FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
Live from Florida Football Media Day, Dan Mullen, John Hevesy and Todd Grantham addressed the media before the start of fall football camp on Friday.
Inside the Gators runs down the main points of interest from Mullen’s press conference.
- Mullen said that he is excited to get training camp open, earliest training camp at Florida, NCAA allowed him to experiment with earlier camp at Mississippi State. Players thought it was best training camp they’d had. More days off, healthier players, fewer injuries. The NCAA’s cut down on recovery time with 25 practices in 29 days. It’s a great honor to be involved in 150th anniversary game, great environment. Key is mindset transitioning from workout mode to learning schemes, techniques, fundamentals of football. Another big key is extra things they do on their own, watching film, putting in extra time.
- Offensive line – experience they got last year will be beneficial, concerned about depth and experience working together. We’ve got pretty good lineman, just haven’t played a lot. With their depth, they could get young really quick, got to stay healthy. John Hevesy moves guys around so everybody gets used to running with each other, rotates between ones and twos from day-to-day. Would love to have same five throughout season, but doesn’t always happen. They experiment with different combos in practice.
- Noah Banks – Still working on a couple of things, but he’s on track to practice tomorrow.
- Hardest opening opponent – When he was at Notre Dame, they lost to Nebraska in overtime. Playing a major opponent leads to more sense of urgency during camp.
- The quarterbacks are always the biggest ones to watch coming back over summer. He wants to see those guys develop to put in a lot of work over the offseason with the timing of routes. He wants to be able to blindfold his quarterbacks, tell them the receiver and be able to complete an out-route.
- Familiarity helps a lot. His players are able to progress quicker. They know what expectations are and what practice is like. “I hope we still play like we have a chip on our shoulder.” Some things they needed to be a lot better at last year in those three losses.
- Leadership – been real positive, the team’s getting along. The things they do away from football with each other has seen that grow. CJ Henderson is showing young defensive back the little things, always working extra after practice, great work ethic.
- Transfer Johnathan Greenard recruitment – got injured at UL, had great year, was thinking about going to NFL before season, fresh start, he played for Todd Grantham, knew system that he was recruited into, great fit. You rethink how you view the transfers in college football. You used to question it 10 years ago. Guys are transferring now because portal is common thing, changed how you view transfers, impact players around the country.
EIGHT PART ANONYMOUS PLAYER PARTING THOUGHTS SERIES
- The McElwain years
- The end of McElwain
- Start of the Mullen era
- More on Mullen
- Strength and Conditioning
- Offensive rundown
- Defensive rundown
- Noah Banks was uncertain, came back 100 percent all-in, mindset that he wanted to play, got to get his body right to play, did individual workouts with Nick Savage before he went back with team, started feeling comfortable, knew he was going to be critical part of team
- Mullen pointed out that last year heading into camp the wide receivers were considered the big weakness of team. Now they’re getting hype. Shows great job Billy Gonzales has done and how they’ve bought in. He likes depth, confidence, you don’t have to force it to two or three guys. “You can late the defense dictate where to feed the ball.”
- Make next jump – year two, know what to expect, have talented guys, can look at last season and have maturity to say,”We missed some opportunities last year where we could’ve been even better.” But also could’ve been seven or eight win season, understanding how small the margin for error is.
- No. 1 jersey – one of a coaches’ most annoying jobs is dealing with jersey numbers, likes to reward guys doing it right way, CJ Henderson – does a good job in leadership, does what he needs to, performed at high level; Toney, in theory they should get a first down every time he touches ball, “If you do well, I would like to reward you.” They view that as great reward, hardest part is managing two guys in same jersey
- Number of touches for Kadarius Toney – making sure you have get-it-to plays, better understanding of players in year two, want to make sure they have enough in offense to get it to guys,
- The tight end situation is similar to that of the offensive line. Lucas Krull missed a bunch of spring, got hurt because of rule for player safety, suffering more injuries as a result of player safety rule, put in a bunch of extra work, Larry Scott does good job, when he came out of JUCO, was able to get experience, Kyle Pitts and Kemore Gamble have played, those guys have to take next step forward, there is some depth but not experience as being every-down guy, wants to see how they grow, high expectations, feel excited about talent potential, need to see it translated to games
- Overall depth – biggest thing is creating that depth, you always have a little attrition, depth will be issue with a lot of teams with transfer portal, depth is good but not great but hopeful they’ll get there in a couple of years
- Position battles – rep battle, “how many reps have you earned to play?” Likes to rotates players to keep guys fresh throughout whole season, his battles are more about how many guys have earned the right to play, doesn’t view it as starters and backups, you’d like 25 starters on both sides of the ball, when guys start to see success, it’s easier to buy in
- On the final three incoming freshmen – Dionte Marks has reported, Wardrick Wilson – “not a surprise for us,” that he hasn’t cleared immigration. Doesn’t know a timetable. Arjei Henderson will be here this weekend, has some things to finish up
- Injuries – David Reese will miss season, could be on edge for bowl game, great motivator for him, other guys have small tweaks, but nothing major
- On Florida’s depth at cornerback: “If we stay healthy, I feel OK with it,” likes position flexibility, Trey Dean, allows you to deal with depth issues
- Florida is fortunate to have coaches that have worked together a while, if these things go well, we’ve set them up for this, guys aren’t afraid to make input, five guys on staff that would be comfortable calling game
- On quarterback Kyle Trask – says a lot about him that he hasn’t left. In his and Feleipe Franks’ class, 75 percent of the top 25 quarterbacks have already transferred. There’s also been a bunch of transfers in Jones’ class already. All of them don’t have huge success in year one, development process, those guys have bought in, no magic dust, takes time, shows maturity and character.