GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida announced that it will hold its annual Orange & Blue spring game on a Saturday this year for the first time since 2015, setting the showcase for 3 p.m. on April 14 in The Swamp.
But before the Gators go through their first spring practice with new coach Dan Mullen, they have to endure what has been promised to be a grueling offseason strength and conditioning program.
The offseason program officially starts Tuesday, led by new strength and conditioning coach Nick Savage, who followed Mullen from Mississippi State.
Upon his hiring in late November, Mullen told reporters, “It’s probably going to be something they have never even experienced in their life before, our off-season conditioning program.”
That message has been reinforced even more strongly to the players. Incoming freshman safety/linebacker Amari Burney said that Mullen joked with him about what to expect when he reported to campus this month.
“Coach Mullen told me if I wanted to take it easy I should go to the Marines,” Burney shared.
Several of Mullen’s former players told SEC Country last month how his rigorous offseason program was the foundation for his success at Mississippi State.
Meanwhile, this week was about finalizing the coaching staff, and welcoming Florida’s nine early enrollees to campus.
That’s the third-most mid-year enrollees for the Gators since 2004.
That list includes quarterback Emory Jones, offensive linemen Noah Banks (lone JUCO addition in the group) and Chris Bleich, running backs Iverson Clement and Dameon Pierce, defensive back Trey Dean, Burney and wide receiver transfers Van Jefferson (Ole Miss) and Trevon Grimes (Ohio State).
“These guys have the opportunity to get a jump-start on their college careers,” Mullen said, according to the official team website. “Being able to participate in our offseason program and spring ball will help them lay the foundation for their future on the field and in the classroom.”
That list unfortunately does not include freshman safety Randy Russell, as his team physical revealed a heart condition (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) that will prematurely end his football career.