Gators' strength coach says team showing positive signs in early offseason training
Florida coach Urban Meyer likens strength and conditioning coordinator Mickey Marotti to a quasi-head coach during the offseason, when coaches have limited contact with players.
So his role can't be overstated, Meyer always says. Whatever is going on with a player between April and the first day of two-a-days, it's Marotti's job to know about it. And this year, it's his job to put together what Meyer has said will be "one of the toughest offseasons in Florida football history'', in an effort to keep the defending national champions from becoming complacent.
On Wednesday, Marotti sat down with a small group of UF beat writers and talked about the upcoming offseason training and how he plans to keep things fresh for a team with so many returning veterans who already know all the drills.
What he has seen so far is that having a veteran team makes a heck of a lot of difference, particularly from veterans like QB Tim Tebow and LB Brandon Spikes.
"It's (the leadership of Spikes and Tebow) second to none," Marotti said. "It's every strength coach's dream at this level to have guys like that. I told one of my assistants the other day, "This is the way it's supposed to be.' They're coaching each other up.''
The Gators are being put through five workouts per week - lifting weights four days and running three days, mostly linear speed training.
One of the players being targeted for gaining some size is former Armwood standout Matt Patchan. Marotti wouldn't say how much he wants the 6-foot-6, 260 pound OL to gain, but said no doubt he "needs to get bigger.''
On the flip side, the training staff is having a difficult time getting 175-pound RB Chris Rainey to add a few pounds.
"He doesn't like food," said Marotti, adding that he's only recently been able to get Rainey to eat a special shake supplement team members use. "It's hard to gain weight when you don't like food. He's eating because he has to. He doesn't eat because he likes food. . . I always tell him, 'I watch football every Sunday and I don't see anyone who looks like you playing at the next level. If that's your goal, maybe you've got to change.' "