Florida won't begin fall practice until Monday, and though we're under 24 hours from that true commencement of the 2014 Florida football season, the time between now and then will be mostly spent on pins and needles, as the first bit of Footballmas takes seemingly forever to arrive.
Fortunately, we have a terrible substitute for actual football today: Talking about it!
At 2 p.m. or thereabouts, the video link above will be live, and you can follow along with Will Muschamp's opening fall practice press conference as I jot down some notes in this space. I'm not expecting too much new news from Muschamp, who spoke to the media just three weeks ago at SEC Media Days, and hasn't had anything meaningful happen with his team between now and then other than the recruiting stuff he can't discuss. But there's always the chance of bad injury news, and my ears are open for that and other tidbits.
While we wait for Muschamp, though, enjoy this video from Florida — featuring interviews with Jeff Driskel, Ahmad Fulwood, Max Garcia, Vernon Hargreaves III, Michael Taylor, and Muschamp — about how excited everyone is for the beginning of fall practice.
#Gators coach Will Muschamp has arrived. Says team will hold split-squad practices first two days.— Scott Carter (@GatorZoneScott) August 3, 2014
Alabama just held split-squad practices on Saturday.
Muschamp said he has emphasized TO margin, #Gators 19-3 when winning turnover battle, 3-13 when losing it.— Edgar Thompson (@osgators) August 3, 2014
Those are stats from the Muschamp Era, obviously.
Muschamp says freshman DB J.C. Jackson won’t be cleared for contact to start camp for approx. 7-10 days.— Scott Carter (@GatorZoneScott) August 3, 2014
Jackson had offseason shoulder surgery and was always likely to miss some of fall camp. Just 10 days wouldn't be too long a stretch for him to miss.
Muschamp says Matt Rolin and Andre Debose are completely cleared but will be limited #Gators— Amanda Wood (@AmandaWoodUF) August 3, 2014
WM: last year's record was great motivation in the off-season for us; we addressed a lot of what happened in moving forward #UFMediaDay— GatorZone Football (@GatorZoneFB) August 3, 2014
CWM says 4-8 is there, you can't erase it. "To stick your head in the sand and pretend that it was all injuries isn't right." #Gators— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) August 3, 2014
"You either are renting it or owning it.’’ — Muschamp on mentality of a team. Says this team is taking ownership, likes attitude into camp.— Scott Carter (@GatorZoneScott) August 3, 2014
A great line, there.
Muschamp: "If we stay healthy at the quarterback position, we're going to win a bunch of games."— Landon Watnick (@LandonWatnick) August 3, 2014
Muschamp said all the young defensive tackles are capable. "Give us 18-20 snaps a game," he said.— Robbie Andreu (@RobbieAndreu) August 3, 2014
The players in question are probably Jay-nard Bostwick, Caleb Brantley, and Joey Ivie.
Muschamp said #Gators will be in shotgun all the time. Schematically different, but run game will be similar. Just out of the gun.— Landon Watnick (@LandonWatnick) August 3, 2014
Muschamp's not saying anything new here. Look for a lot of zone read elements and some off-tackle running from this offense.
Muschamp on first quarter woes, scoring -- "more than anything, being more talented on offensive side of the ball will help us."— Kevin Brockway (@gatorhoops) August 3, 2014
Not being buried was key to Florida's 2012. Having an offense that can stack points on its own might help considerably in that respect.
WM: Matt Jones is a 230-pound back who has extremely good hands, knows protections; smart player who is healthy and in shape #UFMediaDay— GatorZone Football (@GatorZoneFB) August 3, 2014
Don't sleep on how important "knows protections" is to the set of running back skills.
Kicker job remains open heading into camp, but Muschamp is much more comfortable with Austin Hardin after spring practice.— Cody Jones (@CJonesScout) August 3, 2014
Muschamp: "We have to develop depth on both lines of scrimmage. The talent is there." Mentioned OLs Rod Johnson, David Sharpe.— Edgar Thompson (@osgators) August 3, 2014
Florida's starting offensive and defensive lines are probably both in the top five in the SEC, and may just be even better than that. But the inexperience behind those starters is obvious cause for concern.
Muschamp says DL Alex McCalister is up to 248 pounds, biggest since he’s been at UF. Now they need to keep him there.— Scott Carter (@GatorZoneScott) August 3, 2014
Muschamp says he feels good about physicality that is laid out in first 15 practices. Will have a full and one half scrimmage over that span— Scott Carter (@GatorZoneScott) August 3, 2014
And I'll bet lunch that none of the practices open to the public feature those scrimmages.
After many injuries in fall camp last year, Muschamp says they'll practice in the morning more now than last fall.— Cody Jones (@CJonesScout) August 3, 2014
Fields aren't so wet in the morning.
Muschamp seems to love freshman OT David Sharpe, said at 6-6, 336 Sharpe completed 16 110s no problem.— Edgar Thompson (@osgators) August 3, 2014
Muschamp on offense : "Part of the reason I made the change was I felt like they (players) lost confidence in what we were doing." #Gators— Nick de la Torre (@NickdelaTorreGC) August 3, 2014
Is this a polite way of saying players didn't like Brent Pease? Perhaps.
2:43 p.m.: I did a little research.
Muschamp's injury updates, 8/3/14: Jackson cleared soon, Rolin/Debose cleared. Muschamp's injury updates, 8/1/13: pic.twitter.com/z33wUOFLD6— Alligator Army (@AlligatorArmy) August 3, 2014