Pro Day Notebook

Last year's Pro Day was an awakening for Florida head coach Will Muschamp. After posting a 7-6 record in his first season as the head coach, it was obvious why the first year was a struggle. The talent wasn't there. There was one NFL coach and a handful of scouts in attendance. On Tuesday, the scene was different. Prominent head coaches and NFL front office members were in Gainesville this year.

There were 60 representatives of NFL teams in The Swamp on Tuesday morning, with at least one member from every team in attendance, plus two front office members from Canadian Football League teams.

There were some recognizable faces, too. Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and Jacksonville Jaguars first-year head coach Gus Bradley were the two most famous ones. Steelers general manager Kelvin Colbert, Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Fred Pagac and linebackers coach Mike Singletary were also in attendance.

"That's how a Pro Day is supposed to look at Florida," Will Muschamp said. "All 32 teams are here, and that's how it ought to be. If we continue to do a good job evaluating, recruiting and developing our players, which we will, our pro days will continue to look that way.

"There are some head coaches and some general managers and some people here that were part of the exposure that our players have at Florida."

Even without Sharrif Floyd working out on Tuesday, there was still plenty of talent on display. Safety Matt Elam projects as a late first round or early second round pick and helped his stock on Tuesday, going through drills and trying to prove to NFL teams that he can be a factor in pass coverage.

Muschamp was complimentary of the group of players that went through workouts, thanking them for their contributions to the program. This close to the NFL Draft, Muschamp has seen the players focus in on their goals.

"They all understand what's at stake," Muschamp said. "These guys are at a great time in their life. Here they are on the verge of playing in the arena on Sunday. That's something you look at. They understand what's at stake. I'm proud of what I saw today just from a standpoint of how they worked and how they've conducted themselves.

"The positive feedback I've gotten from general managers, head coaches, assistants in the National Football League, of the character of our guys and how they handled themselves at the combine — all of it has been ultra-positive. I've been real pleased with that."

FIELD CONDITIONS: The biggest story was the field conditions on Tuesday. Rain started early in the morning in Gainesville and a light mist continued throughout the workouts. The Florida players still ran their 40s and went through workouts on the grass of the stadium, despite the slick surface.

"That's one thing Coach Muschamp tried to stress to us," Florida linebacker Jon Bostic said. "You're going to play in the rain sometimes. It's not always going to be perfect conditions. It wasn't really a hold-up for us."

That was the reason that none of the players elected to back out of working out when the rain started to fall. They wanted to show off their competitive spirit and go through the workouts to show the NFL personnel in attendance what they could do.

"You've got to come out and play in different weather and be able to adjust, so I think it was great for me to be able to show off my ability in the rain, so they can see I can adjust," Matt Elam said.

First-year Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell noted after the workout that teams can take the rain into account when gauging the times and workouts that players post in that environment. First-year head coach Gus Bradley agreed with that but was also happy to see players continue to go through workouts.

"We're going to have rain on Sundays," Bradley said. "It's not a big deal to me and hopefully it's not a big deal to them as well."

JAGUARS STAFF IMPRESSED: Last year, former Florida tight end Mike Mularkey was taking over as the first-year head coach of the Jaguars and was present for Florida's Pro Day. Even with the change of front office personnel and at head coach, the Jaguars franchise still wants to maintain contacts with Florida.

The proximity allows an easy trip down the road, and Bradley and Caldwell tried their hardest to introduce themselves to Florida coaches, representatives and even athletic director Jeremy Foley on Tuesday.

"We have good relationships here," Caldwell said. "Obviously, we want to show support for the local Gators, but the main thing too is there are some good football players here at this university that could come play for us."

The biggest impression made on Bradley Tuesday morning was the number of talented players working out in Gainesville. The Jaguars will be mentioned as a potential landing spot for Sharrif Floyd with the second overall pick, but the talent pool goes much deeper than that.

"The numbers — the amount of guys with talent," Bradley said of what impressed him. "The amount of guys that have the potential to get drafted and the athleticism. Getting a chance to talk to Coach Muschamp, the style that he's presented here, the discipline and toughness. To see it carry over to his players is impressive."

Fightin Gators Top Stories