4 BITS: April Fools, Speights, McDonald, Spikes

1 » The Florida Gators pulled off an elaborate April Fools’ Day hoax on Wednesday – not that anyone was actually fooled, per se – by creating a “Freaky Friday Night Lights” campaign that included University of Florida president Kent Fuchs and head football coach Jim McElwain switching jobs after Fuchs supposedly exercised an unknown clause in his university contract.


The video is good. What really sent the “prank” home was the president and coach changing their respective Twitter profiles and the men, plus the players involved in the video, all playing along. And fun was had by all. Considering there is a Florida football practice this afternoon, though, maybe Fuchs will actually open up and provide some details on what exactly the Gators will be doing offensively this season.

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Assistant Chris Rumph on Gators defense: ‘They fool you … just like the girl I dated in high school’

With April Fool’s Day approaching, Florida Gators defensive line coach Chris Rumph indicated last week that he is no fan of tricks.

He has been burned before, which is why he is taking any signs of promise that Florida’s defense has showed him halfway through spring practice with a mountain of salt.

“They flash; they fool you,” said Rumph of his players. “[They]’re just like the girl I dated in high school. She told me she was gonna take me to the prom, and I’m getting my hair cut, trying to get my brother’s car, washing it up clean and all that stuff. I’m all excited about it … and then all of a sudden she calls and says, ‘I’m going to go with your best friend.’

“That’s how they are. They flash, they tell me they’re going to take me to the prom, but we haven’t gotten there yet.”

Yes, the Gators’ defense – which head coach Jim McElwain believes is well ahead of the offense to this point – is still a work in progress, according to Rumph. Florida will field arguably the nation’s best secondary in 2015, but he sees plenty of work ahead for the younger players in that unit as well as those in the defensive front seven.

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Florida Gators 2015 spring practice – McElwain infuriated over practice effort: ‘That irritates me’

Head coach Jim McElwain took the field with the Florida Gators for the ninth time on Monday as the 2015 spring practice session rolled along. After practice, he met with the media to discuss some of the early goings on with the team.

Infuriated over effort

McElwain indicated Monday during a media availability that he was none too pleased with how the Gators practiced earlier that afternoon, the first time he has shared such a sentiment this spring. Upon revisiting his own stance on said issue, McElwain pulled no punches in discussing his disappointment with the team, getting progressively louder and more angry as he made his point.

“The attention to detail and the focus was not what was needed to be successful, and it bothered me. It irritates me when we take a step back because everybody came here today to either get better or worse. You chose whatever your mindset was whenever you walked through that door. Our mindset was not to get better today. It was to endure the practice, and it really bothered me, and that’s unacceptable,” he said.

“You don’t do that and play championship football. It wasn’t good, and you can see I’m a little irritated by it – and rightfully so – because that hasn’t been our MO. They’ve, for the most part, really come and really focused on getting better. We didn’t do it today.”

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Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain counters Will Muschamp, calls roster ‘really insufficient’

Will Muschamp was humble when he departed the Florida Gators, but he did not leave without making one definitive statement about what he was leaving behind and how well the team would be positioned entering 2015.

“They’ve got a deep and talented roster, so don’t let that new guy tell you they don’t have any players,” Muschamp warned with a smile last November.

Well, let’s just say that now over three months into his tenure with the Gators, new head coach Jim McElwain does not necessarily agree with Muschamp’s parting statement.

“You’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt and right now, quite honestly, the hand we were dealt is really insufficient at some of the areas,” he said Friday.

McElwain was responding to a question about Florida’s offensive line, which returns just eight scholarship offensive linemen (seven healthy this spring), most of which were relatively inexperienced and had not seen much game action.

But his comments were about other parts of the roster, too, as offensive line is not the only position where depth is a major concern for the Gators. UF entered the spring with three scholarship running backs (one of whom has been moved to wide receiver) and six scholarship linebackers, neither position deep enough for McElwain to be worry-free entering the season.

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Florida Gators 2015 spring practice: Brandon Powell held out, recruiting with depth issues

Head coach Jim McElwain took the field with the Florida Gators for the sixth time on Friday as the 2015 spring practice session rolled along. After practice, he met with the media to discuss some of the early goings on with the team.

Opening statement (Tuesday)

“It was really important to get today’s stuff [installed], which are a lot of situations that are going to be executed [Saturday] when we do some scrimmage work – things like coming out, obviously a couple of the two-minute situations. We’ll work basically four different two-minute situations [Saturday] as an introduction. We want to make sure we hit that today, and I thought they handled that well. Also, work some different areas in the red area as well as some last play ideas, so in other words, no time on the clock, you’re not wasting it you’re actually working the situation. The kids know the exact play that you’re going to work and then obviously the defense might get caught into a personnel group that might not fit necessarily the formation that they’re seeing. Defensively understanding situations.

“It was some really good stuff that I thought occurred today. The guys, I’ll tell you what, this group is willing participants, man. It’s great to see. They’ve really grasped the idea of helping each other get better. That’s really what it’s all about. It’s good to see.”

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Three-star RB Tyrek Tisdale commits to Florida

Three-star running back Tyrek Tisdale (Orlando, FL) announced Friday on Twitter that he has verbally committed to the Florida Gators.

“I’ve Officially Committed To The University of Florida,” he wrote.

Tisdale (6-foot-1, 199 pounds) received an offer from Florida on March 1, took part in the Gators’ Junior Day two weeks ago and returned to Gainesville last weekend for an unofficial visit. He was also on campus Friday to watch spring practice.

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Florida Gators open ‘Gatorade Fuel Bar,’ hire new director of sports nutrition

Gatorade, now owned by PepsiCo but originally conceived and developed at the University of Florida, has established a sponsored nutritional supplement bar for Florida Gators athletes on campus at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

According to a story on the school’s website, Gatorade “pick[ed] up two-thirds” of the $100,000 cost to build out the “Gatorade Fuel Bar,” which creates drinks with proteins and vitamins unique to the needs of each athlete.

Florida also mentioned in the piece that Stephanie Wilson, the head of nutrition at IMG Academy since 2012, will join the Gators athletic department in April as its new director of sports nutrition.

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Undeterred by poop jokes or offensive changes, Florida running backs look to step up this spring

Florida Gators running back Adam Lane Jr. finally had his moment in the sun … in the final game of his second season with the team.

Lane, a redshirt freshman last season, did not play in 2013 and only saw action on special teams until the eighth game of the 2014 campaign. Though he got eight total carries as a reserve rusher during a three-week span prior to the end of the regular season, Lane did not truly get his opportunity until Florida faced East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl.

“I was really excited just to be on special teams, being out there just playing, just having somewhat of a role last year,” Lane admitted Wednesday. “At times you can get frustrated, but I knew that I could be patient and just play my role on the team and my opportunity would come eventually, and it did.”

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