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August 6, 2014

10 tidbits from Florida's media day

3 MONTHs FOR THE PRICE OF ONE - TWITTER- FACEBOOK- NEWS
PRE-CAMP POSITIONAL PREVIEWS: QB (free) | RB | WR/TE | OL | DL | LB | DB (free)
PRE-CAMP FOOTBALL ROUNDTABLES: I | II | III | IV | V (free)
UF'S TOP 20/14 OF 2014: I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII | IX | X
FALL FOOTBALL: Garcia transitioning to center | Fulwood refining game | Offseason PRP II
Monday Notebook: Young corners impress | Receivers talk Leak | Offseason PRP I | Taylor focused
In-depth look at the freshmen | Notebook: Battle for the backup QB spot | Offseason PRP II
Live Updates | Muschamp Q&A transcript | What we learned (free)


Florida's annual media day Sunday had plenty of intriguing storylines worth pursuing. After sorting through about an hour's worth of audio from access with the squad, here are 10 interesting tidbits from media day.

  • Fowler not focused on NFL: Junior Buck linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. is not thinking about the NFL anytime soon and he made that clear at media day. "I'm not worried about it right now," said Fowler, who turned 20 years old on Sunday. "I'm worried about the University of Florida and I'm worried about getting my team to a championship and having a special year. When all that happens, everything else will take care of itself."

  • Green healthy: During Florida's 4-8 campaign last season, a frustrated Chaz Green watched from a distance as he missed the entire season with a torn labrum he had suffered in fall camp. "It was rough, watching some games at home, just feeling like I couldn't help," the offensive tackle said. "It's something that happens playing football. You have to look at it the right way, bounce back from it and just be thankful when you're healthy." The rehabbing progress was a long one, but Green is finally at full health. A fifth-year senior, Green is excited to finally make an impact as he projects to start this season at right tackle.

  • Hargreaves likes young corners: Lining outside opposite sophomore cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III in the starting lineup this season will likely be a freshman corner. During media day Sunday, Hargreaves gave his thoughts on the young, talent group.

    "I'm really impressed with all of them because I really didn't expect them to do as well as they did just for the off-season workouts, but I would probably say Jalen Tabor," Hargreaves said. "He probably came along the quickest. He understands. He gets it. He's real long, he's got long arms, he's physical. He understands what he has and he uses it to his advantage." Hargreaves has seen Duke Dawson, another contender for the starting job, make progress as well since the spring. "He's coming along too. He's short, kind of like me," the 5-foot-11 Hargreaves said of Dawson, who is the same height. "It's kind of hard for us at corner because we're not as long, we can't get our hands on guys like that. But he understands. He's working on his game. He's always asking me questions."

  • Jones confident in receiving abilities: Junior tailback Matt Jones, returning from a torn meniscus he suffered last season, said he feels comfortable and confident as a pass catcher in Kurt Roper's new offense. "It's like you're going to the next level with it - you're not just running the ball, you're catching the ball out of the backfield," Jones said. "Get to block a little more. So you're just showing scouts what you're really capable of doing."

  • Pittman maturing: During his first two years at Florida, Latroy Pittman caught only four balls for 24 yards. Last season, Pittman was suspended for UF's first three games for violating team rules. The early goings in Gainesville were rough for Pittman, but the junior slot receiver feels he grew up from it. "The talent was there, everything was there, but me, I just wasn't mentally ready," Pittman said. "I made some off-the-field decisions that shouldn't have been made, and I had to pay the consequences for that."

  • Washington at full strength: After suffering a season-ending shoulder injury two games into 2013, redshirt freshman Nick Washington has been on the road to recovery during the spring and summer. "I did a lot of rehab over the summer and made sure that my shoulder was stable," the 6-foot, 190-pound defensive back said. "I feel that I got stronger, a little thicker and faster."

  • Debose set to earn diploma: Sixth-year senior receiver Andre Debose will graduate this Saturday with a degree in family, youth and community science. "It feels amazing," Debose said. "I started something and I finally finished it, so it's definitely something I'm proud of for my parents and everything."

  • Two-back shotgun: In Kurt Roper's up-tempo, spread attack, shotgun plays with two tailbacks in the backfield figure to be a staple of the playbook. Jones expressed his desire for these types of plays this season. "That's definitely going to mess a lot of people up with two running backs back there," Jones said. "You've got me, Mark Herndon, Kelvin Taylor, Mack Brown. You don't know what to think about when you've got two of us back there."

  • Orr talks music: In his spare time, redshirt senior defensive tackle Leon Orr enjoys recording hip-hop music. In late 2012, he most notably recorded a Gators-themed rap track with Gainesville rapper Deal'a called "It's a Swamp Thang." Orr touched on his love for music Sunday at media day and why he chose to make football his No. 1 priority instead. "It's something that's been in my life, for sure," Orr said. "It's always been a part of my life with different people a part of my family doing music, and I just decided that I was going to take a different route and do sports. I've got a lot of family members who necessarily can't play sports, who necessarily are not smart enough to go to college. But they're really good at music, and I want to be in a predicament to help those guys, to help my family out."

  • McCalister heavier: Since his freshman season in 2012, defensive lineman Alex McCalister has gained about 24 pounds. Now at 246 pounds - eight pounds more than he weighed at the start of 2013 - the redshirt sophomore pass rusher revealed his trick for bulking up. "I probably eat an entire pizza every night," he said.


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