Donovan Sees a Work in Progress

Billy Donovan doesn't expect this pace to stick. The heavy dose of three-point shots that have fallen early in the season won't continue at such a heavy pace all season. It's the times when those shots aren't falling that Donovan is preparing for now. The Florida head coach wants his team to find a way to continue having success in the paint.

"I still think we're a work in progress," Billy Donovan said. "The way we've shot the ball has been good. We're taking a lot of threes, and I think we're having a presence at the basket. We're finding ways to get the ball to Patric (Young)."

It isn't clear from reading over the box score from Monday's 13-point win over Wright State, but Donovan was happy with the way Florida created offense in the paint. It was hurt by an eye injury Young suffered.

While he was happy with the offense down low, the Gators again outrebounded their opponent, which has happened in all four games this season.

"Rebounding continues to get better," Donovan said. "We've done a good job on the glass. The other thing we've got to improve on is more consistent defensively. Statistically, we look good defensively, but I'm looking at shots given up, and as we play better teams, those are probably going to be shots that are made."

A big reason for the improved rebounding is that the guards are helping in that area. Mike Rosario grabbed seven rebounds on Monday, while Brad Beal had ten in last week's win over North Florida. Erving Walker has pulled down five rebounds in the last two games, too.

The guards are making it easier for Florida to not be as concerned about their lack of size down low.

"They understand they've got to get back there and help," Donovan said. "That has helped our team. Against Ohio State, the frontcourt was challenged on the backboard. We've had a size advantage in the last three games, but our guards are trying to get in there. We have to understand that's a mindset every day. We've at least proven that with a focus on that, we should be able to hold our own."

INJURY UPDATE: Young didn't start the second half of Monday's game because he was hit in the eye. His vision was blurry and the eye became swollen to limit his vision. Donovan said that Young could sport goggles in practice and in games until it is healed.

"He's fine," Donovan said. "He's got a laceration on the white part of his eye. It's nothing in terms of his pupil. He's fine and will practice. He's got some swelling. He's full go and cleared."

FINDING DEPTH: Donovan continues to search for depth on the frontcourt. Cody Larson could be one that provides some rest for Young, but Larson played just three minutes on Monday.

"We've got to find a way to get him on the floor physically," Donovan said. "The hardest thing coming off the bench is, when am I going in?"

Donovan put some of the blame on himself for not setting up a clear substitution pattern early in the season. Last season, it was understood that Scottie Wilbekin would be the first guard into the game and Young would get the nod early to give a big man a breather. Now, there's nothing certain.

"There's not a flow," Donovan said. "We aren't there with (substitution patterns). I've got to get Cody in there where he's giving us more depth on the front line, and I do trust him out there."

GUIDING MEYER: Donovan said he has spoken with Urban Meyer "a couple times" as Meyer decides whether or not he will coach again. Donovan said Meyer is continuing to search out the problems he dealt with as the coach at Florida.

"I think he loves football and is evaluating what he's doing as a coach," Donovan said. "Sometimes people look at things a little differently than what reality is. I think the biggest thing for him right now is when you get a chance to win national championships, every coach wants to experience that but there's a perception created that it brings a level of worth and of value to your life. It really doesn't.

"You've got to really enjoy the process of dealing every single day. Sometimes there are little victories that nobody sees in terms of helping these guys get better. What happened to Urban happened to me too because you see that it has happened twice, and now what's the purpose of me coaching? It doesn't make you life complete when it does happen. There are so many coaches out there chasing that thing and that dream, and when they get it, I'm not so sure that it does.

"For Urban, it's that balance of chasing championships, his family and his health. Can I balance all that in a way that I can feel good about myself and family? He's evaluating those kind of things. He's got to figure out how to enjoy this process. Do I think he'll go back and coach? Yeah, I think he will."

Fightin Gators Top Stories