SEC: 110808 Florida All-Access

Calling it a day with the Gators

August, 8, 2011
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Palmer, MuschampJason Parkhurst for ESPN.com Jesse Palmer and Florida coach Will Muschamp look on while players eat.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- With the first day in shoulder pads in the books, the Florida players are finishing up dinner in the Gator Room.

Fried chicken and mashed potatoes were the dishes of choice.

Coach Will Muschamp makes the rounds from table to table. He never stops being a coach. He encourages his offensive linemen, but in the same breath, makes it clear that they have to keep pushing.

He's one of the last coaches remaining in the Gator Room, and players flash easy smiles when he approaches their table.

"He's always right there with us, whether we're in here eating or in the huddle out on the field," senior running back Jeff Demps said. "He's definitely not one of those coaches who stands back and lets his assistants do the coaching."

That may be the case, but Muschamp leans heavily on his assistants and challenges them to challenge him.

"I didn't hire a bunch of 'yes' guys. I hired some really good football coaches, and I hired them for their opinion," Muschamp said. "I hired them because I believe in them, and if they disagree with what we're doing, then I want them to say that. But when we make that decision, we move forward and are 100 percent behind that decision. At this point, it's been great."

Photoblog: Watching his target

August, 8, 2011
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Florida Practice Jason Parkhurst for ESPN.comFlorida's quarterbacks will work under the watchful eye of coordinator Charlie Weis this season.

Photoblog: Jesse Palmer at practice

August, 8, 2011
8/08/11
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Florida PracticeJason Parkhurst for ESPN.comESPN analyst Jesse Palmer takes in the scene as Florida players work out.

Photoblog: Gators practice

August, 8, 2011
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Florida Practice Jason Parkhurst for ESPN.comFlorida's practice was spirited with ESPN cameras on hand.

Video: Florida's James Wilson

August, 8, 2011
8/08/11
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The offensive guard talks about staying the course during his injury-plagued career.

Big Mo Collins back on campus

August, 8, 2011
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Mo Collins, a former first-round draft pick at Florida, was back on campus Monday and attended practice.

Collins was an offensive tackle on the Gators' 1996 national championship team. He played in the NFL for six seasons before knee injuries forced him to retire early.

Collins, who's from Charlotte, N.C., trains offensive linemen in the Charlotte area. One of the guys he's been training is D.J. Humphries, who just committed to Florida last week.

The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Humphries was a key get for the Gators, who need offensive linemen. He's ranked by ESPN as the top offensive tackle prospect in the country and the No. 7 player overall in the ESPNU 150.

Video: Florida practice

August, 8, 2011
8/08/11
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Jesse Palmer gets a peek at a practice run by Gators coach Will Muschamp.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It was just redshirt freshman tailback Mack Brown's luck, but ESPN's cameras came on during a live look-in to Florida's practice just in time to see him fumble the ball.

And as hot as it is out here in the Florida heat, coach Will Muschamp was even hotter.

He screamed at Brown to hold onto the ball or "you won't play."

Muschamp is the epitome of a hands-on coach, sprinting from drill to drill and jumping in players' faces both on the offensive and defensive side of the practice field.

"His passion rubs off on everybody, and it never stops," linebacker Jon Bostic said. "It's like that in everything he does."
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- If anything, running back Chris Rainey looks even faster than he did a year ago.

When he gets into the secondary, he accelerates like few players can in college football.

Jeff Demps is typically considered the faster of the two, and he's also a blur coming out of the backfield. But Rainey has a faster 40-yard dash time on record (4.24).

Speaking of Rainey, he's sporting a beard that would make San Francisco Giants reliever Brian Wilson proud.

Podcast: Jesse Palmer

August, 8, 2011
8/08/11
3:24
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Jesse Palmer discusses the expectations for Florida in 2011, John Brantley, Will Muschamp, Charlie Weis and more.

Photoblog: It all begins in the classroom ...

August, 8, 2011
8/08/11
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Rushers MeetingJason Parkhurst for ESPN.comThe Gators' running backs get together for a meeting on Monday.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The players and coaches are headed out now to practice, their first day in shoulder pads.

I had a chance a little earlier to catch up with coach Will Muschamp, and it's clear he likes the talent on this team. He should. The Gators have recruited like gangbusters the past few years under former coach Urban Meyer.

One of Muschamp's main concerns is depth along both lines of scrimmage.

But if they stay healthy, they should stack up with most anybody in the defensive front seven.

"We have good players. We just don't have enough of them," said Muschamp, pointing out that the Gators had just four scholarship defensive tackles.

The Gators still have to find another starter at linebacker, but Muschamp has really been encouraged by what he's seen from returnees Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins.

Losing cornerback Janoris Jenkins was a blow to the secondary, but freshmen Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson both have a chance to be special, Muschamp said.

That's high praise coming from Muschamp, who knows a thing or two about quality defensive back play.

Video: Florida's Ronald Powell

August, 8, 2011
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The Gators defensive end discusses the improvements he's making in practice.

Photoblog: Coach Will Muschamp

August, 8, 2011
8/08/11
1:28
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Will MuschampJason Parkhurst for ESPN.comFlorida coach Will Muschamp talks with his coaching staff.

Photoblog: Muschamp and his staff

August, 8, 2011
8/08/11
1:24
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Will MuschampJason Parkhurst for ESPN.comFlorida coach Will Muschamp meets with his coaches.

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