Behind-the-Scenes: A look at the first week of spring practice

Mar 21, 2022 | 0 comments

Now that the first week of spring practice under Billy Napier and Company is in the bag, Inside the Gators brings you The Inside Scoop on what the week was like Behind the Scenes with a look at the schedule, some standouts, and reaction to Emory Jones’ decision to transfer.

* Practice day routines are pretty simple. Starting at 2:00 p.m. the players have meetings until 3:45 p.m. and then they head over to the practice fields at 4:00 p.m. Then they get back to the locker room around 6:30 to 7:00 p.m.

* For the meetings, before they go to each practice, Coach Napier addresses the entire offense and Coach [Patrick] Toney, who Napier has really made the head coach of the defense, does the same with the defense. They basically go over the practice schedule for the day and what they expect out of everyone. After that, they break down into special teams meetings, and then after that, they go into position meetings for an hour.

* On the days they don't practice [Monday, Wednesday, and Friday] they still have lifts and then starting at 3:00 p.m. they have meetings and installs until around 5:30 p.m. They get Sunday off each week.

* Inside the Gators was told that they aren't getting bussed over to practices because it saves time, because it takes about the same amount of time for the buses to go around and get through the traffic as it does to walk over there. It's about 10 minutes either way. They said that Napier said they were being bussed over to save their legs, so the players are fresher and more focused when they get to the practice fields. During workouts, they originally were being bused back too, but then they stopped doing it because it was too hard to make that happen because players stay after, and leave at different times. ITG was told that though while they couldn't be sure how much it actually helps the players physically, it does give the players a solid 10 minutes to sit there and think about what they're going to do at practice instead of leaving the stadium and walking over and not really having football as the focus. The person said that "I think overall it's better."

* As for Emory Jones' transfer, here was what was said verbatim: "I don't know what he said to the quarterbacks, because I'm not in his position group, but Emory didn't let on that he was planning to transfer to the rest of us. He did a good job of keeping that to himself. Never did he seem like he wasn't interested or into what was going on here. 

"It was no real shock for any of us that he left, but it was kind of shocking that he did it now because most of us thought that he might leave, but when he started spring practice we thought he would at least stay throughout the rest of spring ball.

"I think maybe he thought it was best to leave now instead of waiting. I wish nothing but the best for him. It didn't change anything about Saturday's practice. We just went about our business. We knew that eventually, it was going to be a possibility, but no one has any ill will towards him and we all completely understand his decision."

* On Saturday's practice in pads: "We skipped going into shells, so Saturday was our first day in full pads, so it was our first chance to hit people. It was made clear to us by the coaches that it was not full contact and that it was thud tempo. The coaches told us that no one was allowed to be brought to the ground. The players were told to wrap up and get a good fit, but no tackling." 

* As for Saturday standouts: "At Saturday's practice [Anthony Richardson] had had some really nice throws. It was his best day from what I've seen from him. [Receiver] Daejeon Reynolds had one insane catch I remember that was really impressive."

* Who had a good first week of practice: "Justin Shorter was definitely making some plays this week along with Lorenzo Lindguard at running back with some big runs and Montrell Johnson has really shocked me. He runs with a mission.

"The defensive backs had a good week as a group with a few interceptions."

* On what the two-deep depth chart looks like for offensive and defensive lines: "There's so much rotating by both lines that I don't know the depth chart. I don't think the coaches have one, they just really want to see everyone so they can see who can play."

* As for young defensive linemen, two players were singled out: "Chris McClellan and [Justus] Boone have been really impressive so far."

Tags: Sport

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