Corey Bell walked into the indoor practice facility after practice on Monday and did not mince any words-that afternoon's practice did not live up to his expectations,
“Just that my standards are higher than most, that's all," said Florida's defensive back coach. I expected more than I (saw) today. We'll get it right."
Although Bell was not pleased after the Gators' 13th practice this spring, he quickly added that his secondary group has improved the last few weeks and have put in a lot of effort.
“The guys have been working hard," he said. "In particular, you take a guy like Marcell [Harris] that has done a great job of communicating and making plays. Chauncey [Gardner] has adjusted well to the new position. So I’m excited by those guys.
“They’ve come a long way from practice one to now," Bell added about his group. "Just believing in their training and trusting in their training, doing the things we’re asking them to do. It started with those things, learning new skills, communicating and understanding how to put themselves in the best position to be successful. That’s starts pre-snap, having an awareness. It’s important.”
The secondary group has lost a few leaders in the offseason with both Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson declaring for the draft, but according to Bell, he has seen several step up to provide the depth needed.
“Right now, Putu is a guy that is coming along. The same thing with C.J. Williams, even though he is limited. But the things we’ve been doing with him he’s progressing at a high level, so we’re excited about those guys, as well.”
With a group of highly talented defensive backs coming in this summer, this group understands spring is a time to impress for playing time.
"There’s always going to be competition and that only can make you better and make you stronger as an individual. Those guys should want that and embrace that. Same way with the guys coming in. They know there’s some guys here that have some experience, so they’re just looking forward to the opportunity.”
At the end of the day, the secondary understands each time they step on the field the need to prove their standing as 'DBU'.
"They understand the tradition. No doubt. Each and every individual, it’s about being the best you can be each and every single day. That’s all we can ask. That’s all I can ask as a position coach. Is Marcell being the best that he can be each and every single day? Same thing with Duke and Chauncey and the rest of those guys. Once they do that, all those things will work itself out. They understand, no doubt. We don’t have to continue to remind them. They want to be great, is what I’m saying. They want to be great. They’re all in with that.”
Odds and Ends
Chauncey Gardner moving to CB?
“I mean, if need be, yeah. We just got to build depth. We just got to build depth. But he’s done a tremendous job from Day 1 ‘til now making the transition. He keeps getting better each and every day so just moving forward he’s a guy that brings great snap value. He can go inside or out, if he continues to do that it makes us a better football team.”
Bell added, “with Chauncey, as long as he’s on the field we’re a better football team, whether that is safety or corner. As long as he is on the field we’re in a good situation.”
“You look at Marcell with his tackling, his communication, he’s doing a great job of that. That’s one thing in the past he’s just been a hitter, so to speak. Now, he’s a great tackler as well. He’s work on that a lot this spring and now it’s coming to fruition in terms of that. He’s doing a good job of tackling. Not only being a great hitter, but he’s tackled well.”
Other than Marcell, anyone else developing as a communicator?
“Nick Washington has done a great job back there making sure the guys are all in the right place initially, pre-snap. All those guys are doing what I’ve asked of them in terms of communicating and knowing what we’re trying to get done on the back end.”