A lot of it has to do with conditioning. When Donovan was at Florida, the team worked more in half court situations that featured a lot of teaching on the court. Under White, the Gators are in more wide-open, full-court situations in practice.
The reason for that is White’s desire to see his team run the court and play fast. If they’re going to do it in games, the Florida players know White wants them to show it in practice.
"Oh, it’s different,” Florida guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez said. “With Coach White, we don’t play half court at all. Because of the way we want to play, we want to play fast. I think Coach Donovan’s were a lot of teaching. He teaches a lot of stuff. He was great. I learned a lot from him. Now we’re in a new system, great coach in Mike White, and I think he’s doing a great job with us."
It took time for the Florida players to get used to it at the start of practice. They were in good shape at the beginning and thought they were ready for the practices because their only frame of reference was practicing under Donovan. It quickly became clear that the adjustment to the speed was going to be tougher than they expected.
Florida forward Devin Robinson joked that the players got used to it when they realized that they had no choice but to get used to it.
“I didn’t expect it to be this high-paced, this much running and going from drill to drill to drill,” Robinson said. “I didn’t expect it to be like that, but it’s helping us process things faster and then just helping in practice get more done.”
The sophomore forward also expects more development to come from this style of practice.
“There’s a lot more of player development in these types of practices than there was last year,” Robinson said. “Last year, there was more team-based and just coming together as a team. But this one helps each and every one of us get better in the sense of the team. You work on each and every individual skill and put it together to make one instead of just practicing as one team.”
White said the Gators could use some three-guard lineups this season, but any talk about a four-guard lineup would be unnecessary. Florida should be “pretty conventional” with their lineups this season, according to White.
That’s in large part a credit to the roster Donovan left behind in Gainesville. White thinks he has depth at every position that should be enough to help him rotate players and keep everyone fresh.
"I think we have solid depth at every position,” White said. “You wish you had more proven depth, experience depth at a few positions, but there's a bunch of parity. I'm not sure we're going to have to play four-guard lineups, but three-guard lineups we could. Whether you want to call them three-guard lineups or a point and two wings, you'd like to have three guys out there that can pass, dribble, shoot and make plays for others.”
RIMMER MAKING PLAYS
Schuyler Rimmer was a scholarship player at Stanford but gave that up to be a walk-on at Florida. He averaged 0.5 points and 0.7 rebounds with the Cardinal, which doesn’t look like much of an impact player. However, his performances in practice has the Florida staff believing he can help the Gators when he’s eligible at the conclusion of the 2015 fall semester.
In last week’s 24-minute scrimmage, Rimmer had eight points (4-6 FG), one rebound and two assists.
"Schuyler is very intelligent, very tough,” White said. “He's a really skilled big and a really good passing big. He's extended his range through spending hours in this gym. He'll definitely add depth and push John (Egbunu) every day. He's been good for the development of Kevarrius (Hayes), so that three-headed rotation at the five, I feel pretty good about it. Obviously, you wish they were all a couple years older and more experienced, but three very capable, talented guys, good guys that are working hard."