Donovan Pushing Gators for Improvement

Billy Donovan won't let his team rest on what they've done this season. The 9-2 record for Florida shows an elite team, especially with the two losses coming against two of the top five teams in the country, but Donovan is pushing his team to stay hungry. The Florida head coach wants his players to realize that there are still inconsistencies to be ironed out.

"We can still get better," Billy Donovan said. "We've had pockets where we've been spectacular and pockets where we haven't been spectacular. I see a growth and improvement. The exam period is a tough period because you have a week before you play again."

It's doesn't sound right as Florida is the third highest scoring team in the country at 86.5 points per game, but a lot of the areas the Gators can improve come when they have the ball. It comes through recognition of the guards.

Donovan has been preaching for Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton to do a better job of getting other players involved when the defense calls for it, and they are showing progress.

"The way that we play, certainly there are times when we want to get the ball inside to Patric, but when you're letting guys play and make decisions, they have to make reads," Donovan said. "They have to make decisions.

"It's nothing to do with them not wanting to throw the ball to Pat. It's always evolving. We're playing out of concepts. Out of those concepts, there's time Patric is rolling in, screened for and those guys miss him."

The veteran guards have made progress. The week off for exams before Florida played Texas A&M gave Donovan a chance to sit down with Walker and Boynton an turn on the film. He showed them multiple times on film where Young was open for an easy basket, but the guards reversed the play or tried to create their own shot.

"When you point things out and show it to them on film, they do grasp it and get it," Donovan said. "I felt like coming out of the A&M game, even though Patric played 20 minutes and never got in a flow, he wasn't a factor. In showing things to our guys that he was open, that helps them see it on film."

It's also tougher for Boynton and Walker to understand early in the season because of the differences from last season. With Vernon Macklin in the post, the Gators could throw it to the senior wherever on the floor and let him create in the post. Young's offensive game isn't as versatile.

INJURY UPDATE: The status of Mike Rosario (back strain) and Cody Larson (strep throat) is up in the air for Thursday night's game against Florida State. Rosario didn't practice Tuesday, and if he sits out Wednesday's practice, Donovan said he won't play in the game.

Donovan said Larson is feeling better, but he has lost weight, forcing the Florida staff to worry about his conditioning.

"When you start to miss as much time as (Rosario) and Cody have missed, it's hard to throw them back out there and expect a lot of productivity from those guys," Donovan said.


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