Highlights from Jim McElwain's pre-spring news conference
GAINESVILLE - With the Florida Gators open spring football practice next week, coach Jim McElwain met with reporters today to address a number of topics. Some of the highlights:
The quarterback position remains in limbo. I'll have more on that later, although McElwain didn't say much. Here's how he responded to a question about how close Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask are: "They're real close. There's probably about a half-inch difference between them, I think."
The Gators are also eager to experiment with Kadarius Toney, an early enrollee UF lists as an athlete. McElwain said UF will play around with Toney as a potential running (or at least change-of-pace) quarterback. "(Running the quarterback) is something we did a little bit with Austin, and yet this gives us a little bit more as we move forward. I mean, we also had those packages in for Dre Massey that we worked on extensively and were able to use it for one kickoff, right?"
UF has lacked talent at receiver during his tenure, but that is no longer the case. "I see it as a real group of strength for us," McElwain said. "I think the big thing is now comes the accountability piece and competition piece amongst each other and understanding where they need to be and why they need to be there in all the different parts of the passing game. I'm excited about that group."
UF announced Wednesday that the firm HOK will design the Gators' new three-story, 130,000-square-foot stand-alone football complex, which carries a $60 million price tag. McElwain has been vocal about upgrading his facilities, so he's obviously pleased with the latest news. "The announcement, you know, with the architecture and the stuff moving forward with the new facilities is a game-changer."
Injury updates: Quarterback Luke Del Rio, as expected, won't participate in practices as he recovers from offseason surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. Neither will defensive lineman and Hillsborough High product Jordan Sherit (knee), receiver Freddie Swain (shoulder), offensive lineman Antonio Riles (knee), defensive back Quincy Lenton (foot), defensive back Jeawon Taylor (shoulder) and linebacker David Reese (wrist). Three others will be contact-free as they recover from torn ACLs: Receiver Dre Massey, linebacker James Houston and defensive back C.J. McWilliams.
With David Sharpe headed to the NFL draft, former five-star recruit Martez Ivey will slide to left tackle. He was a second-team all-SEC honoree last year at left guard.