Florida football: Fall camp is underway, but the work has just begun
Welcome to another installment of Good Morning, Gators, SEC Country’s daily morning column covering Florida athletics with beat writer Jordan McPherson. Here’s a look at what you might have missed on Thursday:
Camp is officially underway
The Florida Gators finished their first of 28 preseason practices on Thursday, and coach Jim McElwain overall was happy with what he saw from his team. The team was split into two groups — essentially the newcomers and the returners — for the first day in order to allow the younger players to become acclimated to how McElwain runs practice before being thrown into the fire. Two main takeaways from the first day:
- The quarterback battle between Feleipe Franks, Malik Zaire and Luke Del Rio has merely just begun.
- McElwain was extremely impressed with the energy from the team, especially the freshmen.
This is merely the start of a month-long camp that McElwain said he hopes will be “uncomfortable” for the players.
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Rankings, rankings, rankings
With fall camps now in full swing and the regular season less than a month away, the main preseason college football rankings are beginning to surface. The Gators will open the season at No. 16 in the USA Today/Amway Coaches poll, which was released Thursday afternoon. Florida also checks in at No. 14 in the first installment of ESPN.com’s power rankings. Here is what ESPN had to say about the Gators:
“The quarterback competition will be fascinating the next few weeks as Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire pushes presumed front-runner Feleipe Franks. Quarterback is clearly the missing piece for a team with good depth at the skill spots. The defense turns over quite a bit, and an offseason injury to safety Marcell Harris creates another void. Florida hasn’t gained much respect despite consecutive SEC East titles. It can earn some by beating Michigan in the opener.”
Florida’s mascots getting preseason love, too
Sports Illustrated’s Joan Niesen on Thursday ranked the top 10 mascots in college football. Florida’s duo of Albert and Alberta came in at No. 3 on the list. Niesen’s explanation:
“Florida gets big-time points for taking two legitimately bloodthirsty animals and turning them into, essentially, your reptilian grandparents. You know those old couples who go to games wearing jerseys that say, when standing next to each other, “Together Since 1952”? This is them, except they’ve emerged from the Everglades.”
In other Florida football news
- Del Rio is physically and mentally healed after a rough 2016 season.
- Why Zaire likes his jerseys to have longer sleeves.
- More in-depth looks at new Florida wide receiver commitment Jacob Copeland, including exclusive audio from Copeland in our latest podcast, why he was a must-get for the Gators and why Copeland is optimistic about the rest of the 2018 class.
- Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III is feeling confident early in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ training camp, wrote the Tampa Bay Times’ Greg Auman.
- Tight end Jordan Reed said his toe injury flared up after a stem-cell treatment, wrote the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Michael Phillips.
- Former Florida tight end commitment Zech Byrd is signed to play with Garden City Community College in Kansas, as first reported by 247Sports.com’s Luke Stampini.
- Thirteen Florida swimmers competed in finals at the second day of the 2017 U.S. Open Swimming Championships.
- Fifteen former Florida track and field athletes and one incoming freshman will compete at the 2017 IAAF World Championships, which begins Friday in London.
- Florida volleyball fan day is set for Aug. 19.
Let’s keep talking
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What they’re saying on Twitter
Kicker Eddy Pineiro:
The face you make when football season is about to start 😂🏈🐊 pic.twitter.com/3AQYgbxltv
— Eddy Piñeiro (@eddypineiro1) August 3, 2017
Wide receiver Daquon Green:
Let's get it‼️ pic.twitter.com/OOWi4LqBok
— DaQuon Green (@iamDG7) August 3, 2017
Tight end Kemore Gamble:
Day 1🔥 of fall camp 🤞🏾 not taking any calls 😓
— |HUMBLE| (@kemoregamble15) August 3, 2017
Men’s basketball coach Mike White:
I'm really proud of the work our guys have put in this summer. It's great to be a Gator! 🐊
— Michael White (@MikeWhiteUF) August 3, 2017
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