A new assistant coach coming on staff in late January usually has a lot to do in a short period of time in terms of getting to know the players he’s going to be coaching in the spring.
In the case of new Florida tight ends coach Larry Scott, he is ahead of the curve in that regard.
Having coached at Tennessee and recruited the state of Florida the past two years, and at Miami for three years before that, Scott is familiar with the talent on the UF roster — and at tight end in particular.
“I had an opportunity to always watch film of Florida and some of these guys just from a personnel standpoint,” Scott said. “The recruiting process and recruiting at Miami and recruiting in the SEC at Tennessee, I watched a lot of them on their high school video and film and different things like that.
“With some of them, I had a relationship through the recruiting process. So some of these guys I was pretty familiar with from that standpoint.”
One player Scott has had an ongoing relationship with is redshirt freshman tight end Kemore Gamble, who is from Miami Southridge.
Scott got to know Gamble during the recruiting process when he was the tight ends coach at Miami (2013-15), then tried to recruit him to Tennessee, where he was the Vols’ tight ends coach and special teams coordinator the past two seasons.
Originally a UM commitment, Gamble ended up flipping to Florida in December of 2016.
At that point, Scott thought he’d lost his opportunity to coach Gamble. Now he will be.
“I told him, ‘You can run, but you can’t hide,’ ” Scott said. “He did commit to that other school down south. But we’ve always had a relationship through it all.
“It’s always been kind of a father-son type of, ‘I’m going to push you and take you places that you necessarily can’t take yourself.’ And that’s how it was in the process, even while I was recruiting him at Miami.
“Now that we’re back together and connected, we look at each other and both kind of smile and go (nods and winks), you know?”
Scott already has a relationship with Scott. He’s been trying to build relationships with the other tight ends — C’yontai Lewis, Moral Stephens, Dante Lang and Kyle Pitts — since he was hired by Dan Mullen on Jan. 25.
One thing he already knows about the tight ends is they don’t have a whole lot of proven experience between them.
Gamble sat out last season with an injury, while Lang and Pitts are true freshmen who have enrolled early.
The two tight ends who have played — Lewis and Stephens — combined for only 13 receptions last season.
Getting to really know his tight ends is vital, Scott said, especially with all the inexperience.
“It takes time,” he said. “Especially to really get to the core of a person and of a player to really get the best out of them.
“But right now I like where we are in the process. They’re responding really well, they’re working hard. That’s all I can ask of them right now and we’ll keep building that as we go.”
There is a sense of urgency to get the tight ends ready to play because tight end is a key component in Mullen’s offense.
“Absolutely,” Scott said. “You can tell from the history, watching tape of the Mississippi State offense. The tight ends are a huge part of it.
“Then when you sit down and talk to him, the importance that he stresses at that position. From a recruiting standpoint and from a developing role in the offense, it’s pretty important. That’s what we do here.”