GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain met with reporters Tuesday.
Here were the highlights from his press conference.
- On Friday’s scrimmage: “We were able to get some really good just situations come up within the scrimmage. We had some turnovers, which we’re obviously not excited about as far as the ball security piece. We had three of those in the scrimmage and we’ve got to get better at that. A couple of them were kind of misjudged throws that we threw into coverage rather than just taking what the defense gives us, in two of those cases.”
- Slot receiver Dre Massey stood out in the scrimmage. As did the running backs. … Jordan Cronkrite got “banged up” and will be held out until Thursday probably. Freshman Lamical Perine “really showed up.”
- Defensively, redshirt-freshman defensive linemen Jabari Zuniga and true freshman linebacker Vosean Joseph impressed McElwain.
- Injuries: In addition to Cronkrite, WR C.J. Worton is still out with a leg injury. “Should be back at the end of this week, but we’ll see on that.” OL Andrew Mike is still out, no update.
- McElwain on the week ahead: “Really more than anything we’re kind of looking this week for some competition at some of the spots as we start to look to kind of solidify playing time in certain rotations at some other positions.”
- On the OL’s progress: “I don’t know if you can really quantify exactly where it’s at until we can get out there and see. Obviously the numbers and where we were sack-wise is something that is just unacceptable. And yet, it takes other pieces in there as well. I don’t see that as being as big an issue for us, or it hasn’t been in camp. I think we are markedly better at all the spots, and that has as much to do with guys that gained experience, gained a year of strength, knowledge as to what we’re trying to accomplish. Footwork-wise, at times we’re going sideways. We need to make sure that we’re trying re control the line of scrimmage and not let the line of scrimmage control us. But those are things we’re working on, and I actually like our depth there too. I think we’ve got some answers even with (Antonio) Riles being down.” … True freshman Jawaan Taylor continues to draw praise, redshirt-freshman Brandon Sandifer (both at guard and tackle), redshirt-sophomore Kavaris Harkless and redshirt-freshman center T.J. McCoy are some of the young guys who have impressed McElwain.
- On Del Rio’s performance in the scrimmage: “He definitely had a little bounce and that was good to see. I talked about the ball security piece, but we also had some really good explosives — both in the run and the pass game — and that was good to see. … And Luke was a big piece to that.”
- Competitions McElwain is watching closely this week: wideout rotation, the defensive line rotation. “Those are kind of the big pieces to me.”
- Overall on camp: “Well, it’s camp. I’ve never really thought about rating camps. We got a lot of things accomplished that we had on our checklist. We have things we still need to work on. … It’s been warm. Yeah, so I’ll rate it as warm.”
- On special teams: “(Punter) Johnny Townsend, he’s got great hands even with the JUGS machine (injury) he has, but I see a real comfort level there between the kickers and the holder and our operation time is (better) than it was a year ago. We spread up the pre-kick ritual by Eddy, and he’s handled that well. And Jorge Powell is back doing a great job as well. He’ll handle our onside stuff and things like that.”
- More on Townsend: “I’ve said it, I think he arguably was one of the most valuable players on our team a year ago with what he did flipping the field on kicks and not being selfish about his average and pinning guys inside the 10.”
- On Eddy Pineiro: “From a kickoff approach standpoint, he’s messed with a couple different things. We’ve talked about how he can become a weapon with not only his distance, but his hang time.”
- On Pineiro’s consistency: “There is no way to simulate what it’s going to be like come game time and he needs to learn to adapt to that and kick. With each time he’ll be able to get a little bit better as we go from there.”
Ryan Young is a Florida beat writer for SEC Country and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.