Category Archives: Gators, Gators…

“He’s whipping us into shape real quick.”

Florida, proving once again there’s no preseason happy talk like new S&C coach — and I gotta admit “Nick Savage” is a perfect name for an S&C coach — preseason happy talk.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., The Body Is A Temple

Florida is back, baby!

If by “back”, you mean reading something significant into what appears to have been a goofy spring game.

And there were big-time celebrations, from a game of “duck, duck, goose” to Franks punting a ball into the stands to Kenmore Gamble’s Scarface impression.

You can’t often take much schematically from spring games, which are at best a test of technique and football IQ. But you can learn about a culture, and Florida’s, toxic when Mullen arrived last November, is healing and laying a foundation for the future.

Look, I get the value in exorcising demons, but I don’t know how many games in October are won playing “duck, duck, goose” in the spring.

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Death, taxes and third-and-Grantham

Some things are unavoidable.

When reading over the descriptions of the Gators’ first spring scrimmage, something caught my eye. It probably caught your eye as well. Here’s one way Dan Mullen described the proceedings:

“Offense, there’s a lot of mistakes and you’re seeing three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out, 90-yard touchdown, three-and-out, three-and-out, 50-yard touchdown. That goes offensively and defensively, right there.”

If there’s nothing else you can say about Mr. Grantham, he’s certainly consistent.

Do I need to remind anyone about how well Georgia’s offense did on plays from scrimmage of twenty or more yards last season?  I didn’t think so.

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The Florida Way

I’m not offering this as an editorial comment in any way, but simply to point how other schools go about their financial business.

Florida is about to embark on an ambitious facility upgrade plan involving a new baseball and football facility estimated to cost around $130 million.  Here’s how the athletic department plans to pay for it:

For the entire $130 million project (an additional $4 million is needed for relocation of the maintenance department and infrastructure costs), Florida has already secured about $73 million in funding. Of that $73 million, $50 million will be bonded, in a measure approved by the Board of Trustees on Friday. That measure must still be approved by the Board of Governors at the end of June. Another $13 million has already been secured in philanthropic support, while $10 million comes from UAA investment earnings.

That leaves Florida needing to raise about $57 million more prior to breaking ground on the stand-alone football facility.

So, $50 million in borrowing, $13 million directly from donors and $10 million from reserve fund earnings.  Definitely different from Athens.

On the other hand, nobody on Mullen’s football staff has called Florida’s AD out for being cheap on the arms race front.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., It's Just Bidness

“Nobody wanted to come and play in The Swamp.”

I give Dan Mullen credit for realizing part of the formula for resurrecting the Florida program…

“You will not win an SEC or national championship if you lose home games. Not in this league. Not in this league. You’ve got to win your home games. And I expect us to win all of our home games, every single one,” Mullen said Wednesday night.

“But we cannot do it if you all aren’t there. … If you all show up and there’s not an empty seat in the stadium and the place is rocking, we’re going to win.”

Mullen has indicated he plans to take an active role in boosting the game-day experience. He’s said the Gators will honor the program’s long-standing traditions, but they also will create some new ones, which he has yet to specify.

He’s said the team will have a grand entrance, because he likes the pageantry of college football. But as much as anything he wants The Swamp to be intimidating again.

… and more credit for being willing to work hard to make it happen.

That’s why Mullen says he plans to talk to student groups on campus about boosting their commitment on Saturdays.

“Once spring practice starts, I’m going to try to go around to different student groups and organizations, go have lunch, go over to the fraternity houses and, more importantly, go to the sorority houses. Listen, if I want all the guys to show up, if I get the girls to show up — ‘Hey, all the sororities are going to the spring game.’ Well, then that answers the fraternity question,” Mullen joked Wednesday night.

“… Every one of the fans in our stadium are going to take the students’ lead. If the students are jumping up and down, having fun, going crazy, so is everybody else. If the students don’t, they’re not. So we’ve got to do a great job of cultivating and teaching the students how, one, we need them there and, two, how we need them to act during the course of the game.”

Mullen said he wants Saturdays in Gainesville to be some combination of a state fair, a Broadway show, a rock concert and a football game where there is something going on for everybody, and there is a buzz throughout the town for the Gators.

Honestly, I’d rather hear about this than some AD’s mindless vision for bringing better WiFi to the masses as a game day solution.  Although, this might be fun, too.

He joked that he once tried to research the most intimidating stadiums in the world and ended up reading about a soccer stadium in Turkey.

“They have like flares and they shoot flares at the other team on the field. There’s fire all around the stadium. The AD was like, ‘Nah, can’t do that. There’s no way the commissioner is going to sign off on our student body shooting fireworks at the other team.’

I’d love to hear a Sankey presser where he had to explain why he wouldn’t let the Gators do that.

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Embracing the fake juice

Please, Dan Mullen, please:  schedule a black out for the Cocktail Party.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Stylin'

Today, in fact checking

I rate that as 100% TRUE.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football