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Thursday August 7, 2014 Practice notes: Gators get good news on Hargreaves, Powell's fast feet, more tidbits

Updated: 11:42pm, August 7

Vernon Hargreaves III

Sophomore cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III is day-to-day with a bone bruise.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- A crowd of approximately 700-plus showed up at the Don Dizney Lacrosse Stadium on Thursday night to watch the Gators during their first open practice of fall camp.

They watched a smooth and crisp practice for most of the evening. However, the tone changed when sophomore cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III suffered a lower-body injury.

Hargreaves was hurt after a scuffle between the defensive backs and receivers.

Soon, all eyes turned toward Hargreaves as he was helped from the field. Fortunately for the Gators, the injury isn't as serious as some of the ones they suffered last season.

"A MRI revealed that Vernon Hargreaves suffered a bone bruise and he is listed day-to-day,'' Gators coach Will Muschamp said following practice.

While Hargreaves' injury created a buzz on social media, there was much more for fans to see Thursday.

Here are some players/topics that caught my eye:

--It's easy to see why coaches and players have spoken highly of freshman running back Brandon Powell in his short time on campus. Powell displayed extremely quick feet on some runs. He also hits the holes fast and finds space to run. During special-teams drills, Powell also got some looks returning punts.

--Sophomore receiver Demarcus Robinson has been talked about a lot ever since he arrived last year. Robinson didn't have much success in 2013 but he could be a dangerous weapon in the up-tempo offense installed by Kurt Roper if he can produce. Robinson did haul in a nice touchdown catch on a fade route late in Thursday's practice.

--Freshman defensive lineman Khairi Clark drew the praise of defensive line coach Brad Lawing when he flushed second-team quarterback Will Grier from the pocket on a play that resulted in a throwaway. At 6-foot-2, 308 pounds Clark showed a quick burst on the play.

--Muschamp and Roper have mentioned junior running back Matt Jones as a potential difference maker in the passing game. Jones caught multiple passes Thursday out of the backfield and at slot receiver.

--A few other true freshmen were hard to miss. Tight end DeAndre Goolsby caught a touchdown pass from Jeff Driskel on the first drive of practice and later showed some physicality by bowling over a defender with a tough block. While he has not been cleared for contact drills, defensive back J.C. Jackson has the look of an elite athlete. Jackson (5-10, 196) has a strong lower body and is clearly advanced physically for a newcomer. Finally, 6-6, 336-pound offensive lineman David Sharpe is impossible to miss. Sharpe took a lot of snaps and looks like a potential contributor his first season.

--Redshirt freshman Roderick Johnson is a player Muschamp has spoken highly of entering camp. Johnson worked at right tackle some on the first team late in Thursday's practice and moves well for a player 6-5, 308 pounds.

Random Thoughts

Freshman C.J. Worton seems like a proficient route runner for a young receiver ... Grier can grow a pretty good beard for a true freshman ... Fifth-year senior Jake McGee, a transfer from Virginia, can get down the field quick for a guy listed 6-6, 255 pounds; McGee made a couple of nice catches Thursday ... Kickers Austin Hardin and Brooks Abbott, formerly of Jacksonville Bolles and Virginia Tech, worked together during drills with Drew Ferris snapping and Kyle Crofoot holding.

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