It was a tumultuous week in Gainesville but thankfully the weekend is upon us. Even more encouraging is the thought that opening kick off is only 7 days away. Gameday cannot get here fast enough for Florida fans. This week had its fair share of movement and drama for the Florida faithful. All practices have been closed to the media since the beginning of fall camp. So any and all the information coming out of Gainesville is delivered during the official team press conferences. When those aren’t held, rumours spread like wildfire.
On Wednesday a rumour hit the Internet message boards of several college football sites. The word was that freshmen Dominique Easley and Ronald Powell (both 5 star D-line recruits) had had enough of the grueling camp (many senior players have said this was the most demanding camp in their time at Florida) and had cleared their lockers and were gone AWOL. It wouldn’t have been the first freshmen to cut their losses and leave the program this fall. Freshmen Jordan Haden(S) and Adrian Coxson(WR) decided to leave the team earlier this month, citing homesickness and perhaps as a result of the challenging depth chart ahead of them. The rumours about the Easley and Powell proved to be false as Coach Meyer assured Title Town that both players remained with the team, they never brought up the “T word” (transfer) and the everything was, quote, ”all good” with the team. He went on to admit that there were internal matters, but those were being dealt with internally, obviously. Meyer is not a fan of the media by any stretch of the imagination so I don’t expect we will hear any more of the issue. This mess will be cleaned in-house.
It seems as though the hiccup might have something to do with the incessant talk by the media about the highly rated freshmen class and the upperclassmen making sure they know their role within the system. It was even reported that senior leader Mike Pouncey came to blows with Powell during Tuesday’s practice and in an interview on Tuesday, when asked about the play of the freshmen Mike said “the freshmen need to shut their mouths and play”. I don’t expect this to derail the Gators one bit. In fact I think its normal that the senior group would need to give the freshmen a wake up call about the reality of college football. Competition is fierce at Florida, the difference from high school football is like night and day. For now the players must fight each other and endure the frustration of a painful camp imposed by Meyer, but come next Saturday they will all be on the same side fighting against the enemy. In the long run, this whole incident will make the team stronger and more united. Supposing Powell and Pouncey did come to blows, that’s certainly not a rarity in competitive college football and I blame neither for standing their ground. Its pretty normal to have some scraps, this is football after all.
Injuries have taken their toll on the offense. Matt Patchan and Xavier Nixon (both LT) will miss the opening game. The former is dealing with a wrist issue and Nixon had his knee scoped. This has resulted in a shuffling of the offensive line and it is unclear at this time who the starting 5 will be. It is not known when either will be back but their absence is not expected to be prolonged. Starting TE Jordan Reed has a deep knee bruise that could put him on the shelve a little longer though. In his absence, WR Omarius Hines has been taking the reps at TE and so has freshman QB Trey Burton. Both Hines and Burton have been moved around several positions. Burton will in all likelihood be used as a wildcat QB, H back / TE. Hines will work as a receiver and also TE/H back. He is in line to assume the role played by Aaron Hernande last year. I expect him to be great in that role.
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Written by The Gator Great