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Five things learned from the Florida spring game

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Could he do it again? Could Jim McElwain find a quarterback from somewhere and field a bunch of overachievers?

Certainly, Florida’s spring game flashed that sort of promise. Particularly at quarterback, where transfer quarterback Luke Del Rio hit 10 of 11 passes. It left Gator fans feeling positive about the season to come.

And elsewhere? Here are five lessons to have been learned from the spring game.

  1. When it comes to playing quarterback, Del Rio is the leader in the clubhouse. Granted, he was playing against the second team defense, but he had the kind of efficiency that Jim McElwain craves. Austin Appleby is still close enough to make a push, however. Things are not yet decided.
  2. The kicking problems seem to have been solved. Junior college transfer Eddy Pineiro kicked three long field goals and flashed a strong leg. That’s a far cry from the situation of a year ago in which the Gators missed five extra points.
  3. The Gators will still be a defensive team. Duke Dawson and Kylan Johnson both played well in the spring game, and Jarrad Davis and Jalen Tabor are excellent players. Defense is always important in the SEC, which should keep things going until the offense finds its rhythm.
  4. The tailback position is competitive, too. Jordan Scarlett, Jordan Cronkrite, Mark Thompson and Mark Herndon are competing for playing time. Cronkite might be the most complete back, but Thompson is big and fast.
  5. Is freshman Feleipe Franks headed for a redshirt year? Everyone agrees Franks has talent, but he didn’t look ready for the big time Friday night. Franks threw three quick interceptions in his first five passes. Fellow freshman Kyle Trask isn’t quite the prospect that Franks is, but he might be more prepared to play right now.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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