There, of course, is no timetable for when the Florida football team will be getting back together again. When the Gators do eventually return to campus and are back under the wing of strength and conditioning coordinator Nick Savage, they will be facing a slow, sure and steady restart.
That was the word from Savage last week.
“I can say when we return we’re going to treat it like these guys have done nothing during this month or these two months, however long it ends up being, period,” Savage said. “We always err on the side of caution, rather than (trying to do) too much. Then based on how they perform we can always increase and accelerate as fast we are able to. But we always start slower rather than faster so we provide proper development and adaptation over the period.”
The majority of the players have gone home. All the players are working out on their own, following workouts sent to them on a regular basis by Savage and his staff. Many of the players have little or no access to weight-lifting equipment. Many of the exercises are body-weight drills mixed in with conditioning.
Savage said the workouts are demanding enough that the players should be able to maintain the gains they made during the winter offseason strength and conditioning program as long as they keep putting the work in at home.
There is no set plan yet for the type of workouts the players will go through once they eventually do return. There could be some restrictions on now demanding they are due to health concerns.
“There’s nothing stated that a protocol is put in place,” Savage said. “How me and my staff operate along with coach (Dan) Mullen, once again what is the safety and health of our student-athletes? When we do that in terms of training that’s our No. 1 priority.
“Development and performance all comes behind the health and safety of our student-athletes. How me and my staff operate is we answer that question in everything we put on paper.”
Savage said at this point there’s no way to determine how long it will take the Gators to get game-ready physically once they do get back on campus.
“A lot of that’s to be determined by how long we’re on break and things like that and when we get back,” he said. “It’s hard for me to say without knowing true details. I firmly believe that the NCAA and the SEC will come up with the best guidelines needed to put all student athletes, not just ours, in a position to succeed.
“The human body — I always preach to our guys — is the best survival mechanism on this planet. It learns to adapt to anything that’s thrown its way. What the human body can do is pretty impressive, but there are steps and protocols needed to be in place before you jump into a lot of things.
“It’s hard for me to put a specific day or number on all that because a lot of it is going to be determined what comes our way in the future.”
When Savage arrived on campus in January of last year, the players seemed to instantly buy-in to his and his staff’s program and approach. That buy-in has remained constant, by all accounts, and the Gators are coming off a strong winter with Savage.
Savage said the players’ strong work ethic could give the Gators a chance to get football-ready sooner rather than later when they return.
“It’s what I call work capacity,” he said. “Basically, the level at which we train is a lot higher than I would say a lot of individuals and I’m confident and believe in our guys in terms of handling the business offsite. So I think it would be a lot lower than maybe the general population, but a lot of that’s going to be determined when we return.”