GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain met with reporters Thursday afternoon.
The Gators are turning their focus to installing their game plan for the season opener starting Thursday.
Here were the highlights from McElwain’s press conference:
- McElwain: “Today is really our first introduction to what we’re going to do moving forward to next week. … We’ll work situations with crowd noise to get our guys kind of used to that. After practice we’ll do the routine we’ll normally do on a Friday, actually, where we meet at the Gator head and come up and do our Friday evening meal.”
- Impressions from practice this week: “Tuesday they really came out crisp, fresh. I saw our speed kind of come back a little bit. … Wednesday practice, as far as putting them back to back, the finish was outstanding in how we closed out practice. … I didn’t feel we got off to a fast start, which is a point of emphasis for us.”
- Injuries: “Realling nothing updated. We got (offensive lineman Kavaris) Harkless back, which is good. He had a good practice yesterday. He gives us some depth. We’ll get Andrew Mike back today. (Running back Jordan) Cronkrite and the rest of the guys, C.J. Worton, he’ll still be out. Other than that I feel pretty good about where we’re at.”
- On linebacker’s Alex Anzalone health and outlook: “All indications in both shoulders, his strength level and stability is better than it’s ever been. So I don’t see any limitations there at all. In fact, he’s probably taken more than what we anticipated, and that’s through our trainers and team doctors as far as where he is. There is going to be no limitations there at all.”
- On linebacker Jarrad Davis: “I can’t say enough about him in terms of what he brings to the Gators, how proud he is to be a Gator and what he’s taken on leadership wise. … He’s a guy who is obviously having a great camp, and I’m looking forward to his season and his continued leadership going forward. He’s a guy everybody listens to when he talks.”
- On young receivers Freddie Swain and Josh Hammond: “Them having spring ball under the belt has really shown their comfort. It was probably about practice four and (Freddie) came up and said, ‘It’s amazing how much more fun it is when you know what you’re doing.’ … His comfort really shows that he’s able to play a lot faster. He’s come up with a lot of big catches. Still working on that focus and consistency that a lot of young guys deal with.”
- McElwain said Jalen Tabor and C’yontai Lewis still on track to return to practice today. “We talked about it as a family and our expectations and off we go.”
- McElwain vague on the progress of freshmen receivers Rick Wells and Tyrie Cleveland. “They’ll be back,” he said.
- McElwain reveals wide receiver C.J. Worton has “the dreaded high-ankle sprain.” He had just been calling it a leg injury.
- On Antonio Callaway’s status for the opener: “We’re still working through some things.”
- On competition between Brandon Powell and Dre Massey for kick return duties: “We’ll use multiple guys back there. A lot of that has to do with staying fresh. You’ll see both of them back there.”
Ryan Young is a Florida beat writer for SEC Country and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.