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Jim McElwain surprisingly pleased with 'pretty darn good' scrimmage

GAINESVILLE - Jim McElwain had a restless night on the eve of his first fall scrimmage as Florida's head football coach.

"I'll be quite honest with you - I kind of didn't sleep last night, thinking this could be a disaster," McElwain said. "It actually turned out pretty darn good."

The Gators ran 109 offensive/defensive plays and another 26 on special teams Friday afternoon at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

It doesn't sound as if there were any major surprises. McElwain said the defense fared better than the offense in certain situations, with defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III returning an interception for a touchdown. Among the offensive standouts were running back Kelvin Taylor and receivers Chris Thompson and Ahmad Fulwood.

Linebacker Jarrad Davis said the offense showed more looks and wrinkles than it did last year.

"It's definitely more difficult to stop our offense now," Davis said.

McElwain didn't reveal much about the quarterback battle between sophomore Treon Harris and redshirt freshman Will Grier. McElwain said Grier started the scrimmage well, but Harris worked better with the second-team offense. Both made head-scratching throws, too, McElwain said, and Armwood High product Josh Grady got reps, too.

McElwain was pleased that the Gators escaped fairly healthy, with only receiver Raphael Andrades and linebacker Matt Rolin leaving with injuries. Offensive linemen Travaris Dorsey, receiver C.J. Worton, running back Mark Herndon, linebacker Anthony Harrell (Jesuit High) and defensive back Duke Dawson were held out because of injuries.

McElwain said the scrimmage was important because it gave young players expected to contribute their first taste of playing in the stadium.

"First day in the Swamp - I think they made some mistakes, but correctable mistakes," McElwain said. "It isn't for lack of effort and those type of things. It was good to be able to get in that environment for them for the first time, moving forward."