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The Gators football team opened practice on Friday.

Friday August 2, 2013Gators Notebook: Muschamp opts for full-squad practices, return of Jones remains uncertain

The Gators football team opened practice on Friday.

Scott Carter
By SCOTT CARTER
GatorZone.com Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- If Gators coach Will Muschamp had his way, the Gators would have held a morning practice and an evening practice on Friday.

But with some key injuries to start camp, Muschamp opted to work the young players and veterans together Friday evening at the opening practice of the 2013 season.

The Gators will do the same this weekend.

"You like to be able to go split squad, of course we're limited with some numbers,'' Muschamp said. "To have everyone out there at once, it's a different teaching progression for young players as opposed to old players. That's why you'd like to have two or three days to divide the roster up."

With the offense without starting quarterback Jeff Driskel (appendectomy), running back Matt Jones (viral infection), right guard Jon Halapio (pectoral muscle) and left guard Max Garcia (back), some of the younger and inexperienced players took more reps than usual.

Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy led the first-team offense. Murphy has not thrown a pass in a regular-season game but with Driskel expected to be sidelined during the early portion of camp, Murphy is the primary beneficiary of the extra reps.

Muschamp said Murphy did some "nice things" Friday in what was a "typical first day." Despite the absence of several regulars and being forced to scratch some planned split-squad practices, it's business as usual once practice starts.

"It doesn't alter [our plan] at all,'' Muschamp said. "We're going to run our offense and install our system on offense, defense and special teams. Really, after the first two scrimmages is when you start making decisions on where you need to go schematically.

"Right now, we need to install our systems. We're installing everything right now.

RUNNING GAME: Muschamp reiterated Friday that if Jones is out for an extended period of time that he is confident redshirt junior Mack Brown is prepared to be Florida's starting tailback to open the season.

True freshmen Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane are also available, and Muschamp mentioned walk-on Mark Herndon as a candidate for carries if needed.

As for Jones, Muschamp remains unsure of when the sophomore from Tampa might be available.

"Were in a little bit of uncharted waters here,'' he said. "Its very uncertain. Its very frustrating, for him first of all, and for us a little bit. It is what it is. Well handle the situation.

"Matts going to be fine. I do know that. Whenever hes able to join this football team and work and do the things we want him to do, No. 1, hes healthy. Thats the most important thing."

 

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