A tired Rayshad Jackson stood surrounded by a sea of reporters Tuesday night following Florida football’s night at the Indoor Practice Facility.
It’s the Gators’ bye week. A game against the No. 8 Georgia Bulldogs looms on Oct. 27. Florida will have two weeks to get ready for one of its toughest matchups of the season.
The first question Jackson fielded was if the Gators had started preparing for the game.
“No,” he said. “We’re just prepping for the young guys to get their reps in, so in the future they can be their absolute best when they’re on the field.”
He went on to explain that by giving the younger players more reps in practice, the starters can use this this week to unwind and refresh from a grueling seven-game stretch to open the season.
Jackson said the somewhat laid-back approach to practice this week allows the veteran players more time to rest.
“The early mornings, we usually come in around 8:15,” he said. “Now this whole week we’re not coming in at 8:15, so we get enough sleep.”
Defensive end Elijah Conliffe echoed Jackson’s statement. He said he is using the bye week to work on his techniques and start watching some film on Georgia.
“I think it’s... getting more stouter inside,” Conliffe said. “Working on, you know, keeping our gaps, tearing our blocks, stuff like that.”
Even quarterback Feleipe Franks is using the week to get back into form. He said the team went back to the basics of its offense so some of the younger guys can better learn it and try to earn more playing time.
He also said by going back to the fundamentals, it gives him the chance to recover from the soreness the first seven games of the season can bring.
“I’m not feeling awesome, but that’s why we play,” Franks said. “That’s why we get the bye week for a bunch of guys to get their body back right.”
As for this Saturday, the Gators will not play, obviously. Some of the guys on the team will not let that opportunity go to waste.
Cornerback C.J. Henderson might use this Saturday to watch a former high school teammate, Trajan Bandy, play at Miami against Boston College.
Conliffe has other plans.
“I’ll probably watch (Alabama-Tennessee),” he said. “If not, I’ll be playing ‘Call of Duty.’ One or the other.”
Follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linebacker Rayshad Jackson (44) said the Gators are using their bye week to get younger players more experience for in-game situations. "Now this whole week, we're not coming in at 8:15, so we get enough sleep," he said.