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Discussion in 'Main Sports Forum' started by BMF, Feb 19, 2018.
@RyanYoungSEC: #Gators safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson says "Coach Percy" Harvin is around the team "every day." Harvin doesn't have an official role, but he has become a mentor to the current Gators. https://www.seccountry.com/florida/...ys-coach-percy-harvin-around-gators-every-day
Mullen explains what the Gator standard is
Throughout his spring speaking tour Dan Mullen was asked about bringing back the “Gator standard.”
What is the Gator standard, though?
A big part of it is winning, not just in football. The Florida Gators Track and Field team just won a National Championship the 40th in school history. So, National Championships are apart of that standard — and Mullen helped bring two of those 40 to Gainesville. He’s also part of the reason why the expectations are what they are for the football team, as he jokingly references every so often.
“I remember just as an offensive coordinator if we score 30 points by halftime, they would run down to the locker room and there were people telling me I was No. 1, different fingers,” he joked. “The standard and expectation of the program and the fan base is so high.”
Just days before he will kick off his first spring football camp Mullen was again asked what he thought the Gator standard was, jokes aside.
“I’d love us in the next four years to go 60-0 with four national titles. The 60-0 is probably the most unrealistic. Everybody views it that way. 60-0 is not the Gator standard,” Mullen said. “The Gator standard is: Did we push ourselves to be the absolute best we can be and take ourselves to become the absolute best we could be? If we do that then you’re going to have the opportunity to go win the championships that we expect as part of this program.”
That process began from almost the very first meeting with his team. Mullen explained what he and his coaching staff would expect of the young men. He warned them of the conditioning program they were about to endure and that they needed to buy in. The room full of players that had just went 4-7 didn’t know what they were in for but they listened to Mullen.
“We know Coach Mullen, his past here was good. And we see Coach Savage and his past at Mississippi State, how he developed guys, conditioning staff,” junior Chauncey Gardner-Johnson said. “The first two weeks was kind of hard because we didn’t know what we were getting into. Once everything got rolling after a month or so, two months or so, we all bought in.”
The goal isn’t to go 60-0. The goal is to win the SEC East. To win the SEC and to play for National Championships. Things happen, though. Holders throw a football over their head and the football bounces up perfectly into the arms of a kicker on a trick play. The Gators will lose games with Mullen as their head coach, they’ll lose more than one but it’s never going to be for a lack of heart or effort.
“I know they’re going to play hard because they’re not going to have an option. I know that they’re going to learn to go hard. I know that we’re going to be physical. I feel comfortable with that with the team by seeing the lack of resistance in what we’ve asked them to do.”
To Mullen, that’s the standard. Setting the offseason strength and conditioning goals to a level where players can’t help but get bigger, faster and stronger. Then making practices as intense and as competitive as he and the coaching staff can so that by the time the team hits the field on Saturday, the hard work is done and it’s easy.
The Gator standard is winning, Mullen knows that, he helped create the culture. Now he has another chance to embrace the expectation and raise the bar again.
Well.... I guess to could be worse. And yet "Coach" Hernandez isnt alive.
Florida QB Feleipe Franks not looking back: ‘I hit the all-time low. It’s only going to go up.’
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks met with reporters Tuesday for the first time since the end of last season, and he sounded a lot like the same guy who stood at the podium after that final loss to Florida State.
He talked about how people — fans, media, et al. — don’t understand the process of developing as a quarterback. He talked about staying positive no matter what’s being said about him. And he reiterated several times that he’s not dwelling on what’s happened in the past.
It wasn’t quite Mark McGwire’s infamous “I’m not here to talk about the past,” but it was clear nonetheless that Franks is ready to move forward from his rookie season, eager to make a strong first impression on a new coaching staff and, essentially, try to win his job back.
No matter what anybody else thinks or expects from him.
“I’m always a positive person. No matter how many people are talking about me, I’ve always kept a smile on my face,” he said. “… My game’s only going to go up from here. You know, I hit the all-time low, it’s only going to go up.
“Like I said, it goes back to the people in general not trusting the process. You know they want the results right away. Sometimes it doesn’t always work like that. That’s just me trusting the process, not really caring about what anybody else thinks about me.”
To be fair, Franks has taken his share of criticism from the fan base, including some wholly inappropriate trash that surfaced on social media last fall. That would take its toll on anybody.
But the tone Tuesday was decidedly positive. The redshirt sophomore wasn’t pressed on any of his 2017 struggles, which included completing 54.6 percent of his passes for 1,438 yards, 9 touchdowns and 8 interceptions while playing in all 11 games and starting eight.
The invigorating excitement coach Dan Mullen has brought to the program has made it easy for everyone to move on from a 4-7 season, but Franks clearly still carries the scars of that experience.
As he touched on, it was the first time in his football life that he didn’t excel.
He says he took a little “reflection period” after it was all over, but he only allowed himself a week and a half or so to look backward before closing the book, as he put it.
“There’s plays like in the FSU game that I wish I could’ve had back where I look, you know, ‘Maybe I should’ve hit the flat route here. We could’ve got 10 yards instead of throwing an interception on this play.’ So it’s little things like that that you go back and watch, and it’s like, I wouldn’t do that now. It’s just gaining the knowledge of the game,” Franks said. “And me being a redshirt freshman last year and going into my sophomore year, it’s just little things like that that you learn. And then going into my junior year, there’ll be more things that I’ve learned, and it’s all a process.
“That’s what a lot of people don’t understand — it’s not going to happen right away. For some it does, and for others it takes a couple of years. Next thing you know you’re talking about a top pick or something in the draft and nobody would’ve ever expected it. So it’s all a process, and a lot of people don’t like to trust in the process.”
Said junior wide receiver Josh Hammond: “I think he’s learned a lot and he’s just ready to get back out and play. He’s watched a lot of film and went over his mistakes from last year. He’s a guy that just wants to move forward, like he was saying. He’s going to come out and be ready to play. I think he’ll be a lot better player this year.”
Franks does get a fresh start in 2018, but it comes in a different offense with a different coaching staff than the one that recruited him to Florida and worked with him through his first two years in the program.
Franks joked that he likes the new offense because it’s the offense he’s going to have to embrace, but he added that he does think Mullen’s spread offense is a system in which he can succeed.
“It’s something different than what we had with [former offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier]. But at the same time, it really breaks it down toward super simple. It’s easy for the quarterback to understand,” he said. “I think, me personally, I think I can thrive in it.
“Like I said, it’s just the way he does it, the way he breaks it down for us and the way he makes it simple. Things of that sort. It’s really easy for the receivers to start picking up and then especially the quarterbacks and me personally to pick up and know to run with it.”
Franks will compete with freshman early enrollee Emory Jones, a highly touted dual-threat quarterback who chose Mullen and the Gators over Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State. Redshirt sophomore Kyle Trask and redshirt freshman Jake Allen are untested wildcards in the mix.
Hammond noted that Jones and Franks have been working together a lot this offseason.
Mullen has had his best success with physical, dual-threat quarterbacks such as Tim Tebow at Florida and Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald at Mississippi State. But he’s stated several times that he can build an offense around a variety of quarterback styles.
Franks showed his athleticism last season with a 79-yard scamper against Texas A&M, as well as other successful scrambles. And if this offense calls for him to run more, he will, he said.
“If I have to, I can tote that rock,” he said. “I think it’s just another aspect of Coach Mullen’s game that I’m going to have to adapt to. I’ve always been a pocket passer, but I can always adapt if something breaks down. I’ve never been afraid to run the ball and I never will be. If I have to, I can put that head down and get rolling.”
The quarterback competition will be the spotlight storyline of spring for Florida, as usual.
Mullen said he’s not necessarily worried about settling on a depth chart coming out of spring, and “if we have more than one guy who earns playing time at quarterback, we might play more than one.”
There will still be fall camp, of course, and it sounds like there won’t be any true clarity on the position until then. But spring practice is a key audition for all the quarterbacks.
And, for Franks, a fresh start.
He may have sounded like the same guy who stood up there at the end of a 4-7 season last November reminding reporters and fans that even Tom Brady throws interceptions, but it’s his prerogative to take whatever edge he needs from his experiences as a raw redshirt freshman.
In the end, it’s not about how he responds in a media setting, but how he responds on the field starting Friday.
“I think it’s fresh air with the new coaching staff, to put last season, you know, close the book. And then, you know, we have a fresh start. I think it’s a good thing for me and then for the rest of the players as well,” Franks said. “You know, just get a sigh of relief through the building and then know we have a new start so we’re not dreading on last season and, you know, getting things going again.
“I’ve never been afraid of competition, so it’s nothing new to me.”
Mullen was asked about players changing positions and cross-training at multiple positions.
Here’s what Mullen said about guys changing positions: “I don’t think so. I don’t know where everybody was, so… I have a good idea where they’re going to be, so I guess there could be some position changes without me knowing we actually changed their position. You’re going to play at this position. We’ve told them where they’re all going to play, so that might involve some changing from where they were in the past.”
He was also asked specifically about which defensive ends, in addition to senior CeCe Jefferson, will also get work at outside linebacker. He said Jachai Polite and Jabari Zuniga could, but Antonneous Clayton will not. He also mentioned linebacker Jeremiah Moon will do some cross-training between the two spots.
Mullen also confirmed that Gardner-Johnson will remain at safety. “He’s going to be more safety and possibly nickel within the scheme that we play. That’s where we’re going to kind of start him at.”
Watkins a CB?
True freshman Justin Watkins, a two-way star in high school, likely is going to start his UF career on defense instead of at wide receiver, Mullen said. Watkins enrolls this summer.
“Justin and I talked the other day. I think he might start at corner,” Mullen said. That’s changed here or there, a couple different times. I said, ‘Hey, we come to meetings, you get here the first day, you split into positional meetings. Where are you going to go?
“It’s like, “Wherever you want me to go, coach.’ I said, ‘I’m not going to tell you where to go. I want to see where you feel most comfortable.’
Mullen said Watkins has a chance to excel wherever he ends up lining up.
“When you look at a guy that’s a phenomenal athlete and has all the positional flexibility he has, I kind of say — where do you feel most comfortable?” he said.
Burney a linebacker?
Another talented true freshman, early enrollee Amari Burney, will open the spring at safety, but could eventually grow into a linebacker. He’s currently listed as 6-foot-1, 224 pounds on the spring roster.
“He can do an awful lot,” Mullen said. “You watch him as a high school player, he played everything. He played everywhere on the field. I think he’s played safety. He’s going to start out at safety. But physically, you look at him as a younger guy that has potential to grow into being an inside linebacker, potentially a nickel/star type of player for us.
“There’s obviously a lot of potential and flexibility that he has. His physical development and size and where he gets to will kind of determine where he ends up, but I think his athleticism gives him the flexibility to play three, four different positions on the defense.”
Biggest concerns for Dan Mullen heading into his first spring
In his press conference Tuesday, Florida coach Dan Mullen did not single out positions that concern him heading into spring football.
Mullen said he and his staff have watched a couple of games from last season and made general evaluations, but he doesn’t have write-ups on every player with pros and cons from their film.
“I don’t want to prejudge people,” Mullen said, “because a lot of times you’re watching and you don’t know what they were asked to do.”
The Gators have question marks on both sides of the ball, and not all of them will be answered by the end of spring. There’s no denying the quarterback position is the greatest concern.
Florida is holding an open competition for the fourth year in a row, and three of the four candidates haven’t taken a collegiate snap. Feleipe Franks started eight games in 2017 as a redshirt freshman, but went 3-5 and struggled throughout the season.
Franks believes he has learned from his mistakes and will be able to thrive in Mullen’s offense. That remains to be seen this spring, but the coaches and players seem to have confidence that Franks can turn it around. If not, many expect early enrollee Emory Jones to be next in line.
Jones may be Florida’s quarterback of the future, but starting a freshman under center isn’t an ideal situation. Mullen and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson won’t make that call unless they feel Jones is ready, but getting him to that point will be a process.
Cornerback, linebacker and kicker are also question marks in 2018.
The Gators are set with starters C.J. Henderson and Marco Wilson, but they only have two returning corners in McArthur Burnett and C.J. McWilliams. Early enrollee Trey Dean and incoming freshman Justin Watkins will need to contribute right away. Mullen said Tuesday that Watkins — a top-100 overall athlete — will start out at cornerback instead of wide receiver.
Florida has several positions with few proven players but a lot depth, such as wide receiver, tight end, defensive tackle and safety. That applies most to the linebacker spot, which returns nine players from 2017.
With a pair of incoming freshmen (Andrew Chatfield and David Reese) and the use of CeCe Jefferson at outside linebacker, the Gators will have numbers for their new 3-4 scheme. However, the coaches have to figure out who plays where and which combination gives them the best four linebackers on the field.
The staff also has to replace Eddy Pineiro, the most accurate kicker in school history. Florida has three walk-on kickers on the team right now, including redshirt senior Jorge Powell. But the favorite for the job is signee Evan McPherson, the nation’s No. 1-ranked kicker in the 2018 class. He arrives this summer and has a strong shot to start, but will he be ready as a freshman? We won’t find out until fall camp.
I see Del Rio's attitude is still rubbing off on some players.
How about stop worrying about what the fans (fanatics) say and actually improve your game. Franks will no longer have the Nuss excuse.
Acting arrogant when you play that poorly certainly isn't going to help with winning the fans over.
This is gonna be weird when Emory takes the first snap...
Gators vote Feleipe Franks a team captain, showing they ‘have belief in him as a leader’
Spring Preview: Gators looking to identify a new nickelback
GatorBait.net previews the cornerback position heading into the spring, where all eyes will be on who steps in to replace Duke Dawson at nickelback.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida players are returning from spring break this week after taking a bit of time off between a grueling stretch of strength and conditioning and the beginning of spring practice. With spring ball set to begin on Friday, GatorBait.net takes a look at each position to provide you with our three top questions, how we think the depth chart will turn out following spring ball and more.
THREE KEY QUESTIONS
*** Who will man the nickelback role?
The starters on the outside should be relatively set, no matter what the coaches say about every job being up for grabs this spring. Guys like Wilson and Henderson are tough to beat out. But nickelback is a relatively open competition with Duke Dawson gone. Brian Edwards and Donovan Stiner are the only two who have gotten much experience there, and it was limited last year. Those will likely be two key contenders for the job, while freshman Trey Dean could also get a shot there. With a glut of safety types, it also wouldn't be surprising to see guys like Shawn Davis, Brad Stewart or even Quincy Lenton getting a look here.
*** Can Florida get anything out of the third-year cornerbacks?
Frankly, the showing from third-year players McArthur Burnett and C.J. McWilliams have been lackluster at best to date. Granted, McWilliams has battled some injuries. Still, those two need to begin to produce, especially this spring where the depth chart is relatively open at cornerback. If they can't begin to make a move, it might be best for them to start looking at options other than Florida. Perhaps new coaching will be able to get something out of them.
*** How will the cornerbacks react to a third position coach in three years?
Cornerback probably isn't a position influenced by position coaching changes quite as much as some offensive positions, but it still provides a bit of a hurdle for players. They have to get used to how a new coach, Charlton Warren, wants them playing. The system is also changing this spring. So how will the cornerbacks pick things up? Will the change and the military background Warren will bring to the table put certain players ahead of the 8-ball when it comes to earning his trust? How players react and what the system looks like for the cornerbacks in spring ball will be telling on how the depth chart could shake out.
HOW WE PROJECT THE POST-SPRING DEPTH CHART
C.J. Henderson, SO
C.J. McWilliams, RSO
Marco Wilson, SO
Trey Dean, FR
McArthur Burnett, RSO
Brian Edwards, SO
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, JR
Donovan Stiner, SO
Explanation: The only real question mark here is probably at nickel and who emerges as a key backup to the Henderson/Wilson combo. While we have Gardner-Johnson listed at nickelback, we see it pretty unlikely he plays anything more than spot duty there if necessary unless Florida gets some unexpected contributions from other safeties. Edwards, though, showed some promise at nickelback last year and he's our favorite to win that job. Dean could also make a big impact as a true freshman either at nickelback or as a top backup for the starters on the outside.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE
This position doesn't carry a ton of intrigue in the spring with two talented returning starters back on the outside. But nickelback has been a big part of Florida's defense over the years, and having to replace Duke Dawson will put some strain on the guys looking to step in. We want to see just how big an impact Dean can have right away, because he's got the size and physicality to be a very good SEC cornerback or nickelback.
Finally, spring is all about figuring out where guys fit in the secondary. Players that aren't listed on our projected cornerback depth chart could end up at the position as the Gators shuffle bodies from safety to cornerback and vice versa. Simply seeing who lines up where early on in spring will be important.
Oh sh*t...don’t let Slevin hear nickelback.
I just LOL'd
Thanks for the shyte depth in the secondary Mac. Any injuries and we're going to be fubared.
They're moving Watkins over to CB. I was actually hoping to see him on offense...but, thank Butters for that!
There isn't a competent passing team on our schedule. We could draft band members and be ok at DB.
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