My top 5 observations from practice today:
1) This Florida RB room (Johnson, ETN, Carroll, Battle, Joseph, Webb) are a genuinely close-knit group of guys. You can just tell from the way the move and talk to eachother out there that they enjoy eachother’s company and the friendly-competition they have going on. I expect to see a ton of production from multiple guys out of that backfield this season.
2) I really think that one of this team’s strengths could be their ability to get to the quarterback. These rushers look fantastic going against some pretty massive offensive lineman. Antwaun Powell-Ryland Jr., Princely Umanmielen and Chris McClellan looked specifically sharp today.
3) Graham Mertz… look — I don’t know how much of this is excitement and how much of it is him throwing to no defense — but, man, does he look smooth. The ball just glides out of his hand. Specifically, he’s been really impressive making throws outside of the numbers. He seems to have a really good connection to his RBs. I will say, though, I think him and Ricky need more time together — which, of course they will get before the season starts. He threw a couple mistimed ones to #1 today, but once they get on the same page — man, with the way he’s been throwing the ball, it could be very scary for opposing defenses.
4) This WR is much deeper than last season’s. I know there’s no Justin Shorter. But with Ricky, Xzavier, Caleb Douglas, Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman, Marcus Burke, Andy Jean and others — named the ones who looked specifically good today — Gators fans should be excited about this team’s pass-catching unit.
5) Speaking of this team’s pass-catching unit, the tight ends will get more action than last season. That much has been apparent through the first few practices. Keon Zipperer, Dante Zanders and freshman Andrew Savaiinaea got a ton of action today catching balls from Mertz and Miller. For a guy Savaiinaea’s size, boy can he move.