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Watch: Jim McElwain discusses Florida entering 2017 spring practice

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Florida’s coach touched on injuries, position changes, expectations at quarterback, and much more.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain met with media members on Thursday, ahead of the Gators’ opening of spring practice on February 28.

Notable takeaways from a first listen:

  • Players out for spring practice: Quarterback Luke Del Rio, wide receiver Freddie Swain, offensive lineman Antonio Riles, Jr., defensive end Jordan Sherit, linebacker David Reese, safeties Quincy Lenton and Jeawon Taylor.
  • Players limited to non-contact participation in spring practice: Wide receiver Dre Massey, linebacker James Houston, cornerback C.J. McWilliams.
  • Florida’s addition of athletic quarterback Kadarius Toney is part of a greater effort to incorporate quarterback runs into the Gators’ offense.
  • Position changes: Cornerback Duke Dawson will work outside at least in addition to the nickel corner work he did extensively in 2016, offensive lineman Martez Ivey will move to left tackle, offensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones will move to defensive line, tight end Camrin Knight will move to linebacker.
  • Defensive back Chauncey Gardner will also rep at outside corner after spending much of 2016 as a safety.
  • McElwain explained that he is hoping to see leadership from quarterbacks Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask by saying he wants one to “step up” and decide “You know, I’m going to take (the starting job).”
  • McElwain congratulated Del Rio and Sherit on getting into Florida graduate schools, strongly implying both will remain Gators going forward.
  • McElwain described a “six-phase” program for Florida that extends from bowl preparation to fall camp.
  • McElwain went on a tangent about needing to be willing to fail in order to succeed — and included “the (athletic) department” in a list of bodies that he described as learning to do just that.
  • McElwain praised the depth and talent of Florida’s receiving corps.

Feel free to add your own observations in the comments.