Goolsby, Lewis give Gators reasons for optimism

The failure of the Florida Gators to recruit and get production out of the tight end position over the last few seasons has been well-documented, but Saturday’s 2015 Orange & Blue Debut spring game absolutely provided reasons for optimism.

It was no accident that two of the Gators’ four leading receivers on Saturday were tight ends with sophomore DeAndre Goolsby (two receptions, 40 yards) and redshirt freshman C’yontai Lewis (four receptions, 54 yards, touchdown) each flashing while being used in a variety of formations.

In fact, while so much pessimism surrounds Florida’s offense – due to it having an unnamed starting quarterback and serious depth issues at both offensive line and running back – the tight end position looks to be stronger than it has been in years.

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Will Grier looks to have slight edge in Florida Gators quarterback battle with Treon Harris

Taking the Florida Gators2015 Orange & Blue Debut at face value, considering head coach Jim McElwain’s post-game comments and reading between the lines a bit, it is not hard to see that redshirt freshman Will Grier has a leg up on sophomore Treon Harris in the team’s starting quarterback tug-of-war.

Grier, who opened Saturday’s spring game as the starter on the Orange team (which was comprised of first-team offensive players), looked poised in the pocket and decisive with his throws.

In fact, the only criticism McElwain tossed on Grier after the contest was displeasure over the signal caller getting frustrated when three perfectly-thrown balls were dropped by his pass catchers.

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Florida Gators 2015 Orange & Blue Debut review: post-spring game wrap with notes and more

OnlyGators.com will offer a complete recap of the 2015 Orange & Blue Debut later Saturday evening following its tape-delayed replay on the SEC Network.

For now, check out this live recap of the spring game, which the mostly-first-string Orange team won 31-6 over the mostly-second-string Blue team.

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Florida Gators 2015 Orange & Blue Debut Preview: start time, TV schedule, live stream, who to watch

OnlyGators.com will offer a complete recap of the 2015 Orange & Blue Debut later Saturday evening following its tape-delayed replay on the SEC Network. More information below.

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather: Cloudy, 82 degrees, winds west/south-west at 7-8 mph
Time: 12:30 p.m. (EDT)

Live online/mobile (12:30 p.m.): SEC Network +
Live TV (12:30 p.m.): SEC Network alternate (“whip-around” coverage)
TV (9:00 p.m. tape delay): SEC Network
SiriusXM: None | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Live updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

EXPANDED VIEWING INFORMATION

Television:
Florida’s 2015 spring game will not air live in its entirety on television but rather on tape delay at 9 p.m. on SEC Network. Live “whip-around” coverage will be available on the SEC Network‘s alternate channel (where available) beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Online:
While the game is not being offered live on television, you can stream it live online (and via your mobile device) via SEC Network +. The game may be immediately available for replay via SEC Network + at the conclusion of the spring game.

EVENT FORMAT

» Florida will field an orange team and a blue team, which will square off over four 12-minute quarters and an un-timed overtime.

» Between each half, the Gators will hold a 12-minute halftime.

» There will also be a running clock for the final two minutes of the second and fourth quarters, likely with some additional kicking and special teams work.

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Florida Gators 2015 spring practice: Will Grier leads quarterback battle … by a hair

Head coach Jim McElwain took the field with the Florida Gators for the 12th time on Monday as the 2015 spring practice session kicked off its final stretch. After practice, he met with the media to discuss some goings on with the team over the last four days.

Opening statement

Due to the holiday weekend, McElwain did not hold a media availability on Friday to discuss that day’s practice. He recapped both on Monday.

“I was really happy actually with [Monday’s] practice. Obviously it was our last one without pads and a lot of times the guys focus – as far as what you get out of it – isn’t great. But I thought they really came out and got a lot out of it. We were able to really focus on a lot of our situational stuff, last play of the game, some big things both offensively and defensively as well as in special teams, special situations – long field goal, long return – a lot of the things that you try to do and get accomplished and make sure on your checklist that you handle. … You prepare yourself in many ways as you can off your checklist, so that was good.

“Going back to Friday … I thought the defense really asserted themselves. Offensively, the first drive was good – they went seven plays, overcame a penalty … and went down and scored right away. But other than that, the defense did a much, much better job taking the ball away and handling some three-and-out situations. I think [the defense] definitely took control of the scrimmage.”

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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 2015 spring practice: Receivers stepping up, quarterbacks a work in progress

Head coach Jim McElwain took the field with the Florida Gators for the fourth and fifth time on Tuesday and Wednesday as the 2015 spring practice session rolled along. After both practices, he met with the media to discuss some of the early goings on with the team.

Opening statement (Tuesday)

“I was really happy with today. The way the guys adapted [to a canceled practice on Monday], the way they improved and then just the way they went ahead about their business. I thought we got a lot of really good situational work today, especially third down and mid-red area. When you take over, when you’re installing, [that is]one of the things that’s hard because there’s so much new learning getting in and really operating in the situational stuff. So that was good.

Opening statement (Wednesday)

“Practice today was the first day in full pads. We got some good live drills in. I thought 3rd and short was really good for both sides of the ball; offense did a good job of staying on the field, which was good. … It’s also great out there at practice seeing the former Gators that are coming back and taking a look. For me, that’s really what a program is all about, those guys that gave their all for this university, and for them to come back and support these current Gators, that’s something that’s pretty special. There’s been a lot of them and that’s something that’s exciting to see.”

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Another spring, another Florida Gators quarterback battle: Is it Will Grier’s turn?

It’s the same old story with the Florida Gators this spring. Since the departure of Tim Tebow in 2009, Florida has yet to find any semblance of consistency at the quarterback position and therefore has failed to enter a spring with a signal caller who possesses the full confidence of the coaching staff, his teammates and the fan base.

The history here is long and convoluted for having taken place in a five-year window, but it can be summed up as follows:

Cam Newton came and went as swiftly as a laptop flying out a dorm room window; all he wound up doing after transferring was becoming a Heisman Trophy winner and the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. John Brantley got his shot but failed to deliver at the alma mater of his father and uncle. Despite major coaching obstacles, Jeff Driskel was given plenty of opportunities to succeed – which led to the transfer of Jacoby Brissett (who flashed in his first season as a starter at NC State) – though his eventual failure subsequently resulted in him moving on from Florida, too.

That’s four quarterbacks having come and gone from the Gators program including a five-star prospect and three four-star recruits: the top-rated signal caller in the nation (Driskel) one year, the second-best in another (Newton) and two more top-three quarterbacks (Brantley, Brissett) in the lot.

Yes, history has repeated itself at Florida as – for the third time – a pair of top-three quarterbacks of the same age will go head-to-head to fill a five-year void at the position.

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