GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Gators ran through a pair of split-squad practices Thursday afternoon on their first official day of preseason camp.
Coach Jim McElwain met with reporters to share his thoughts on the day.
Here are some highlights from his press conference.
- McElwain starts by reminiscing about taking audio/video classes in college while observing some of the advanced media technology being used now: “I learned how to run a ditto machine.”
- On the first practices: “That was a lot of fun out there today. We got out a little early … The pace was outstanding. The thing that kind of caught me was how much farther along we are from a standpoint of understanding the standards we expect about how we go about our daily business.”
- “We’ve got some pass rushers and that’s good to see.”
- “Nobody got hurt, which was good.”
- Junior college defensive back Joseph Putu finished his physical and everything else he needed to do last night and was at practice today. “We’re looking forward to him helping this year’s team.”
- On the freshmen going through their first practice and whether any touted recruits needed humbling: “There weren’t any guys out there prancing around thinking that they owned the joint. They were just trying to get lined up, and that’s a good thing.”
- On all the ongoing interest and questions in the quarterback competition: “I’m interested in it too. Don’t think I’m not. I truly am. Both guys took a bunch of reps with both units today. Let’s face it, we were in underwear and helmets. It’s different. So what were we trying to get out of that position today? I’d say more than anything a command of what we’re trying to get accomplished … and whether they could handle the changes at the line of scrimmage. I was really happy with both of their commands, especially in two-minute today. … Now that younger [group in the second session], the two-minute, it was not a thing of beauty, there might have been a few sacks, but that’s OK. The fact we were able to engineer that drill [shows me] we are far ahead.”
- More on QBs: “In all four guys’ cases, you can really tell they took the weight room to heart — you’re talking about good weight they put on. Footwork-wise, they seemed to be pretty good. And they all got new white shoes. They’re really nice. Nike treated us pretty well on that deal.”
- McElwain didn’t have anything deep to say on suspended wide receiver Antonio Callaway returning to practice: “Obviously to get a guy that took a ton of snaps and anytime you get a guy with that kind of experience, that obviously helps. … He didn’t look like he really missed a beat. He made some plays, got lined up, messed up on a smash concept versus press coverage, so that tells me he’s not all the way there yet.”
- McElwain offered praise for freshmen offensive linemen Jawaan Taylor and Brett Heggie.
- McElwain on physical impressions: “[Freshman defensive linemen] Jordan Smith is a guy that looking at him in uniform, I’m like, ‘Geez, you’re actually starting to grow up.’ I think we’ve gotten a little better size-wise, but more than that our length is very good. … Guys look good in their uniforms, which makes you at least excited about getting off the bus.”
- McElwain asked about freshman wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland changing from No. 2 to No. 89, and if that was part of his discipline: “Guys, I don’t look at jersey numbers. I don’t know. There were a lot bigger consequences than a jersey, believe me.”
That’s it for today. One day in the books, plenty more to come.