Muschamp says conditioning has Gators in good shape


Florida head coach Will Muschamp slaps hands with offensive lineman Jon Halapio at a recent practice. (Photo courtesy of the University Athletic Association)

Published: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 7:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 7:56 p.m.

Only a few days into spring practice, there are still a lot of unknowns about this Florida football team. But new coach Will Muschamp already does know one important aspect.

The Gators are in shape thanks to a demanding offseason conditioning program headed up by strength and conditioning coordinator Mickey Marotti.

“We have a very fit football team right now,” Muschamp said Tuesday. “We have very few guys that have a weight issue as far as being overweight. You probably could count them on one hand, which is unusual.




“Most of the guys are in shape. We had a good five-week offseason program and those guys did an outstanding job of running, and they're in good condition at this point.”

The topic of weight and conditioning came up when Muschamp was asked about a comment sophomore defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd made during interviews the day before.

Floyd, who has lost 20 pounds since last season and is down to 290, said the players now have more freedom to play at the weight they want as long as it doesn't slow them down or hamper their production.

Wrong, Muschamp said.

“Every player has got a prescribed weight, through myself, their position coach and Mickey,” Muschamp said. “Every player has a certain weight they should meet.”

The fact the Gators are in such good shape may explain the short injury list through the first week of practice.

Muschamp said UF has a couple of players banged up, but nothing serious.

Defensive tackle Jaye Howard had his ankle scoped on Monday, while defensive tackle Earl Okine had a “procedure” done also.

“We went ahead and did a scope on Jaye Howard to clean up some things in his ankle that have kind of been an issue for the last couple of months,” Muschamp said. “His timetable is uncertain, but it was just a scope.

“(Okine) had a medical procedure and he'll be fine. He could have probably gone today, but we held him for precautionary reasons.”

As for the Gators on the field, Muschamp said they are making progress, but at times seem a little overwhelmed with everything that's been throw at them with the coaching staff installing new offensive and defensive systems.

Two players who seem to be picking things up quickly on offense are sophomore fullback/H-back Trey Burton and senior quarterback John Brantley.

“Burton is doing a nice job,” Muschamp said. “It's all new for everybody. Everybody is a freshman a little bit on both sides of the ball. He's adjusting well in what he's doing as far as blocking and slipping him out of the backfield (as a receiver).

“Charlie (Weis) is using him in a lot of different ways. He fits well in what we do. He's a smart, productive football player.”

Brantley also is off to a good start, Muschamp said.

“John has done some nice things throwing the ball,” Muschamp said. “He's relearning everything as far as playing under center. He threw some nice balls today. He's been the most consistent. Behind him, we've got a lot of guys swimming right now. We're throwing a lot at them. Just an awful lot is going on in their minds right now.

“John is a mature player. He's ahead of the other guys simply because of the experience. He's very talented. We just have to continue to progress at that position.”

Muschamp said redshirt sophomore wide receiver Andre Debose has done some good things, but he's still looking for more consistent production out of him.

“He's got to continue to progress to become the football player he needs to be,” Muschamp said. “God has blessed him with an awful lot of ability. He needs to use that ability.

“He had a really good offseason program, and I'm proud of the progress he's made to this point. Now, it's time to be productive on the field. That's what I'm looking for, consistent production on the football field.”

Muschamp also seems pleased with the early progress of the depth-shy and relatively inexperienced offensive line.

“First of all, (OL coach) Frank Verducci is an outstanding teacher. He does a really good job coaching the players,” Muschamp said. “We have some guys who can be productive.

“I've seen some productive things. I thought we had some good creases in the run game today. Chris (Rainey) got loose a couple of times. Mack (Brown) made a couple of nice runs.

“We're getting a hat on a hat in the running game and a lot of that goes to the offensive line.”

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top