strongest punch of the group, knocking the bottom-heavy bag into a horizontal position with the ground.
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