Florida Gators practice update: Receivers improving, new faces helping passing game

While the focus to this point has been on who will line up under center (or in the shotgun) for the Florida Gators, head coach Jim McElwain has been harping on another position’s need for improvement in order to get his passing attack to resemble something that would help the Gators win football games.

Up until this week, McElwain has been highly critical of Florida’s wide receivers, noting that they were struggling with running crisp routes, being consistent (not just between practices but between plays) and completing the action that is most critical at their position – hauling in the football.

McElwain changed his tune a bit on Tuesday.

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Coaches name five Florida Gators to 2015 Preseason All-SEC team

Five Florida Gators football players were voted onto 2015 Preseason All-SEC teams on Tuesday, as chosen by the league’s 14 coaches.

Junior cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III led the way for Florida with an All-SEC First Team nod on defense. Hargreaves, a two-time end-of-season All-SEC First Team selection, was the only Gators player to be picked for the first team this time around.

Seniors defensive end Jonathan Bullard and linebacker Antonio Morrison earned spots on the Preseason All-SEC Second Team, while juniors wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and running back Kelvin Taylor were honored with selections to the third team.

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Florida Gators practice update: Freshman DE CeCe Jefferson gets rave reviews; injury updates

Freshman defensive end CeCe Jefferson received plenty of hype as a consensus five-star prospect and one of the top recruits in the country, but his dragged-out signing process after committing to the Florida Gators on National Signing Day earned him national headlines. Now, five practices into his Florida career, Jefferson is the topic of conversation again – for all the right reasons.

“He’s one of the young guys doing a heck of a job. He shows up, and he’s not the only young guy that’s been stepping up. I’m sure that he’s here. He’s a guy that can make an impact,” said head coach Jim McElwain after Monday’s practice, the first for the Gators in pads this fall. “[Defensive line coach Chris] Rumph really enjoys working with him. He’s a guy that’s eager to learn, jumped right in at everything we’re doing. That just speaks volumes of the type of kid he is, too.”

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Gators fall injury updates: Florida LB Antonio Morrison well ahead of schedule but non-contact

Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain kicked off fall camp for the football program on Wednesday. Though he did not say much in his opening press conference, McElwain did address the health status of a number of players, namely senior linebacker Antonio Morrison.

Overcoming behavioral issues to standout for the Gators in 2015, Morrison seriously injured his knee during the 2015 Birmingham Bowl, an injury that has yet to be disclosed by resulted in two offseason surgeries, McElwain noted Wednesday.

“Let’s not downplay what this injury was, OK? Let’s not downplay – he’s had two surgeries on the same knee off the same injury,” he said.

Despite the setback, Morrison has impressed McElwain with his work ethic and served as a great example to his teammates. Though Morrison will be non-contact for fall practice, McElwain appeared to indicate he’s optimistic that Morrison will get on the field in 2015. When, exactly, is another question altogether.

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Antonio Morrison, Martez Ivey, facility changes impressing Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain

Evaluating a head coach before his first season is a difficult and wholly unfair ask. And yet, Jim McElwain – folksy and quiet in public but seemingly ambitious and demanding in private – has left himself open for equal parts praise and criticism, depending whose opinion you seek.

So when the Florida Gators’ new coach took center stage at the 2015 SEC Media Days last Monday, no one expected much to be revealed … and those expectations were met. However, when McElwain went through the ringer known as the ESPN car wash on Tuesday, there was hope that a bit more would be uncovered, especially considering how much news his fellow coaches made one day earlier.

Four live television interviews resulted in four unanswered questions about the Florida quarterback situation, more than four Nick Saban inquiries and plenty of banter that led to little no additional knowledge gained about the Gators. Off camera, though, McElwain cracked open just a tad to Ivan Maisel on his Championship Drive podcast, as Maisel actually asked some relevant, football-related questions with just over a month to go until the 2015 season begins.

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Media: Florida Gators to finish fifth in SEC East; three named 2015 Preseason All-SEC


The Southeastern Conference released its annual media poll on Thursday at the 2015 SEC Media Days, and the masses predicted that the Florida Gators will finish fifth in their division next season.

Florida, which actually received one vote as the 2015 SEC champion, finished behind Georgia (166), Tennessee (36), Missouri (20) and South Carolina (1), only ahead of Kentucky (1) and Vanderbilt in the SEC East.

On Friday, the Gators had three players named to the media’s 2015 Preseason All-SEC team. Junior cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (the No. 2 vote-getter behind Georgia running back Nick Chubb) earned first team honors, while senior defensive end Jonathan Bullard was placed on the second team and senior linebacker Antonio Morrison on the third team.

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2015 SEC Media Days: Gators getting healthy, but Florida still has a long way to go

Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain, senior defensive end Jonathan Bullard, junior cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III and sophomore wide receiver Brandon Powell represented the team on Monday by participating in the 2015 Southeastern Conference Media Days at the Winfrey Hotel in Hoover, Alabama.

Below are highlights primarily from McElwain’s sessions with the media.

Slowly but surely

The most positive development for Florida on Monday came when McElwain provided an overall status update for multiple players that sat out spring practice with a variety of injuries.

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McElwain, White, Foley make few waves as Florida Gators reps at 2015 SEC spring meetings

A tumultuous offseason for Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley, one in which he had to hire new head coaches in his two top revenue-producing sports of football and basketball, did not carry over to the Southeastern Conference spring meetings this week where Foley and his new coaches were some of the least news-making people in attendance at the annual event.

Though the meetings will go on for two more days with new Florida president Kent Fuchs set to be in attendance, OnlyGators.com has decided to wrap up the first two days of the proceedings and provide a detailed look at five of the biggest topics actually discussed by the Gators’ representatives in Destin, Florida.

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