In case the intro to this Monday piece didn't clue you in, I don't think much that matters happens at SEC Media Days. But we can still delve into what Florida's traveling party said and excise the important parts.
Just straight news, really. Covered at the above link.
Florida's indoor practice facility is ahead of schedule
The Miami Herald's Jesse Simonton asked McElwain what was essentially one of the questions I wanted asked about facilities, and got this detailed answer.
Q. Facilities have been a big topic at Florida the last -- this off-season. First, is the indoor practice facility on schedule to be completed? Secondly, how do you think the new facilities will kind of tangibly help the program now and then moving into the future?
Well, there's a lot of things. When you go into it, I think it was long needed, and it's a beautiful facility. They're ahead of the construction date right now. It sounds like we'll at least be able to get permit to be able to go spend a couple hours in there as we go through two-a-days. So that's something that's really exciting, and it's exciting for our guys. Gutting out some of the dorms, the living arrangements is something we tackled right away, and that should be finished up for these guys to be moving in this fall, and we're excited about that and the security within those dorms, something that's really important. And then the academic center and the nutrition component, the money that we put in there. As I told the people around, don't worry about our offices. It doesn't matter. It's about what the players -- it's about helping them. We're moving in that direction. Got a long ways to go, but it's good to see that those things are happening.
I had heard whispers that, despite the IPF looking to all the world as if it is almost done, it would not be open in August or September, but rather later in the year; instead, McElwain's inkling that the Gators will "be able to go spend a couple hours in there as we go through two-a-days" makes me think it will be at least partially operational in August.
As always, I remain a little dubious about the tangible benefits of the IPF — and you'll note that McElwain dodged that part of the question, and really only said "It's about helping (players)" when talking about the other upgrades to dorms and Florida's academic advising center — but, obviously, the sooner it's open, the sooner Florida can derive benefit, nebulous or tangible, from it.
Bryan Cox, Jr. will be ready for fall camp
Cox missed the Birmingham Bowl with a hip injury that required surgery, but it sounds like he's close to fully recovered. More McElwain:
Bryan is coming off an injury, and yet has done a great job from the rehab standpoint. We're excited to get him back out come the start of fall camp.
That's more depth for Florida at defensive end — and maybe some help to balance talented but not yet productive Alex McCalister (or CeCe Jefferson) at the "rush" position in Geoff Collins's new defense.
Maybe It's Important
McElwain unconcerned about cost of attendance disparities
When the Chronicle of Higher Education tallied estimates for scholarship adjustments to cover cost of attendance that colleges will distribute this year, the $3,320 extra that Florida will provide to players ranked ninth in the SEC (and, notably, behind Florida State and Clemson) for the difference between what schools offered prior to 2015-16 and what they will offer this year. Florida's cost of attendance "bump" is over $2,000 less than the "bumps" provided by Tennessee and Auburn.
But while that difference could theoretically amount to $10,000 more in a player's pocket over a four-year career, McElwain isn't troubled by it.
Q. Coach, how has the cost of attendance offered by your school affected your recruiting and your program?
I think, as long as everybody's running by the same rules, that's your -- it's federal guidelines, right? So there's not one thing or another. Obviously, we'd like to have a balanced sheet across the board, but at the same time, there's a reason those are in place. I think it's great for the student-athlete. I think it really gives them an opportunity. I'm happy to see it happen, and I'm glad to see that we've come to it that way. We'll see. If you lose a guy over $1,000 here or there for his cost of attendance, maybe that's part of it. There's nothing you can do. Those are the rules. Growing up, you got a set of rules, and you just played by them. I never really put that much thought to that part of it other than I'm excited that they're getting something.
I tend to agree — but, then, I think college athletes should just get paid. And if Cam Newton was ALLEGEDLY being induced to Mississippi State, of all places, with $180,000, I think it's safe to say "los(ing) a guy over $1,000 here or there" isn't going to impact the shadier climes of college football recruiting all that much.
Did Antonio Morrison tear his ACL?
The knee injury that memorably led to Antonio Morrison screaming and being carted off the field in the Birmingham Bowl has never been fully explained by Florida or any reporting, for whatever reason. And Morrison has been presumed (and confirmed) to likely miss parts of the fall, with McElwain seemingly suggesting on Monday that Florida's senior middle linebacker will be limited in practice when he does eventually return to it.
But we also got a tidbit — from ESPN/SEC Network analyst Booger McFarland, of all people — that may or may not be true:
ESPN's @SECbooger just said Antonio Morrison is "coming off the ACL." (Florida has never specified his injury.)— Alligator Army (@AlligatorArmy) July 13, 2015
If Morrison tore his ACL against East Carolina, a nine-month recovery and rehabilitiation period is likely (and even that is somewhat aggressive), and would jibe with the belief among many that Morrison will only play a partial season. And McFarland learning something from a private conversation and inadvertently revealing it in passing is possible — though it's also possible that he heard wrong.
Filler, No Killer
Vernon Hargreaves has opinions
Did you know that Vernon Hargreaves, who said he thought Jeff Driskel was the best quarterback in college football at SEC Media Days in 2014, has opinions?
He called South Carolina's Williams-Brice Stadium "off the wall," naming it the toughest place to play in the SEC. He said that Florida's tussle with LSU for the imaginary title of "DBU" "wouldn't be close" by season's end. He said Mississippi's Laquon Treadwell is the wide receiver he most wants to face in 2015, and alluded to his fantastic performance against Treadwell in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game. And, in as many words, he said "I'm the best corner in college football, without a doubt" on national television.
And he may well be right about all of those things, but they're all opinions. They're not controversial ones, really — Hargreaves just says things he believes, coolly and confidently, and respects virtually everyone he matches up with — but they still just don't really matter. Hargreaves telling reporters that he makes his teammates do push-ups is cooler and more revealing, in my eyes.
And even his note that the best thing his dad taught him was to respect women — despite the obvious overtones, with multiple Florida State players accused of hitting women in recent headlines — is only a shot if you want it to be.
UF CB Vernon Hargreaves said he best thing his father, a coach, taught him is to be respectful to all women— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) July 13, 2015
In context, Hargreaves was asked about the advice his dad, now the linebackers coach at Arkansas, gave him, and answered with more detail than just a quip.
Unlike some parents, who monitor every second of the kids lives and athletic careers, Hargreaves Jr. never meddled too much into his son’s career.
"The best thing I think he’s ever done for me is leave me alone about sports. He never forced me to play any sports growing up," Hargreaves III said. "The main thing he said to me was make sure that I’m respectful to all women and take care of my mom and my sister. That’s why I think I am the way I am."
Hargreaves III and his dad don’t talk about football. Mostly about grades, if there is a girlfriend; the normal things parents talk about with their 20-year old.
Is it fine to take these Hargreaves quotes and put them in headlines? Sure. He's a great and popular player who is also an uncommonly good quote. He also didn't say anything of material value to analyzing Florida football, though — and that's fine, too.
Jonathan Bullard, Brandon Powell said things
Bullard's quotes were so unremarkable that, when you search Google News for Jonathan Bullard today, the only article focusing on him published since Monday is this Graham Hack piece in The Independent Florida Alligator. He also said he still keeps in touch with Will Muschamp and explained Florida's offensive struggles in recent years by saying "it just happens sometimes." It's okay to be boring.
Powell, meanwhile, did everything he could to not comment on the Will Grier-Treon Harris quarterback battle, and said some garden-variety things about not getting the ball last year that take on the air of damning criticism because every critique of Florida's offense does ... except he said the same stuff in May. Powell's frustration with last year's offense and excitement for this year's offense is one of the easiest storylines for this season, though, so expect to hear more about it.