The Inside Scoop: Behind-the-scenes look at the last week of practice

Mar 30, 2022 | 0 comments

Now that the second full week of spring practice under Billy Napier and Company is in the bag, Inside the Gators brings you The Inside Scoop from someone who has been at the last four practices.

Here is our behind-the-scenes look at some standouts, depth chart, and injury updates.

Without Emory Jones, has Anthony Richardson or Jack Miller started to assert himself as the starter at quarterback?

No, not at the moment. Even when Emory [Jones] was here, there was no clear starter yet, Everyone is having their good and bad days. I thought [Anthony] Richardson would be ahead by now and maybe he is to the coaches but when they take reps Richardson and Jack Miller go first and they get about the same amount of chances from what I see. Compared to the first week going off of what Coach [Napier] is saying to them between plays, Miller and AR have been making better reads in the last week. They’ve made more plays and they’re moving the ball around.  

Out of the younger guys, Carlos Del Rio and Jalen Kitna, who has looked better? Which one is basically third team right now or going before the other?

It's the same thing. I know it’s boring but they have been splitting time together and both show some promise and then have some mistakes.
With Nay’Quan Wright limited, there's a three-headed running back rotation of Lorenzo Lingard, Demarkcus Bowman, and Montrell Johnson. Which one is getting the first reps with the group – the 'starter'? Who has looked the best? 

Lingard and Johnson have been getting the reps with the ones, but like all other positions, there hasn't been a settled starter. They are both hard-nosed runners but we aren't tackling until the scrimmage so you don't know what they will do when live hitting happens or they have to break some tackles.

We haven't heard as much about Bowman so far. How has he looked compared to the other two?

He is the one who brings a lot of quickness to the running backs. He isn't up there with the other two but he is the one when he gets the ball, he could be gone to the house just like that. He had some big runs last week.

We know about Justin Shorter, but then who else is standing out at receiver? What is the two deep like at the position? 

It is the traditional X, Z, SLOT and we designate the SLOT as the H in the offense. Justin [Shorter] is starting at X and it's Xavier Henderson that has been balling out right next to him at Z. Next to him is Dae’jon Reynolds and Trent Whittemore are balling out at the H spot. 

This offense does more to feature players in the H and we're going to do some damage from there. Trent and Dae’jon have been tearing it up. Jordan Pouncey is making plays too and behind him Fenley [Graham] is awesome. He may not be the most groomed or experienced, but he’s so natural and it all comes to him so easily. 

Who made some of the big offensive plays during 11 on 11 last week as far as catches and runs?

Jamarcus Weston (who is the backup at Z) made some big plays. So did Henderson, who is the starter. Bowman and Lingard had some big runs. AR [Richardson] had a couple of big runs. He had better runs than passes last week.

The big plays yesterday [Tuesday] were a couple of touchdowns to Shorter and Henderson. 

The tight end position has taken some hits this week with Jonathan Odom and Nick Elksnis going down. Is Zipperer the clear No. 1 there? Before the injuries, who was No. 2? 

The tight ends have just been slowly getting banged up. [Jonathan] Odom was two weeks ago at the start and then [Nick] Elksnis happened on Saturday. Gage Wilcox had surgery already. I'm not sure what it is. We were just told it's a minute surgery. 

Zipperer is No. 1 at the position and we have had to move some guys around to fill that position (former defensive linemen Dante Zanders and Griffin McDowell were practicing there Tuesday).

Who is standing out at linebacker?
Ventrell Miller has been great, along with [Amari] Burney.

As always, who impressed this week? 

Trent Whittemore is looking great as he always has. The O-line is really starting to mesh. They had a good week last week. I don't really remember the defensive line doing a lot against them. [Michael] Tarquin and Rich [Richard Gouraige] have played their butts off. [Jake] Slaughter is catching up with Richie [Leonard] at the backup center. [Tyreak] Sapp and Princely [Umanmielen] stuck out for making some plays, but the defense wasn't as disruptive last week as they were the first week.

The coaches were happy with the play up the middle. Our linebacking core is very solid with [Trey] Dean and [Rashad] Torrence behind them. We seem to have them playing the run more this spring than we did last year.

[Jaydon] Hill and [Avery] Helm have been the two corners who have been the most consistent in coverage.

Two deep offensive line

LT: Richard Gouraige, Austin Barber
LG: Ethan White, (multiple players battling for the spot)
C: Kingsley Eguakun, Richie Leonard/Jake Slaughter
RG: Joshua Braun, O'Cyrus Torrence
RT: Michael Tarquin, Kamryn Waites 

Two deep defensive line

SDE: Princely Umanmielen
DT: Gervon Dexter, Desmond Watson
DT: Jalen Lee, Jaelin Humphries
Buck: Brenton Cox

They are rotating defensive ends through a lot with Justus Boone and Tyreak Sapp seeing plenty of time.

Jadarrius Perkins is on crutches because he tweaked his knee. It isn't like last year when he hurt his knee but still went through the whole practice. They told him at first he was going to be okay, it was just a hyperextension, but then he had an MRI that showed it was torn.

Offensive lineman Kaleb Boateng has a high ankle sprain.

Tight end Jonathan Odom is out for the spring with a labrum injury but will be healed up before fall camp begins.

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