Monday, April 23, 2018
Sports

Florida Gators offensive line vows to improve protection

GAINESVILLE — After QB Jeff Driskel was sacked five times in a 17-9 loss to Georgia on Saturday, the Gators offensive linemen held a meeting called by senior T Xavier Nixon and junior C Jonotthan Harrison.

Harrison said Wednesday he does not expect protection to be an issue going forward.

"Last game wasn't our best performance, but we've shown what we're capable of, and it's well known the potential that our offensive line has," Harrison said. "I just know we're going to bounce back this Saturday (against Missouri) and make sure everyone is fundamentally sound on the offensive line."

Screen game: In the past two games, the Gators' longest play in each was on a screen pass. In a win over South Carolina, it was a 39-yarder to TE Jordan Reed. Against Georgia, it was RB Mike Gillislee's 29-yarder.

Offensive coordinator Brent Pease said screens are effective but only when used at the right time. "If you're going to be good in screens, you have to dedicate some time on it because there's timing involved, reads and timing with the lineman and setting up with the back," he said.

FB Hunter Joyer believes an increase in screens could help neutralize opposing pass rushers. "They couldn't rush as hard anymore," he said. "It would get them guessing about other things."

USF: New WR backups

TAMPA — Injuries to receivers Andre Davis, Derrick Hopkins and D'Vario Montgomery have forced the USF offense to add names to its two-deep depth chart.

David Aristil, Jordan Duval, Clinton Jones — probably not a lot of names that the everyday Bulls fans have heard a lot of — they're all on the depth chart right now," coach Skip Holtz said.

Veteran receivers Victor Marc, Deonte Welch and Terrence Mitchell are ready, and Holtz was pleased that Davis returned to practice after missing Tuesday with a knee injury.

SHAW eager: Junior RB Marcus Shaw said he is prepared for the increased workload with Lindsey Lamar out (broken collarbone). "I'm jacked," said Shaw, who injured an ankle in the first game. He rushed for 34 yards on four carries against Syracuse on Saturday. "He's exciting when the ball gets under his arm," Holtz said. "I'm just hoping that he can stay healthy."

Jurisprudence: Sophomore WR Chris Dunkley, suspended indefinitely after his arrest in September on a domestic violence battery charge, agreed Monday to enter into a domestic violence intervention program for first-time offenders.

Greg Auman, Times staff writer; Joe Polito, Times correspondent

UCF: Maturing QB

ORLANDO — Knights QB Blake Bortles threw his first career touchdown pass last season in a loss to Southern Methodist, and Mustangs coach June Jones remembers him.

This season Bortles has completed 72 of 108 passes for 940 yards and five touchdowns. Against Marshall on Saturday, he passed for a career-high 277 yards.

"I can tell he is getting his feet on the ground, too," said Jones, whose team faces Bortles and UCF on Saturday. "He also throws the ball accurately and is completing (67.2) percent of his passes, so that tells you he's getting better and better."

Orlando Sentinel

FSU: Sound check

TALLAHASSEE — The No. 9 Seminoles will spend part of practice this week amid sound intended to simulate a raucous crowd like the one they may hear next week at Virginia Tech.

FSU used the tactic before going on the road to face N.C. State, but the Wolfpack won 17-16.

"It will be a huge challenge for us," said FSU coach Jimbo Fisher, referring to the Hokies' Lane Stadium.

Orlando Sentinel

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Published: 04/22/18