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Florida Football

Bullet Points from post practice Zoom conference with Grantham and Brewster

February 24, 2021
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Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and tight ends coach Tim Brewster met with the media via a Zoom conference call after Wednesday's practice.

Here is everything they had to say.

Todd Grantham

  • Always in the offseason, they are looking at things to improve. There’s a good feeling about the things they’ve discussed. They have a lot of young players and are looking at cross-training some of them at multiple positions. It’s good to develop guys during the spring and what’s great is they’re always developing competitive toughness as the roles develop.
  • He likes where his young defense is only four days in. He won’t dwell on last year, the reasons or issues from last year are really irrelevant. But for four and a half months, they didn’t have any physical ability to develop guys. The early enrollees this year get that luxury. He pointed out a guy like early enrollee cornerback Jason Marshall getting plenty of reps whereas the other enrollees last year didn’t have that.
  • Some things he wants the defense to do well this season: be hard to run on, affect the quarterback and hold teams to low numbers.
  • The beauty of spring is while young players start at ground zero the older guys still have things to work on. Everyone is moving up and working to improve themselves as a player individually. Older guys might get a third of the reps than others but those reps can still be just as valuable.
  • His first impressions of true freshman defensive tackle Desmond Watson: a big human. For his size, he’s a really good athlete. He has quick feet and the ability to change direction. Everyone wants him to be in the shape he needs to be in.
  • Safety Trey Dean’s played everywhere. He saw corner in 2018, nickel in 2019, and safety in 2020. They want to put players in the best possible position so for Dean that could probably be at an inside position.
  • Defensive tackle transfers Antonio Shelton and DaQuan Newkirk were the biggest help for the defense. Adding those two was a big step in the right direction. The biggest impressions they made came in their work ethic, mentality, and performance. He compared them to how Jon Greenard was from a leadership standpoint.
  • On young linebackers Derek Wingo and Ty’Ron Hopper: The big thing with them is trying to find a way to get them on the field. For Hopper it’s about consistency because he’s a playmaker when on the field. With Wingo, it’s more about finding his niche with what players the team has, where does he fit. He’d probably see time at inside linebacker.
  • They’ll look at incoming freshmen when it comes to nickel. He also names returning players like Trevez Johnson and Kamar Wilcoxson. As a nickel you’re matching two or three and doing the same thing as a safety. In terms of learning the position, it’s similar to safety. However, there’s more of a coverage element to it so the guys who played corner can help there.
  • The strength of the defense will be it’ll continue to grow. He wants to see guys learn exactly and go play. It’s a young defense but he likes its attitude and needs everything to stack on top of itself.
  • On the staff: Wesley McGriff brings energy to the backend. Same with Jules Montinar and Grantham loves what he knows. Christian Robinson is growing as a coach, he’ll be a successful coach on the defensive side of the ball. Any time you can keep someone like Robinson is a good thing.

Tim Brewster

  • Tim Brewster said he couldn’t have had more fun than on day four of spring practice. It’s exciting to see guys improving. “The attitude of the football team is outstanding,” he said later in the presser.
  • Using Kyle Pitts as a motivator: Pitts was an amazing teammate. Shared and helped others get better. The other tight ends took so much excitement in watching him and now everyone wants to be like Pitts. He rubbed off on the team and everyone celebrated his accomplishments.
  • He’s excited about all of his tight ends. Kemore Gamble’s stepped up and shown he can be a complete player. He’s developed as a run blocker and actually made a comparison to Pitts’s improvement in that area heading into 2020. Brewster’s challenged Keon Zipperer to show more athleticism. They want the tight end to be truly dynamic. He knows Jonathan Odom and Nick Elksnis will be great young tight ends. Everyone’s worried about losing Pitts but they’ll fill in.
  • It’s not fair for anyone to try to be Kyle Pitts. He’s the prototype now. But, it’s more about trying to accentuate what’s unique to each tight end. It’s about looking at areas for improvement and working on them.
  • He likes his guy Nick Elksnis when it comes to early enrollees. He’s a big, strong, and physical guy. There’s a maturity about him. Two young defensive backs from Palmetto [Jason Marshall and Corey Collier] are doing great. They’ll make an impact on the defense.
  • There’s amazing effort and urgency on the field right now. The young kids are stepping up and embracing it. They have guys out there like Elksnis who should be getting ready for prom but instead is taking on defensive linemen in drills.
  • On recruiting Miami-Dade: There are so many great players in South Florida. He has a lot of contacts and couldn’t be more excited. He can go down and hang out with his buddy, ‘Uncle’ Luke Campbell. It’s important for Florida to get the best kids in the state. There are plenty of things enticing about Florida to get those kids.
  • Excited about Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson when it comes to how the offense will change. Nobody in the country is better than Dan Mullen at matching up schematically to the players a coach has. He noted how the quarterbacks’ abilities to pull it and go off schedule will be important. The team has a chance to be a little different offensively because of the personnel.
  • He’s talked to all 32 teams about Kyle Pitts. He thought Gates would be the best player he’s ever coached but his feeling is Pitts is the absolute total package. He pointed out Daniel Jeremiah rated him the No. 3 player in the draft. Pitts won’t be around long and Brewster expects some teams to trade up for a shot to get him. He thinks Pitts won’t get out of the first 10 picks for sure.
  • The tight end position is “totally evolving” into one of the most important positions on offense. It could be just as important as quarterback in terms of value. And Pitts will do nothing but enhance the position. He’s only 20 years old and has a maturity level that’s outstanding. Brewster likes to think he’s helped him but it comes down to Pitts’s God-given ability. He’ll be a tremendous ambassador for the league on and off the field.
  • When asked about if Brewster will be in charge of H-backs with the likelihood of the transition to a running game: If a tight end is involved, he will coach them. Dan’s system is amazingly multiple.
  • Brewster thinks he’s in the dream spot. Tight ends are calling to be a part of this offense. He wishes he could take three tight ends this cycle. It’s pretty fun being the tight ends coach at UF.
  • Brewster said Carlos Del Rio-Wilson is strong-armed and athletic. Jalen Kitna’s dad was an NFL QB and coach so he’ll be a great player. The best thing is they can sit back and relax plus learn from Mullen and Garrick McGee. Both will be excellent players. But, the dues Emory Jones paid make Brewster excited to see him finally get his time in the sun.
  • Early enrollee wide receiver Daejon Reynolds is impressive. Another strong, physical guy who can make plays. Wide receiver is a position kids want to play at UF.
  • Demarkcus Bowman is electric, with great speed. He runs with great eyes/vision. Brew’s really excited to see him play.

Bullet Points from post practice Zoom conference with Grantham and Brewster

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