Taking a short timeout from the toughest offseason in the history of Florida football, strength and conditioning coordinator Mickey Marotti spent about 20 minutes talking to a handful of beat writers Wednesday and discussed a number of subjects.
Here are some of the highlights:
* Marotti said the attitude has been good and that the leadership of Tim Tebow, Brandon Spikes and some other seniors has made a huge difference. Marotti said the Gators are working out five times a week, lifting weights four days and running three days. He said the running has been linear speed training.
“(The leadership of Tebow and Spikes) is second to none,” Marotti said. “It’s every strength coach’s dream at this level to have guys like that. I told one of my assistants the other day, this is the way it’s supposed to be. They’re coaching each other up.
“They know what they have to do. That’s kind of been the theme so far. They don’t have to have the fake juice from me jumping up and down and hollering. They’re self-motivated. I guarantee you every team in the country is doing something (during the offseason) for the University of Florida.”
Marotti said he and his staff have changed up the workout regimen to keep the players fresh and give them a chance to have what he described as “fun.”
“I don’t know if that makes sense,” Marotti said. “We just do our best to keep them fresh.”
As far as making the workouts the hardest ever, Marotti said, “It’s all about accountability, where you have your foot on the line, specific weights, being on time. You really grind that stuff now. Plus the physical part. I don’t know how much more physically challenging it’s going to be, but it’s going to be challenging.
“You know what these players can do on the field. Last year, it was easy, they had a chip on their shoulder. This year is different. That’s what I’ve been impressed with so far, the fact they know what they have to do.”
* One of the more interesting things Marotti talked about was the breakfast/lunch club. This is for players who need to gain weight. They have to eat at the training table every day and their meals are closely monitored. One player who seems to be resisting is 175-pound tailback Chris Rainey.
“He doesn’t like food,” Marotti said. “It’s hard to gain weight when you don’t like food. He’s eating because he has to. He doesn’t eat because he likes food. He’s just starting to drink the (nutritional) shakes (that contain 365 calories). He didn’t like the shakes. How are you going to gain weight if you don’t take in calories? I always tell him, ‘I watch football every Sunday and I don’t see anyone who looks like you playing at the next level. If that’s your goal, maybe you’ve got to change.’ “
Marotti said defensive end Jermaine Cunningham is a guy who is no longer in the breakfast club. He was 205 when he arrived at UF four years ago. Now, he’s up to 255. Some other players in the breakfast club this summer are defensive end William Green, outside linebacker Brandon Hicks, offensive tackle Matt Patchan and redshirt freshman wide receiver Frankie Hammond.
“Brandon Hicks doesn’t like to eat,” Marotti said. “William Green likes to eat, that’s why he’s up to 235 pounds. And he’s going to get bigger, because he likes to eat and he’s a great kid.”
Marotti said Patchan has put on some weight since the spring, but would not say how much. “I’m not going to throw out any numbers. Some times they get skewered. He might read it and get (mad). He needs to get bigger.”
* Marotti said the player on the team with the most brute strength is senior defensive tackle Troy Epps. “Because of his build. He’s just so muscular, so strong,” Marotti said.
Marotti said the player with the most “crazy” strength is defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
“It’s like picking up a car that’s overturned if he’s mad enough,” Marotti said when asked to describe crazy strength.
Marotti said Dunlap is a player he has to stay on all the time to keep him motivated and working hard.
“I’ve got to kick him up and down,” Marotti said. “You have to be on him like stink on poop. He needs to be pushed. I tell him, ‘The good Lord brought you down here as a personal challenge to me.’ He was so immature when he got here. I love the kid. He’s really starting to learn how to go hard.”
* Marotti had high praise for true freshman middle linebacker Jon Bostic, who participated in the spring.
“I love Jon Bostic,” he said. “I love him not so much for his build, 6-foot-2, 235 pounds, but for his coachability, his work and his attentiveness. He’s all business. Tebow said something about him today. He said, ‘I like this guy, and not just because of football.’ ”