Florida Gators not taking spring practice lightly under Dan Mullen
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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.
— Ryan Young (@RyanYoungSEC) March 20, 2018
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?”
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
- Mullen went straight from practice Tuesday evening to a speaking event at the University Auditorium, where he took questions from students.
- He was asked if he could tell a good Tim Tebow story and obliged, while offering perspective on the challenges of his former QB’s immense fame.
- Mullen also had a really interesting answer when asked for his thoughts on college athletes potentially getting paid in the future.
- SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi has a feature on former Gators cornerback Keiwan Ratliff’s success coaching a 7-on-7 team full of top recruits.
- The latest edition of the Chomp Chat podcast focuses on the impressive physical gains the Gators made during the offseason strength and conditioning program.
- Steve Spurrier had a humorous response (of course) when asked about Nick Saban potentially nearing retirement.
- Florida legend Danny Wuerffel is going to captain a team in an American Flag Football League tournament. His roster will include former Gators, but he’s also holding tryouts for locals in the Gainesville area.
- 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:
— Michael White (@MikeWhiteUF) March 20, 2018
— Michael White (@MikeWhiteUF) March 20, 2018
- Florida defensive back McArthur Burnett posted about his first interception of spring practice:
First INT of spring 2018 💸 it’s check out time ✌🏾 pic.twitter.com/JOhwOxDnt6
— McArthur Burnett (@Pahokee_Beast) March 21, 2018
- Photos from Mullen’s speaking appearance at the University Auditorium:
— Gators Football (@GatorsFB) March 21, 2018
- Florida defensive end recruiting target Derick Hunter sounds all in on the Gators:
— Rambo hunter. jr (@hunterderick31) March 19, 2018
My future coach 🐊 https://t.co/VzvkYKwT8Y
— Rambo hunter. jr (@hunterderick31) March 20, 2018
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