Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin and six Gators met with local reporters Wednesday to talk about a myriad of subjects, while head coach Will Muschamp jumped on the Southeastern Conference's weekly teleconference to discuss the state of his team. Here were the 10 most interesting sound bites from the group Wednesday.
Nickel back Marcus Maye (strained hamstring) is day-to-day and will be a game-time decision against Idaho on Saturday. Muschamp said he thinks Maye will be available Saturday night, but in case that he isn't ready the Gators have discussed multiple options at the nickel. "We have guys," Durkin said. "Brian Poole has played a bunch of nickel. Jabari Gorman has played nickel for us. We've even used Vernon at times there, so we have a bunch of different combinations that we can use on that as well as Duke Dawson, who can play more than one spot. Whether he's playing or not, we're going to use several of those combinations."
Muschamp lauded sophomore tailback Kelvin Taylor for the improvements he's made throughout the off-season. "I think he's much improved. It starts with pass protection. That was an issue, and that's normally with young backs something they struggle with as far as protection is concerned. Kelvin is a great young man. He worked extremely hard. He's got natural running ability, natural running skill and he sees things very well. But he's improved his hands out of the backfield, catches the ball much better than he did a year ago. Protection he has just been a marked improvement of where we were a year ago, stronger and tougher."
After watching tape of Idaho, Durkin had plenty to say about the Vandals' strategy on offense. "You know, they present some really good issues schematically in terms of their run game. There's some unique things they do in the run game with the zone read and getting different personnel groups. The routes they run in the pass game, again, they really test you. We've got to be disciplined with our eyes. They give you some issues. They do some things that we don't really see week in and week out. It's been good preparation for us. I think it's really kept our guys locked in and in tune with the game plan and what's going on because they see it on tape. You can look really dumb really fast based on what they do. They had some big plays against FSU last year. Our guys are aware of that and know we've got to be on it."
Vernon Hargreaves III touched on how Idaho likes to take an elusive approach offensively. "They like to sneak the back out of the backfield a lot, tight ends end line they like to block a little and then go up for passes. So you said eye control, whoever has the backside tight end, watching the play because he might try to sneak out."
As for the Vandals' defense, Matt Jones feels confident matching up against it. "We see that they run odd fronts sometimes, four-down front. Some kind of over-fronts, too. They are pretty much kind of slim up front. The linebackers are kind of slow. It's going to be a tough game, well not so much a tough game, but we're going to play it like a tough game."
Taylor talked about his relationship with Jones, his friend in the backfield. "We definitely cheer for each other, we like to see each other do great and we help each other out the best we can. If Matt misses a hole I'll be like, 'Dang big bro, you could have cut back. … He does the same thing to me. 'Lil bro, you should have cut back.'"
Ahmad Fulwood touched on the origin of Florida's "We all we got, we all we need" motto that came into fruition near the start of training camp. "D.J. Humphries kind of threw that in the mix with us. He said he heard it from an alumni. They used to say it here I think it was back in the 90s, so it kind of just carried over to us. It's true - we all we got, we all we need. … You know circle the wagons. Everybody talks, everyone has their own opinions, we don't really care. We're just worried about the Florida Gators."
Max Garcia said the offensive line has tried to play with more of an aggressive edge this season. "That's definitely something we focused on, being more nasty, finishing blocks, taking the next bite. And that's something that I've always done while playing offensive line and that's just kind of been the type of vibe and the type of culture we try to create. We want to really see that on the field this year. … Taking the next bite is like if a guy's about to fall over, you put him over. Just don't stop the play, don't give up. If he's going to the ground, just put him to the ground."
Now on scholarship, Francisco Velez is more confident in his kicking ability than he was last season. "I can definitely say I have a lot more power going in from the spring to the summer. I can hit 50-yarders now. It's just, I had a tired leg last year, but I worked it up and it's good now. … Flexibility is the most important thing for me as a kicker, and leg speed and I've been able to work that up."
Garcia and Michael Taylor helped hand out tickets to student season-ticket holders Wednesday. "I got a job offer," Garcia said. "The lady said if I ever need anything, if I don't have a job, I can definitely come back and sell some tickets."
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