Five things Gators must accomplish before August camp

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Florida's Nick Savage, director of football strength and conditioning, will be the players' contact coach in the offseason. [John Raoux/Associated Press]

Summer is an important time for every college football team. For those that are basically starting over with a new head coach, it is a critical three months that will go a long way toward determining what happens in the fall.

This is the situation the Florida Gators are in with Dan Mullen and the new coaching staff.

This summer is going to be crucial if the Gators hope to have a bounce-back season and return as a contender in the SEC East after going 4-7 in 2017.

Here are five things the Gators should be required to take care of between now and the start of preseason camp in the first week of August:

Stay Savage

The players, who bought into Nick Savage’s savage workouts during the spring semester, need to stay in this summer, because the workouts are only going to get tougher and more demanding.

Based on what we saw this winter, the Gators were not a very fit or strong football team under Jim McElwain in 2016. Great gains were made in a short period of time under Savage and his strength and conditioning staff.

The players will be asked to take it to another level this summer in preparation for the start of camp and the season.

What they need to do is take those “after” pictures they recently posted of themselves on Twitter and make them the “before” pictures for when the summer workouts end. That should keep everybody motivated through the long, physical grind that awaits them — creating that “after” picture they’re all working toward.

But don’t be silly savages

By that, of course, we mean don’t do anything stupid. Don’t smoke dope. Don’t go to bars. Don’t get into fights. Don’t hit your girlfriend (or any woman, for that matter) and, by all means, don’t steal anyone’s credit card number, the big offense that helped lead to the overall downfall last season.

Mullen has been talking about returning Florida to a championship program, and he has stressed that to be a champion, you have to act like one in everything you do on and off the field.

That’s what the Gators need to do this summer — carry themselves like champions, mature champions who will show they know the difference between right and wrong in their actions.

Champions don’t get arrested. Champions don’t fail drug tests. Champions don’t do things that will hurt their teammates and their team.

So, do the right thing this summer and stay out of the headlines (and arrest reports).

Get in the film room

This isn’t just for the quarterback, it’s for everybody.

Both the offensive and defensive players are in new schemes now, and there is still a lot to learn after only 14 practices and the spring game.

You could see some tentativeness on both sides of the ball in the spring game. The Gators need to move behind that and find a comfort level that will allow them to play fast without having to think too much.

The coaches can’t coach them this summer, but the players can help themselves by getting into the coaches’ office and studying tape. Not just watch it, but study it, then apply it during players-only workouts.

If that happens, the schemes will be a much more comfortable fit for everyone by the time camp opens.

The three Rs

Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.

Now we are talking mostly about the quarterbacks. The goal should be to work on and improve on every aspect of their game — from footwork, to drops, to release points, to timing with receivers, to reading defenses, to going through progressions, to finding (and hitting) the open receiver.

Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and true freshman Emory Jones all seemed to improve over the course of the spring. But it’s obvious all three still have a long way to go before they’re ready to operate Mullen’s offense at peak efficiency.

Mullen won’t be there to coach them this summer, so they’re going to have to coach themselves and make sure they get the most out of every workout.

They also need to lead — because that’s what quarterbacks do. They are responsible for organizing the players-only practice and making sure their teammates show up and put forth the effort that will help make everyone better.

The ties that bind

Championship teams all have one intangible in common: chemistry.

So, that’s one thing the Gators will strive to create this summer. The workouts, the practices and the film study certainly will help, but the players need to go beyond that to form the unbreakable bond between teammates.

They should do things together off the field. Defensive guys should hang out with offensive guys. Punters and kicker and walk-ons also are welcome.

As one SEC coach always likes to say — one team, one heartbeat.

Come together, be together, be accountable for one another.

That’s what championship teams are all about.

51 COMMENTS

          • So, tell me smart guy. Is there more data to come? So, smart guy, you just admitted that you have provided me and us with some data, but not “all” of it. You certainly have provided some Mikey troll data. But, please, go ahead and provide some more. I have no doubt you will.

          • You are pathetic Tampa. I provided you with my actual identity, you have not even bothered to look it up to see if I’m who you say I am; I have also detailed why your persistence in this matter bothers me so much, which you didn’t even have the decency to respond to.

            Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that you not only lack honor, but are a bully besides that. Is that enough data for you?

            I have been a member of this forum for a long time, Tampa, and I have never encountered a fool such as you. Speaking of which, as a member, how could I have more that one identity when that is not possible by the rules of membership? Are you a member? Check it out, dummy.

      • Don’t worry. If the throws a bunch of interceptions, he will find himself standing on the sidelines holding a clipboard. Mullen will have zero tolerance for his delusional jabbering about how throwing interceptions makes him just like Tom Brady.

  1. You missed one important thing. Go to class, get decent grades in the classes you are taking. I also might include following the eating plan that has been developed for you as well. Go Gators!!

  2. To help emphasize your point Robbie about ”The ties that bind”, Danny Wuerffel once said this about Team Florida (paraphrasing) ”It was the FLORIDA GATORS winning the Heisman Trophy. Which is why I had hats made that said, ‘Team Heisman’. My collegiate football career has provided me with the fondest of memories and the best of friends.”
    May this 2018 Florida Gator Football team bond together, work hard for themselves and each other, give it all they have, lay it all on the line in the games, and then let the chips fall where they may. When they do that, great things usually happen for the Orange & Blue! Go Gators!!!

      • Here’s the dope:.
        “Pretense:”
        1. Is an attempt to make something that is not the case appear true.
        And here are some applicable synonyms:
        make-believe, putting on an act, acting, dissembling, shamming, faking, feigning, simulation, dissimulation, play-acting, posturing; More
        deception, deceit, deceitfulness, fraud, fraudulence, duplicity, subterfuge, trickery, dishonesty, hypocrisy, falsity, lying, mendacity

        In other words, the practice of inventing imaginary situations in play to serve one’s own purpose or need.

        or

        2. a claim, especially a false or ambitious one (you not being Mikey).

        You pick the definition that fits you best. Either one works for me, Mikey.

        • Good for you, you actually have an education. I have had many patients that were very well educated–and very intelligent–but it did not prevent their mental illness.

          Again, my name is not Mikey. It is Neal Trent. Do you want more that that?

          • Then Neal Trent, stop posting like Mikey on here. Post intelligently and all is well. Keep up the nonsense and the personal insults…..and…..as I stated….I hate internet trolls.

          • Of which I’m not (an internet troll). And, I’m not “Mikey”, I’m not TebowCurse, I’m not anything you have falsely accused me of being. You sure are one to talk about posting intelligently, the pot calling the kettle black as it were. So you can dish it out, but you can’t take it?

            You’ve got my name, do some research big man. If you still think I’m a troll, you have a bigger problem than even I have identified so far.

        • Hey Tampa…… please stop. Gator-6 is not Mike Winter or his several aliases. Read his posts and then compare to MW….it’s not the same. 6 is thoughtful and overall, very positive. You can be better than that Tampa.

          Let’s come here to discuss (in a civil manner) Gator football. It’s okay to disagree. But stop with the negative junk. Just stop it please.

          • Amen, Rog! I’m pretty sure that, like me, Tampa hasn’t bothered to register as a member of the site. Gator-6 has registered, and it seems to me that gives him a level of legitimacy. Add to that all the personal information Gator-6 has revealed, and I’m convinced he’s a real Gator fan. Tampa, if you have proof that Gator-6 is a troll (other than the conversation where you claim he “forgot” to switch back to GatorG, which 6 has explained in detail), then tell us what it is. You accuse him of trolling, bullying, and even stalking, and yet (pardon me for that) it is you who is stalking Gator-6 with your “Pretense” response. Time to move on and concentrate on talking Gator sports.

  3. When Mullen was offensive coordinator here, the 2006 and 2008 champions got arrested, smoked dope, and were in trouble all the time. Maybe, just maybe, champions do fail drug tests, do get arrested, and do things that will win games because they were that good.

    • Grump. They did not win in 2009 and they would have if they had followed Robbie’s advice back then. And Meyer was in charge back then, not Mullen. Mullen guides a completely different ship now than Meyer did back then. I am sure he learned a lot from Meyer’s poor leadership back then.

  4. Robbie. Who did you write this article for? The players? Or the fans of those players? But I do hope the players follow your advice. And to any Florida players with a hint of anger issues; stay home and out of bars. And please, do not hit or threaten any women. Ever.

      • Asked Robbie, not you. And m my honor as a man, with no pretense, is complete. I just do not like trolling on the internet. Prefer intelligent conversation. But I fully realize that is difficult with social media these days. Start posting the later and stop trolling and I will leave it alone. Simple as that.

        • If it was a personal question to Robbie, why did you ask it on a public forum?

          I agree with your position on trolling, but if I stop using Gator-6 as a screen name, I can’t use another since the membership rules prohibit more than one screen name. Think about that for a minute, wise guy. But if I continue to post as Gator-6, I’ll have to put up with your insane BS every time I do. What gives you the right to do that? You are a bully. You go ahead and leave it as is, stupid….simple as that. I’m not done by a long shot.

          • Posting repeated nonsense on a sports blog is insane. And personally insulting other people is a form of bullying. I do neither. But you do both.

          • Try again Tampa. You’re not much of a man if you’re that confused, certainly not the type of man you proclaim to be. You have repeatedly sullied my screen name with all manner of insults—a screen name that has some history to it that you wouldn’t understand—-and now you accuse me of bullying you? That takes the cake. You have a chance to correct yourself on this matter, Tampa; but that would take a level of both honor and character that frankly, is beyond you. I’m afraid you have a disorder that would prevent it anyway. At the very least, I have seldom encountered a big a fool as you…and I’ve certainly met some fools in my day. You beat all, Buddy Rho.

          • “Posted repeated nonsense”, thats exactly what Tampa has done twice in his comments to Grump and Robbie. Pot calling the kettle black! Tampa just doesnt seem to intelligent. personally Gator-6, I’d just ignore his comments and respond to others here, like he doesnt exist. That will burn his bacon cause its apparent he wants attention!

          • “Posted repeated nonsense”, thats exactly what Tampa has done twice in his comments to Grump and Robbie. Pot calling the kettle black! Tampa just doesnt seem to intelligent. personally Gator-6, I’d just ignore his comments and respond to others here, like he doesnt exist. That will burn his bacon cause its apparent he wants attention!

  5. Robbie–you ain’t gonna believe what happen. Sunday I told mama I was bored cause there’s nothing to do. She say, “Why don’t you make a list of five things the fightin’ Gators ought to do this summer to be a better team and better person?” I did. Here’s my list: (drum roll, please)
    1. eat your greens
    2. don’t get caught
    3. don’t mess around
    4. don’t car-jack nobody or rob a convenience store, or if you do—-
    5. do it together
    Mine’s better your’n.

  6. When Tampa’s not editing other fans’ posts or playing Don Quixote–jousting against so-called trolls–he does a pretty informative job correcting discrepancies made in various posts which any stat-loving fan can appreciate. People didn’t always like the way Howard Cosell spoke, but he called people out for inaccuracies and earned admiration in doing so. Tampa is not lacking in intelligence, just not soft in his delivery. Gator6…it looks like Tampa went after you because some of your comments sounded very similar to the trolls on here. I thought he was right at first, but its time for Tampa to lay off you because it appears he must own this discrepancy since you provided your actual name. Don’t think you’re going to get an apology, but I hope you two don’t keep up the war of accusations. Ugly stuff.

    • Yes, nobody regrets this distraction more than I do, Prairiegator. I never doubted the man’s intelligence or his football acumen, but truthfully he is not Howard Cosell by a long shot. It’s just that my screen name has personal meaning to me, connected to my Army background, and I will not have it sullied about by relentless false accusations. Especially when, as a member of this site, I only get one screen name. I have given Tampa multiple opportunities to set the record straight, to include my actual identity which is easy to verify on the internet through publications or by such sites as Linked-In. Still, he persists. I saw no other way than to start giving him back some of his own medicine, which I cede is antagonistic….what I will not do, however, is drop off this forum regardless of how many people he is persuasive with. Don’t want an apology, too much to ask, just a retraction by him.

  7. Haven’t been on this board for a while, but I must say I feel quite vindicated if I may say so. For the last several years I’ve been preaching how all the injuries and sub-par performance under McElwain was due to the lack of a good strength & conditioning coach and program. From my posts on this board I received a collective yawn, and even some insults, albeit primarily from that FSU troll idiot. Well is nice to see everyone from coaches to players to sportswriters and people on this board have finally come around. Just saying… But am mainly glad the football program finally got it! Go Mullin. Go Savage. Go Gators!

    • I’m with you ’84. I had a 5 or 6 week hiatus myself recently, but I can say that before Feb 2018 S&C did not receive much attention other than a few who pointed out the probable inverse correlation between the variables you noted. It’s a chore to prioritize all the improvements Coach Mullen has brought to the table thus far, but I think–as you do–that S&C will be one of, if not the most important. ….not only in terms of less injuries and enhanced performance, but in terms of increased mind sets of sense of urgency and motivation to persistence. It’s almost as if the team was depressed last season; any shrink worth his salt knows that the first thing to do about that is mobilization through physical fitness, often before medication and therapy. Go Mullen, go Savage, and most of all….Go Gators!

  8. TampaGator is just a feeble, weak troll that gets off on correcting others to make himself feel important. He offers nothing of value so quit feeding the troll and just ignore him. The only posters worse than TampaGator are those who engage with him.