Florida coach Billy Donovan thought the 10-day break from games during final exams would give his young team a chance to improve because of the increased practice time.
So far, it hasn’t worked out that way.
Guard Walter Hodge (back spasms) and forward Alex Tyus (bruised tailbone) have been forced to sit out practices the last three days. Both are expected back in time for Saturday’s game in Jacksonville against Georgia Southern, but with only seven scholarship players left to practice, it’s been hard to simulate game situations.
“The other day, we had to play four-on-four,” freshman forward Chandler Parsons said. “Those guys being out, those are important players to our team so it’s definitely been a difference. We’re doing what we can with what we have.”
Donovan praised the effort of walk-ons Shane Payne, Hudson Fricke and Michael Weisenberg during practices, but acknowledged they don’t provide the same look as the caliber of teams to come in the Southeastern Conference schedule.
” Shane Payne is probably the most physical guy on our team,” Donovan said. “I wish some of our other guys were that physical. He’s a very physical guy.
“Weisenberg is a tough kid, he just doesn’t have the talent level to catch the ball to the basket and score but he works his tail off in the post and he tries to rebound and he gives you everything he has and the same thing can be said with Hudson. I think from the walk-on perspective, that’s been pretty good.”