DC Dan Quinn reviews Gators' spring game
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn took a few minutes in between meetings on Thursday to speak with GatorZone.com.
Quinn has spent much of the week meeting with the defensive players and reviewing what he saw on tape from the Orange & Blue Debut on Saturday.
The first- and second-team defense stood strong on Saturday, holding the offense scoreless until a 4-yard touchdown pass from Jacoby Brissett to Quinton Dunbar 16 seconds before halftime.
Here is our Q&A with Quinn:
Q: What stands out most from what you’ve seen on film from the spring game?
A: You could kind of feel some of the team’s speed. In that way I was pleased. We went into the ballgame saying that we really wanted to play good fundamental ball at the line of scrimmage. I wanted to show good tackling. Early in [the game] we had a missed tackle that Mike [Gillislee] had a nice long run on. And the takeaways I wasn’t as pleased with, only having one takeaway. When you go back through it, there were very few busts in the first half. As the game kind of went on, there certainly was at the end of the game. But I was pleased when I saw the first- and second-team guys … on the details and having it right and that kind of stuff. I am encouraged about where the whole group is headed and how we’re doing our stuff.
Q: You were short-handed with several regulars out. How did that impact your plan?
A: That’s OK, though. It provided some opportunities for our other guys who I really needed to take a longer evaluation at, especially in the secondary. Up front, it is what it is with [Lerentee] McCray out and [Dominique] Easley out and [Jon] Bostic out, so it kind of gave [Antonio] Morrison some extra reps, who I wanted to see. It gave [Mike] Taylor some more reps, who I wanted to see. So that was an important evaluation for me. And on the back end with [Jabari] Gorman, who I thought was one of the real bright spots back there in the secondary.
Q: Who improved their stock some in the game?
A: I thought Damien Jacobs did. He showed in the spring that he had power and that he could convert from run into pass rush. Antonio Morrison continued to impress me with how it wasn’t too big for him – he got it. He’s got good instincts at the linebacker position. On the back end, I thought Gorman was one who kind of helped himself. He made some plays and he can get his hands on the ball. And I would say I’m seeing [Jaylen] Watkins improving. Those guys were ones who I thought kind of came through.
Q: You and Coach Muschamp have both spoken highly of Morrison. Is he ahead of the curve for a true freshman?
A: I think he was ahead of the curve a little physically and also, to his credit, he’s got a pretty good football background. In terms of picking up the concepts and knowing how to play, there weren’t the normal mistakes that you may see with a new player going into a new system. I thought he worked extremely hard in the offseason trying to learn it.
Q: The big news this week was Ronald Powell’s knee injury; what’s the outlook moving forward?
A: That’s one of the things you always try to do, understanding that, ‘hey, this is part of the game.’ We all know that’s the risk going in. To his credit, he was really a guy on a mission this spring. And in my mind I know that is going to continue through the rehab process. I know he is going to work as hard as he can to get back as fast as he can. With some of the other guys out in the spring like Easley and McCray, I’m looking for those guys to pick it back up in the fall.
Q: What was the general message to your unit heading into the summer?
A: It was being ‘all in.’ This time is now when they make the team ‘a team’ in the locker room and workouts on your own and with the conditioning staff. This is when you have to really pull together. All the good teams that all of us have been on where guys cared about playing together and pulling for each other, this is an important time to make it happen.