Florida coach Jim McElwain sent his team a message at the end of a practice last week: Act like the defending Southeastern Conference East champions and play with a consistent attitude and energy.
The Gators bounced back with a good practice Friday and then Saturday’s situational scrimmage went even better.
“We had our best practice Saturday,” McElwain said Monday. “Thought the guys really came from start to finish with the attitude and the energy to get a lot accomplished. I thought there were some really, really good things that went on, especially in our situational drill work. It was really good to see.”
After the criticizing the offensive line’s communication and the unit’s struggles in the run game early in camp, Florida’s coach was pleased with the group’s improvement over the weekend.
McElwain also praised the quarterbacks’ decision-making, the tailbacks’ ball security and the defensive line’s tenacity.
“Overall, I was really excited that they came out, especially after a good Friday practice, and backed it up with a good Saturday,” McElwain said. “It was really good to see. … I think our tackling obviously needs to get a little better, especially from a wrap-up standpoint. Offensively, just consistently coming off the ball with pad level at the offensive line spot. But overall felt really good about what we did.”
McElwain continues to push for facility improvements, and UF’s coach hinted at another major project on the docket in the near future.
After confirming that Florida will upgrade another set of athletic dorms this summer, McElwain said the school is exploring the “feasibility” of renovating “the operations piece.”
The Gators are cramped for space, but McElwain wants to overhaul the South End Zone of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium — everything from the locker room to the training and meeting rooms to the coaches’ offices.
“We have a long ways to go,” he said. “We actually have a couple groups that have been on campus that have done some feasibility studies as to what the exact best thing to do is based on what we have and what we need. I’ll be interested to see when those reports get back.”
Last summer, UF completed its $17 million indoor practice facility and renovated a set of athletic dorms. The school’s $25 million renovation to the athletes’ academic center is set to open soon, too.
“The good thing is we’re moving in the right direction,” McElwain said. “It’s good to see people are open to listening and open to look and see what we need to do ahead for a long time to come.”
Junior wideout Alvin Bailey (back) and junior defensive end Jordan Sherit (hamstring) should return to practice this week, McElwain said.
Linebacker Alex Anzalone (shoulder) remains non-contact.