NCAA rules prevent coaches from discussing Everett Golson’s impending transfer, but several Southeastern Conference programs clearly have an interest in the former Notre Dame quarterback.
“He’s a perspective student-athlete, so I can’t really comment on that part,” first-year Florida coach Jim McElwain said Wednesday on a teleconference with SEC East division coaches.
But McElwain indicated that Florida, which reportedly had Golson in for a visit Tuesday, is always looking for ways to improve its roster.
“Obviously, (Golson) mentioning us is exciting, but at the same time we’re doing it at a lot of different spots,” McElwain said.
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Richt hinted that his current quarterback situation isn’t ideal.
“We’ve got guys who are capable of getting the job done,” Richt said. “We have three on scholarship. … I would feel better with four or five quite frankly, just as a normal practice.”
Alabama also reportedly has some interest in Golson, but his home-state school, South Carolina, apparently isn’t pursuing Golson, who will be immediate eligible as a graduate-student transfer.
However, it might be difficult for any SEC to put Golson on scholarship, because he would likely need a waiver from the commissioner’s office after missing the 2013 season for academic reasons based on the conference’s bylaws.
It might be a moot point as Florida State — which is negotiating with Golson, according to coach Jimbo Fischer — is considered the frontrunner to land the coveted QB.
Here are some other points of interest from Wednesday’s teleconference:
MISSOURI — Left tackle has become a revolving door for Missouri, but not in a negative way.
Justin Britt, who was the Tigers’ starter there in 2013, and Mitch Morse, who replaced Britt last season, have been largely spectacular.
“That position has had two second-round draft picks the last two years,” Pinkel said. “Obviously, it’s very, very important.”
Britt was chosen by the Seahawks No. 64 overall and started all 16 games at right tackle as a rookie, while the Chiefs chose Morse with the No. 49 overall pick earlier this month.
For Missouri, it’s shaping up to be Connor McGovern’s turn to anchor the pass protection at left tackle.
“He would do a very good job there, but we just have to let all the stuff unfold when we get into August,” Pinkel said.
McGovern, who primarily has played at right guard the last two seasons, missed half of spring camp with a sprained right medial collateral ligament.
He said early in camp that he’d prefer to remain at right tackle, which could be a possibility if another player proves capable of following in Britt’s and Morse’s shoes.
“We’ve got some other people who are going to have an opportunity to play there also,” Pinkel said. “We’ve got several guys who played a lot a year ago and we have them back depth-wise, but we also have a junior college player or two that are going to compete in there also.”
FLORIDA — Former Alabama offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Jim McElwain returns to the SEC as Florida’s head coach, but he’s got some work to make the Gators relevant again.
“Our guys did a heck of a job adapting to what we asked them to in spring practice,” McElwain said. “Obviously, we’ve got a long way to go, but they’ve really accepted the challenge and have done a really good job.”
McElwain said the drive to create leadership will be critical during the summer, but solving the Gators’ offensive line issues also are paramount.
“The fact that I actually started to suit up and put a 70s number on should tell you something,” McElwain said. “Believe me, I’d have gotten my tail beat, but we had some guys that came out there. We kind of put an all-call out. We had a pizza delivery guy, a bartender and one heck of an engineering student that came out and helped us get through spring practice.”
GEORGIA — Perhaps no team in the SEC, or even the country, has been decimated more by injuries than Georgia in the last few seasons.
Whether it was Aaron Murray and a host of wide receivers in 2013 or Todd Gurley last season, the Bulldogs have had a rotten run of luck.
So, from that standpoint, the spring treated Richt’s squad very well.
“The best news is there were no injuries that were serious,” Richt said. “There were some hamstrings and things of that nature, some nicks and bruises.”
But Richt said he doesn’t think any Bulldogs player with have workout restrictions by June 1, a rarity in college football.
KENTUCKY — Mark Stoops continues to build the Wildcats’ football program, but that description has been a bit on-the-nose during the offseason.
“Our stadium is under construction right now and on target to be ready for the home opener, so we’re excited about that,” Stoops said.
On the field, the building will continue behind quarterback Patrick Towles, who gives Kentucky a veteran quarterback for once.
“That means an awful lot to us,” Stoops said. “Patrick playing an awful lot of games, he’s still in competition with Drew Barker, but it is nice to have a guy with an awful lot of experience.”
Towles’ leadership and comfort with the Wildcats’ offense also is building.
SOUTH CAROLINA — Coach Steve Spurrier wants to upgrade the Gamecocks’ defense, which allowed more than 30 points, 432 total yards and 212 rushing yards last season.
“If you watched us play last year, we really struggled on defense,” Spurrier said. “In fact, we gave up more yards and more points than any South Carolina team ever … so we had to make some changes.”
The big change was adding former Missouri defensive backs coach Jon Hoke, who was in Columbia from 1994-98, as co-defensive coordinator,
Hoke, who will work with fellow co-defensive coordinator with Lorenzo Ward, will coordinate the secondary and make the defensive calls during games, Spurrier said.
“Through spring practice, we seemed to get lined up better,” Spurrier said. “We seemed just a little bit more organized, where all the guys know what to do, and we think we’re going to play a lot better on defense.”
TENNESSEE — Hype is swirling around the Volunteers, who’ve steadily improved under coach Butch Jones and have reeled in some of the nation’s top recruiting classes in recent years.
Many observers believe Tennessee, which went 5-7 in Jones’ first season and 7-6 last year, is poised for a breakout season and that hasn’t gone unnoticed in Knoxville.
“We’ve talked about having a mission focus about us as a football team,” Jones said. “When you come to the University of Tennessee, you expect those expectations, you expect those high standards. But we have to focus on what we can control, and that’s becoming a better football team minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day.”
At the same time, the Volunteers, who had 13 players miss spring football and another three players go down during practices, are trying to tune out such distractions.
“It’s made them work harder,” Jones said. “We always talk about praise and blame, it’s all the same. … We also understand that we have a long, long way to go in the development of our program.”
VANDERBILT — Coach Derek Mason took an unusual step when he announced in January that he would call the defensive plays for the Commodores next season.
“As I look at, there’s several offensive head coaches across the country calling plays and I believe there’s an opportunity for a defensive coach to do it as well,” Mason said.
Vanderbilt allowed an SEC-worst 50 touchdowns and 33.3 points per game last season.
“Our defense made amazing strides this spring,” Mason said. “Same system, but a better opportunity for us to understand what my thought process is. I thought our guys performed well during the spring. I thought we were a more cohesive unit and communicated better.”
He worked out a structure for juggling his duties as head coach and defensive coordinator during spring practice.
“This spring was a great test run for us,” he said. “We were able to practice in the morning and get our business done in the afternoon. It worked extremely well — so well that we’re going to take it into the fall.”