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September 4, 2012

View from the press box: Football tidbits



There's only so much one can see when watching the Gators play on television. That's why Inside the Gators is returning its "View from the Press Box" feature for 2012 - a look at things that might have gone unnoticed during the broadcast. Here's what we saw Saturday:

* Florida fans were holding their breath early when the Gators first took the field in shorts for preliminary warm-ups. After being somewhat limited in reps during fall camp, defensive tackle Dominique Easley did not take the field with the rest of the team until they came out later in full pads. There was no explanation offered as to why Easley missed preliminary warm-ups.

* The first group to take the field in full pads were the kickers, who came out to stretch while all other players were still in shorts.

* In what was an early nod to who would be playing the first quarter, Jeff Driskel initially took warm-up snaps from starting center Jonotthan Harrison, while Jacoby Brissett was taking snaps from backup Sam Robey. They soon swapped, but the point was clear.

* Among the players who did not dress out for the Gators were freshman defensive lineman Quinteze Williams and sophomore linebacker Gideon Ajagbe. From his standpoint, it appears as though Williams is unhappy with his situation. He sent out several post-game texts detailing his unhappiness [Williams].

* A big talk of who would be assigned Mike and Will linebacker spots between Michael Taylor[/db] and Antonio Morrison was which guy could handle the calls necessary at Mike the best. Taylor got plenty of playing time at Mike and was not afraid to take charge of the defense. He took initiative to move Sharrif Floyd a couple times early in the game.

* Loucheiz Purifoy had a generally rough day at cornerback, missing tackles and getting picked on for a large part of the first half. He also went off-sides on a kickoff. His reward for all of this was getting chewed out extensively on the sidelines. He then went on to play some receiver, something Will Muschamp said to expect more of going forward.

* Among those in attendance was former Florida basketball player and No. 3 overall NBA Draft pick Brad Beal, who was watching from the sidelines with UF assistant coach Matt McCall.

* Wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood and outside linebacker Quinton Powell, both Florida commits for 2013, hung out together for the entirety of the game.

* The crowd was fairly loud for Bowling Green's opening offensive series despite the stadium not being anywhere near capacity. The atmosphere died quickly as the game began to drag on.

* Ben Hill Griffin Stadium's empty seats only became more expansive at halftime when much of the upper portion of the student section emptied out. It appeared heat and a generally boring opener got the better of some less football-enthused students.

* Enthusiasm was lacking outside of the stadium as well, as the O'Connell Center parking lot was not even close to full around 2 p.m. and the crowd for the Gator Walk was smaller than a typical season opener.

* Freshman Buck linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. was a fan favorite and flashed a smile to some fans in the west stands when they were yelling his name after a third-down stop.

* Freshman tight end Colin Thompson, who is sidelined after foot surgery, was very vocal on the sidelines.

* As a sign of their status as top prospects, Ahmad Fulwood and Nick Washington had two of the better looking Gator Guides around them most of the time - and of course they were in a very good mood. There was a little block of committed prospects hanging out together which consisted of Fulwood, Washington, Joey Ivie, Quinton Powell and James Hearns that sat together in the game accompanied by Washington's dad.

*2014 top cornerback Kendall Randolph was very into the game and was seen smiling throughout much of the afternoon. He hung mostly around teammate Hearns.

* Ronald Powell may still be sidelined with a knee injury, but he was consistently working his way up and down the bench area trying to rally the troops when things weren't going so well out on the field.

* Florida's defense looked tired in the second half, and strength coach Jeff Dillman wanted to change that. Dillman was seen jumping up and down and yelling at defensive players as the fourth quarter got underway.

* Brissett and Driskel communicated very little on the sidelines. When both were on the sidelines, backup Tyler Murphy was often between the two, and there was little conversation between the three.

* Georgia four-star cornerback commit Shaquille Wiggins hung around Powell some. He didn't seem to be into it that much. Potential Nebraska transfer Tyler Moore didn't really show a lot of emotion during the game.

* Florida was booed by fans a couple times during the game, once after failing to convert on third and short, a general problem on the day. The loudest boos came in the second quarter when Driskel came in the game for Brissett and attempted a pooch punt.

* Junior college offensive tackle target and three-star Georgia commit Trenton Brown took in the game with his parents and appeared to be enjoying himself.

Check back each week for The View from the Press Box
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