Ryan Young/SEC Country
Florida quarterback Jake Allen throws a pass Tuesday while running back Adarius Lemons goes through a drill.

Florida Gators not taking spring practice lightly under Dan Mullen

Ryan Young

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Gators set aggressive tone for third practice Tuesday

Football season is still more than five months away, but Florida coach Dan Mullen and his staff are pushing their players aggressively during spring practice so far.

Take the beginning and end of the Gators practice on Tuesday.

After stretching, the players broke off into groups down the sideline of the Indoor Practice Facility and took part in a version of the old “Oklahoma drill,” where two players square off trying to push the other out of the space or take them to the ground while their teammates surround them.

It harkened to the “Circle of Life” drill the Gators used to use under former coach Urban Meyer, Mullen’s former boss.

“It’s 4 seconds, how tough you are. Nobody should be able to get beat in 4 seconds. Anybody should be able to hold their own for 4 seconds going against somebody,” Florida co-offensive coordinator Billy Gonzales said after practice. “… It establishes right off the get-go, as far as being Day One and putting the pads on, the importance of understanding that being part of a physical football team is going to be important for us to move forward.”

Then at the end of practice, as reporters were let back inside in advance of interviews with the Gators coordinators, the players were running sideline to sideline to the point of exhaustion. One defensive lineman had to be pushed by a teammate; another was being coached along while gritting through the painful final reps.

That aligns with what Mullen said last week he’d be looking to get out of spring ball.

“A lot of the things with spring to me is learning how to play hard. That’s going to be a huge one [to] make sure guys understand what effort is,” Mullen said. “You’d be shocked sometimes how guys think they’re going hard, and then you go watch the film and ask them, ‘Is that as fast as you can go?’ No. I’m like, ‘Did you think you were going hard?’ Yes. How do we close that gap when you think you’re going hard when you’re not actually going as hard as you can go?”

Watch more highlights from the Oklahoma drill here as well as video of the quarterbacks and running backs going through individual work.

Meanwhile, 247Sports’ Thomas Goldkamp provided a rundown of who bested who in the 1-on-1 physical matchups, for what it’s worth.

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In other Florida football news

Recruiting roundup

  • Abolverdi talked to Keiondre Jones, a highly touted offensive line prospect and the cousin of Gators QB Emory Jones, about his recent visit to Florida and his thoughts on the Gators. “Emory coming to Florida kind of sparked my interest in the program,” Jones said. “But really, I’ve been talking to the new coaching staff. I hear from one of their coaches at least every day and they’re telling me to come block for Emory. There’s a revamped feel to the program, so I wanted to come check it out and I’m glad I did.” Read more here.
  • Abolverdi also writes about when No. 1 overall Class of 2019 recruit Kayvon Thibodeaux might return to Florida for another visit.

Florida baseball hosts Jacksonville

  • The Gators (18-4) postponed their game with Jacksonville (13-8) from Tuesday night to Wednesday night. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
  • Florida is expected to start freshman right-hander Hunter McMullen (0-0, 1.86 ERA in 9⅔
    innings), while Jacksonville is planning to throw senior righty Spencer Stockton (1-2, 3.12).

What they’re saying on Twitter

  • Florida basketball coach Mike White tweeted his appreciation for seniors Chris Chiozza and Egor Koulechov:

  • Florida defensive back McArthur Burnett posted about his first interception of spring practice:

  • Photos from Mullen’s speaking appearance at the University Auditorium:

  • Florida defensive end recruiting target Derick Hunter sounds all in on the Gators:

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