ESPN’s Inside the Program: Live with the Gators

By Adam Silverstein
August 8, 2011

*NOTE: Videos below are on “autoplay” so pause each to play one at a time.

On Monday, ESPN took a special look inside the Florida Gators football program with complete coverage on their television shows, radio station and website. OGGOA is following the coverage step-by-step throughout the day. Stay tuned.

Interview on Mike and Mike in the Morning:

Though ESPN‘s All-Access piece did not technically begin until 9 a.m., head coach Will Muschamp did a little promotional work in the morning by jumping on the radio (listen here) at 7:20 a.m. Asked by the hosts about redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley, Muschamp once again reiterated his confidence. “I don’t have a whole lot of concern,” he said. “The first two days he has been really on. I think he is much more comfortable in what we’re asking him to do maybe as opposed to last year.”

Jesse Palmer says “good morning” to the team:

Opening up SportsCenter at 9 a.m. was a video of Palmer in the hallway of Florida’s team hotel at 7:30 a.m. in the morning. He proceeded to introduce the Inside the Program feature before blowing an air horn and subsequently waking up the team.

View this post in its entirety by clicking the link below.

Blog entries: ESPN blogger Chris Low caught up with Muschamp in the morning before the show began and was able to pull a few tidbits:

» Florida will be under center up to 70 percent more than a year ago.
» Muschamp gets into the office between 5-5:30 a.m. to get most of his work done and has spent a night or two on the office couch.
» A hydration chart is stationed throughout the facility remaining players to keep drinking fluids. Gauge your sweat – Always drink Gatorade and water – Track your water consumption – Observe your urine color – Remember to carry your water bottle.
» Pictures of Muschamp’s office and the players grabbing breakfast.

Live look-in on the quarterbacks meeting:

At 9:10 a.m., Palmer stood outside the quarterback meeting room and opened the door to get a peek at what offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was teaching Brantley, redshirt freshman Tyler Murphy and freshmen Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett. After Weis’s quick lesson, he told Palmer that one of the biggest errors you can make in coaching is asking your players to do things they are not capable of doing.

Live look-in on the special teams meeting:

At 9:30 a.m., Palmer checked in on the special teams meeting led by coordinator D.J. Durkin. He was speaking to dozens of players and discussed both blocking techniques and leverage on a projection screen while reviewing special teams plays.

Palmer sits down with Muschamp:

In a taped interview that was filmed during breakfast, Palmer asked Muschamp why he decided to do split-squad practices. The coach responded that it was a difference between players getting reps in groups of 10 or four, meaning they get more time to practice during NCAA-mandated one-a-days. He also said the team is concentrating on pad level and hand placement up front. Asked about the hot temperatures in Gainesville, Muschamp added that they “try to stay away from the heat index as much as possible” and do two hydration sessions between practices.

Palmer interviewed during lunch:

Doing a spot on ESPN2 from the Gators’ lunch room, Palmer was interviewed on First Take and joked that being back in Gainesville has him wanting to put the pads on again…but feeling how hot it is outside makes him glad he’s not a player anymore.

Palmer believes that Brantley has a great opportunity to succeed in 2011. “I think John Brantley has really found a fresh start,” he said. “When you’re around him, you can see he’s got his confidence back. He’s got a lot more swagger.” He added that Brantley’s teammates really want him to succeed, according to Muschamp. “He has teammates and players coming into his office telling him, ‘Look, we want to send John Brantley out the right way his senior season.’”

He went on say that if Florida can find a way to win eight games, that would be a “tremendous season” for the team’s first year under Muschamp.

Blog entries: ESPN blogger Chris Low stuck around the team throughout the day, speaking to players and digging a little deeper:

» Junior left tackle Xavier Nixon supported running backs senior Jeff Demps and redshirt senior Chris Rainey’s ability to run the ball effectively. “They may not be 200 pounds, but you’ve got to catch them before you can hit them,” he said.
» Low determined that redshirt freshman guard Ian Silberman is the biggest eater on the squad. “I remember one time we ate at a Chinese buffet, and about 30 minutes after that, before he came over to my apartment, he grabbed a couple of Big Macs,” redshirt sophomore G Jon Halapio told Low.
» Redshirt sophomore linebacker Jelani Jenkins explained that he is excited to rush the passer. “They’re going to give us a lot of chances to blitz, but we’re also going to disguise,” he said. “We have a lot of talent, and we’re going to use that athletic ability. We play fast, and we have a lot of fast play-calls. That’s the way coach Muschamp wants to play, the way coach Quinn wants to play, and it’s the way we want to play.”
» Pics of players listening to Durkin, and Weis meeting with quarterbacks.

Palmer interviews Weis during lunch:

At 11:45 a.m., Palmer sat down with Weis for a one-on-one interview about the Gators’ offense. Weis said that, when evaluating Brantley, he is comparing him more to his most successful college quarterback rather than someone like New England’s Tom Brady.

“I’m looking at John more like Brady Quinn because when I got Brady, he had already been in school for a couple years and he had to go from one system to another system,” he said. “Brady was able to adapt to that system very quickly and was able to have a banner couple of years for us by being able to translate that very quickly. I think John has the ability to do that, and that’s what we’re counting on.”

Asked how good the offense could be in year one, Weis was optimistic based on the team’s speed. “I have way more speed than I’ve ever had before,” he said, “but you’re going against those defenses in the SEC that have way more speed, too.” He added, “it’s nice that you have guys who can run like that. It gives you opportunities to really threaten a defense in a different way.”

Staff meeting with the coaches:

At 12:15 p.m., Palmer stepped into the meeting room where Muschamp was breaking down how the team’s afternoon practice would be conducted. After being interrupted, Muschamp explained the main reason the meetings were important before going out on the field. “Just more than anything begin very organized,” he said. “We want to run to every drill and know where we’re going.”

Palmer interviews Brantley live:

At 12:45 p.m., Palmer was live in Florida players’ lounge interviewing Brantley. Asked how it feels to have the support of his teammates and coaches, the player was noticeably happy. “It definitely helps out. As long as my teammates and coaches back me, that’s all I need,” he said. “I’m just going to go out there and try to be successful each day for Florida.” Brantley also touched on what it was like to have Weis as his coordinator. “He likes to run the ball a lot,” he said. “We got great running backs to do that. That will open up the passing game a lot. I try not to run the ball at all.”

Live look-in on the pass rush meeting:

At 1:45 p.m., Palmer stepped inside defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s meeting room to watch the defensive line specialist talk to his pass rushers about gaining leverage. Quinn said the “most important thing is to grab grass” and spoke to the players about avoiding getting punched inside by either slipping away or chopping it down.

Blog entries: ESPN blogger Chris Low stuck around the team throughout the day, speaking to players and digging a little deeper:

» The new players’ lounge, which opened Friday, features recliners, a Gator head pool table, 65” projection screen television, four other flat screens and some computers as well.
» Former Florida tackle Mo Collins and former Gators quarterback Shane Matthews both attended practice today.
» Pictures of the players eating lunch, Muschamp meeting with his coaches before practice, Muschamp talking to his coaches and Quinn discussing the intricacies of pass rushing.

Palmer on the Scott Van Pelt Show:

The former Florida quarterback discusses (listen here) his return to Gainesville, Brantley, Muschamp, Weis and the Gators’ outlook for 2011.

Live look-in at team drills on practice field:

Just after College Football Live began at 3:30 p.m., the studio threw it to Palmer who was on Florida’s practice field watching some 11-on-11 drills in pads. Redshirt freshman running back Mack Brown fumbled the ball, causing Muschamp go get quite heated. “You secure the ball, 33!” he yelled. “Hold on to the ball or you won’t play!” Prior to that, redshirt sophomore guard Jon Halapio, as part of a video package, said Muschamp was “crazy” (in a good way). He looked very hands-on with the defensive players and took time to explain assignments in between moments of intensity.

Palmer added later that the heat index was 122, he had sweated through his shirt standing there, and a player vomited on the field while he was watching.

Palmer sits down with Muschamp (again):

To conclude ESPN‘s “unprecedented” All-Access look Inside the Program with the Gators, Muschamp conducted a second interview with Palmer that aired at 6:15 p.m. on the evening edition of SportsCenter.

Muschamp said that the team struggled a bit Monday as they were sloppy with the ball, played with a high pad level and the linemen did not do so well with their hand placement. Nevertheless, he added that the goal is to “continue to get better every day. You either continue to get better or you get worse.” Asked by Palmer about his expectations for year one, Muschamp reiterated that the team can go far if they all work together. “We have good players and a great staff,” he said. “Let’s oversimplify things if we have to.”

Blog entries: ESPN blogger Chris Low stuck around the team throughout the day, speaking to players and digging a little deeper:

» Senior running back Jeff Demps commented on Muschamp’s personality and how the team feels about him. “He’s always right there with us, whether we’re in here eating or in the huddle out on the field,” he said. “He’s definitely not one of those coaches who stands back and lets his assistants do the coaching.”
» Pictures of the Brantley winding up and Muschamp yelling at practice.

Final update: 7:30 p.m.


  1. sjkoepp says:

    Thanks for all of this Adam. Saving my life here at work.

  2. Daniel M. says:

    Driskel is a large guy.

  3. Mr2Bits says:

    That first video where Charlie spells it out how the QB is an extension of the staff, if they cannot execute the plays properly, then they have to be thrown out and try something different is a philosophy I wish we had last year that’s for sure. Man does he know his stuff and love working with these “students”. Cant wait!

    • gator says:

      We did it turned into a three headed monster at q.b.,which turned us into a national laughingstock.

    • DRU2012 says:

      He’s talking about adapting the scheme to the players, NOT stubbornly and inflexibly adhering to “our system” regardless of your personnel and/or defenses’ ongoing efforts being adapted to beat it (THAT’S what we saw last year)–and if you listen to the actual details Weis discusses, the general tactics employed to implement their strategies, it is clear how sharp and detail-oriented he is. That seems a wide spread approach throughout the coaching staff, from the Head Coach on down. All the more encouraging is WEIS’ own stressing the importance of “not giving the players more than they are ready to absorb and carry” at any point in the process of learning and preparation.
      (BTW, Mr2Bits, looking forward to you rejoining us at the “Envy” as we get closer to first-Sat.-in-September…Man, it’s been a long, hot, oh-so-sloooow summer!)

  4. GatorNsc says:

    i might have missed this at some point….will Weis be on the field or in a booth????

  5. npgator says:

    Weis was a great get for Muschamp – there is no doubt!

  6. Daniel M. says:

    Two things, I see a permanent tower AND a scissor lift on the practice field. .

    For some strange reason when I come to this page all the video clips launch. I get four different audio tracks going at once. Am I the only one it’s happening to?

  7. sjkoepp says:

    Yeah the videos are a pain. Muschamp pretty much is as advertised. The man is intense.

  8. John S says:

    Thanks Adam, that’s a tremendous amount of access, and thank you ESPN for the free recruiting advertisement. Oddly we seem older this year, maybe the attitudes. I’m a little worried that we’re planning to be a running team with our line.

    I keep fighting it given the circumstances, but I’m getting really excited about this season.

    • Mr2Bits says:

      LSU, MissSt, Bama, Arkansas and Auburn sure did ok last year with a power running game in the SEC, I am the least bit unconcerned if that’s what we change it up to so long as it’s not dive plays with Demps on every 3rd play!

  9. Will says:

    Driskel must be on the Tim Tebow freshman diet and workout plan. Any chance we see him a la TT’s freshman year?

  10. Gatorgrad79 says:

    LOVE IT!! Coaches saying , “Hold on to the ball, or YOU WON’T PLAY”, and also “Gotta LOVE CONTACT…”, and “Get him outta the drill”, when a player doesn’t give it 100% effort.
    Time for the Gators to man up and play bust heads football!!

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