The coaches are still early in the installation on both ends of the floor, but the biggest thing first-year coach Mike White wanted to see was his team’s competitiveness and intensity. The first six days of practice have answered any remaining questions he had.
“High intensity level, high level of communication,” White said. “I couldn’t be much more pleased than I am, really, from a mental and physical standpoint with the way our guys have come to work. And we’ve gotten better.”
The installation has been about communication between the coaches and players. When they reach a part of the scheme that had a different name under Billy Donovan and his coaching staff, White and his assistants aren’t afraid to talk it over with the players to find terminology both sides are the most comfortable with using on the court.
White calls it ‘meeting in the middle,’ but it hasn’t been much of a challenge for the Florida program.
“It’s definitely been an adjustment in that certain things are called different names,” White said. “There will be different ways of doing things and different ways of doing some of the same type things. We’ve tried, from a schematic standpoint, to meet as much in the middle as possible with the players.
“We’ve been able to keep a lot of the same things in place when that becomes an advantage for our guys to expedite the process, the transition.”
The intensity early in practice wasn’t a surprise to the returning players. They were used to the same thing under Donovan, but the veterans were relieved to find the same space and physicality in White’s practices.
“The first week under Coach White has been very competitive, very physical practices – high intensity,” Florida wing DeVon Walker siad. “I would say that he’s sustaining the culture that Coach D left, and he’s also putting his own stamp on it as well, so it’s been great.”
There’s only one bad piece of news for Florida on the injury front. Freshman guard KeVaughn Allen, who White said at media day could compete for a starting role, suffered a concussion during the Gators’ first practice on October 2. Allen was boxing someone out and fell, hitting his head on a teammates knee that was running to the other end of the floor.
He returned to practice Thursday afternoon but was limited. White expected him to fully return on Friday.
“I think we’re good,” White said. “Everyone is in a good physical state, mental state.”