A pair of senior Florida Gators football players – linebacker Jon Bostic and running back Mike Gillislee – spoke on Tuesday about the team’s activities during the offseason and how they each plan to improve heading into the 2012 season.
BOSTIC, JENKINS GETTING BIGGER AND BETTER
Even though Bostic was Florida’s leading tackler and one of the most productive players on the defense in 2011, he has spent the entire offseason – and will now spend all of spring practice – trying to get better. Though he may have the system down pat, the changes offensive coordinator Brent Pease is making to his side of the ball are giving Bostic and the rest of the defense even more looks than they are used to having.
“There’s something new to learn every day and get better at every day,” he said. “This spring, with this new offense and the shifting and adjusting that they’re doing, it’s really making us learn this defense and learn all these checks and adjustments that we need to make right off the top of our head, not where it’s something we need to learn by week.”
Nearly as effective as Bostic last year, redshirt junior LB Jelani Jenkins appears to have bulked up significantly since new strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman took over the program. Bostic says his teammate has “gotten a lot stronger” and weighed in at “236 or 238” pounds on Monday, crediting Dillman and his new style for the improvements to both of their physiques.
“It’s more Olympic-style lifts with the power cleans and stuff,” he said. I had never done those lifts before until I got here. We did some in high school but I didn’t do too much of it. I tried it once, couldn’t get the technique, so I just went about my business and did something else. I like it.”
GILLISLEE READY TO RUN
“[My role] has increased a lot,” he said, according to The Gainesville Sun. “The biggest role right now is getting better every day, being a leader. [...] No doubt [I can be an every-down back]. This is my last chance, just the opportunity I’ve been waiting on to take advantage, being No. 1 on the depth chart so far, just getting better every day.”
The two other reasons Gillislee was kept off the field – in addition to others in front of him getting a shot first – were injuries and difficulties in learning pass protection.
“It’s been very frustrating,” Gillislee said of his injuries, according to InsidetheGators.com. “Like every time it was time for me to step up, I ended up getting hurt. But now that I see taking care of your body is the most important thing, that’s a big part of what I’m doing now. Every day after practice I get in the cold tank and do the little things before anything major happens.”
He also said he no longer has issues with pass protection and picking up blitzes. “I feel comfortable now because I’m getting a lot more reps than I usually get,” he told the Sun. “It’s hard. You’ve got to know who is coming and you’ve got a route at the same time. So, that’s the whole hard thing about pass protection. I had a bit of trouble, but I’m good at it now.”
Now all that is left for Gillislee is trying to hit that 1,000-yard benchmark. “I can envision it,” he told ITG. “In the past, I never knew when I was gonna get [the ball] again, so I just went as hard as I can. Not saying now I don’t go as hard as I can every day, but that’s a big reason why I just want to break out.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Bostic on sophomore cornerback Marcus Roberson’s neck injury: “The main thing with him, I told him, is to get stronger in the offseason. He’s a freshman who did well at times last year. He’s going to play a big role in our defense this year. His main thing is he just needs to get in the weight room. He’s a guy who can turn and run with receivers. But at the line of scrimmage – with him putting on weight and getting a lot stronger – he can really help us there.”
» Bostic on redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Murphy not getting enough respect off the field: “It’s really three quarterbacks out there doing well. I know a lot of people are looking at [Jeff] Driskel and Jacoby [Brissett], but Tyler Murphy is one of those guys who is really stepping up right now and kind of taking everything from the backside because everybody is kind of looking at the other two. But Tyler Murphy has come out there, he’s done his job just like the other two.”
» Gillislee on if he was every planning to transfer: “Nah. I was born a Gator. I been a Gator all my life. I would never change this. Now it’s my opportunity, so I plan on keeping it that way.”