Gators Prepare for Weekend Scrimmage

Three days have passed since coach Billy Donovan last spoke to the media and expressed concern about the team's consistency in practice. Sophomores Marreese Speights, Jonathan Mitchell and Dan Werner were singled out for their lack of reliability. On Thursday, Donovan still hadn't see any progression.

"I still think that we're up and down," Donovan said. "I don't think that really much of it's changed. I thought Marreese and Jonathan and Dan did better but then we had some younger guys who weren't so great. When you're dealing with younger guys there's going to be that inconsistency, so to speak, every day. We're going to have to find a consistent group probably from game to game."

The weekend should should shed some light on how the team will play in the upcoming season when they hold a full scrimmage on Sunday. Donovan is looking forward to seeing how his players react to the change of conditions and pace.

"It's good for those guys to play," Donovan said. "It will be the first time we get a chance to do that. There will be officials so it'll be a little bit different. We're probably not doing a good enough job in practice right now calling fouls and it's probably too aggressive. We'd rather pull them back a little bit with their aggressiveness rather than try to go the other way. But just to see them in a live setting where they've got to run offense, they've got to play defense, they're going to have to press, play zone, there's going to be a lot of different things."

With only nine scholarship players and new walk-ons, the team figures to be limited in their ability to play a full intrasquad game. Donovan also talked about how the team's chemistry is developing and how he expects leaders to emerge within the new team.

"I think leadership always has a lot more to do with what goes on off the court then what goes on maybe on the court. I think each guy is different, has different abilities and talents on the court. But really I think it's what comes out of your mouth, it's what your intent is when you talk, it's are you unselfish, putting other guys first. I think it's probably hard for a guy on a team that's your best player, but in the locker room is talking about himself and scoring and talking about things that maybe are not impacting winning. I think the respect level can come from any level of guys, regardless of class. You could have a freshman lead, you could have a sophomore or a junior. It doesn't really make a difference. I think it's a respect factor."

Leadership will also be established through the team's ability to communicate and play with one another. And following in the footsteps of past Gators teams will go a long way in that regard.

"I think it's really a unique situation because I think they admire and respect the unselfishness in the guys from 2006 and 2007," Donovan said. "But the biggest hurdle for them right now is the consistency of playing one another. You see unselfishness but you see a guys come down the floor and one guy's got a great shot but they don't necessarily make the right play. They're looking to give the ball up but it's not quite the best play. And that's going to be part of it because they're going to have to go through a process of learning to play with one another. But I don't see anybody out there trying to be selfish or trying to score. I see a group of guys that are trying to do what we're asking them to do and they're trying to be unselfish but they don't have that court chemistry yet where they're complementing each other right now."

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Blake Bonsack


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