Earlier this week, the Gators received a lesson on the history of Florida football from someone who not only knows the history, but has been a big part of it.
“We had Spurrier come in and show us all the history of Florida football yesterday,” senior linebacker David Reese said Thursday. “He’s just talking about how they won the SEC like 1990 through like ’96, or something like that. All the history and all the great teams that came before us. He had a lot of good stories to tell us. So it was fun.”
Spurrier also reflected on his coaching days at Duke, where he won an ACC title in 1989.
“The biggest story he told me wasn’t even about Florida, it was about his time at Duke,” Reese said. “Basically how their team didn’t have a lot of spirit then and Duke is a hard place to win. Basically they got together and they had inspiration, had faith with him, and they ended up beating Clemson, which was like 4-0 at the time, and they went ahead and won the ACC championship.
“And that team hasn’t had an ACC championship since, so that was quite impressive by him. I could see that what he’s trying to instill in Mullen or give Mullen little pieces and I can see where Mullen is putting it into us. They’re two great coaches.”
The Gators placed six players on the coaches preseason All-SEC team, led by junior cornerback CJ Henderson, who is the only UF player on the first team.
Making the second team were running back Lamical Perine, defensive end Jabari Zuniga, linebacker David Reese, punter Tommy Townsend and place-kicker Evan McPherson.
Alabama has 16 players on the team.
Two fast gunners
Tyrie Cleveland may have had more big plays on special teams last season than at wide receiver. He grew into the star of the punt cover team as a gunner who stymied opposing returners with how quickly he got in their face.
Apparently, another starting wide receiver is getting in on the special teams act at gunner — senior Van Jefferson, who led the Gators in receiving last season.
“We have Tyrie and Van as my gunners, and they are both extremely fast guys,” punter Tommy Townsend said. “Super confident they can go down there and make big plays for me this year.
“(Jefferson) is working as one of our gunners right now. But we will see what happens when it comes to game week. Right now, he is working as one of our gunners. I’m super excited. We have a lot of talent on our punt team.”
Sharing the rock
After splitting playing time with Jordan Scarlett a year ago, senior Lamical Perine is UF’s No. 1 back and the go-to guy in the running game. But, just like last season, Perine is open to sharing carries with the other backs — Malik Davis, Dameon Pierce and Iverson Clement.
“Honestly, I don’t want to play 70 plays,” Perine said. “If I have to for my team, I will, but, on my body? I’d take 40 plays. I rotated a lot with Jordan Scarlett last year, so I felt like that helped me and him out. We’re not too beat up. I feel like that helped him in the process of going to the NFL and things like that. So, I’ll take that. I like being fresh and things like that.”
Davis said all four backs enter the season with certain expected roles, and no one seems too concerned about the number of carries they’ll get.
“We’ve got Perine, me, Dameon, Iverson. Everyone has a role,” he said. “With our room, everyone plays their role well. We’ve got great guys in the room. It’s easy when you’ve got guys that want to win and are all striving to do the same thing.”