Jordan McPherson/SEC Country
Florida's quarterbacks warm up during the flex period of practice.

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:

Highlight observations from the split-squad practice can be found here. We also have a full photo gallery from both portions of practice.

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.”

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What they’re saying on Twitter

Kicker Eddy Pineiro:

Wide receiver Daquon Green:

Tight end Kemore Gamble:

Men’s basketball coach Mike White:

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