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Apr 8, 2016; Gainesville, FL, USA; Fans hold signed Florida Gators posters after the Orange and Blue game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sport

Gator Football Making Progress On Both Sides of the Ball

Less than a week away from the Orange and Blue game on Friday night, the Gator football team is working out the kinks before they debut all they’ve worked on this spring in front of fans for the first time.

The game will mark the end of spring camp for the Gators and the learning curve of bonding a new team together. This includes incorporating some new additions to the coaching staff. Two of those, defensive backs coach Corey Bell and running backs coach Ja’Jaun Seider, talked about individual development and strengths and weaknesses on both sides of the ball.

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X’s with Coach Corey Bell

Corey Bell hoped they had a better day than him. Why? Because his standards “are high, higher than most.” Bell just finished up practice with the team and said he didn’t get all of what he expected at practice. Regardless, he said the guys had worked hard overall in the spring and commented on a few players specifically and how the defensive backs will shape up.

Chauncey Gardner: an upcoming sophomore, has been in transition between safety, nickleback and cornerback. Bell said he still sees him as a corner and that’s what he will most likely be as the team builds depth. Wherever he is on the field, Bell said having him out there makes them a better football team.

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Marcell Harris: Harris played in all 13 games and started in eight at safety last season. Bell sees a lot of improvements in the redshirt junior, including his tackling and communication. Bell expects Harris to shake off the notion that he is only a hitter on the defensive side of the ball and take on a larger role tackling.

Depth: A lot of where Gardner ends up is dependent on the performance of the freshmen coming in. Bell said the biggest challenge with that is always the learning curve of playing at a high level. As to if he thinks the pressure of six freshmen joining the squad this summer is putting pressure on his defensive backs, he says absolutely not. He said first and foremost they are a team and that he welcomes the competition between the players to push each other.

O’s with Coach Ja’Jaun Seider

Seider says he has jumped in and made himself comfortable with the Gator squad, talking with the players and finding their strengths and weaknesses. These are some of the key ones he has seen this spring.

Scarlett Easing the Transition: Seider joins the staff from West Virginia University, where he heavily recruited Jordan Scarlett. According to Seider, getting to link up with Scarlett now has eased his transition because of his relationship with the veteran running back. Spider described Scarlett as always having natural ability and sees him really taking off this season because of trusting himself. 

Strengths: Seider harped on how competitive this group of running backs is but to him it is even more important how unselfish they are. He noted how with only one ball to go around, no one is trying to call all the shots and instead are working hard to prove themselves.

Weaknesses: They need more guys. For Seider, this is the biggest thing holding the running backs back when it comes to going through rotations and getting reps. He called himself greedy in regards to how many guys he likes to work with in the position and he’s excited for the freshmen coming in the summer.

Making Substitutions: Last season, the Gator offense adapted the committee approach, relying on multiple running backs and Seider also prefers having a set of fresh legs out on the field. To him, having a fresh back is better than a tired back plus, it prevents bad things from happening.

Orange & Blue Debut

You can see for yourself the progress coach Bell and Seider discussed at the Orange and Blue game on Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.

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