Florida Gators Thoughts of the Week: July 21 – July 27

We are in the last few weeks without Florida Gators football and while that is super exciting, right now, it is exceptionally boring. So get out; go travel; go hang-out with your family; go do that one thing you never have time for; do something – because fall is coming soon and your Saturday’s and Sunday’s will soon be occupied.


Friday Night Lights Recap

I think we can all agree that Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre are the best in the recruiting and beat writer business. I think it is obvious. I don’t think any two folks work harder to bring good, interesting content while not publishing annoying click-bait or ridiculous hypothesis – they are great and I am glad to call them friends. With that said, they did an outstanding job covering Friday Night Lights, along with Kassidy Hill.

I wanted to make a few quick points to augment their coverage.

  • Florida hasn’t seen this many good prospects at Friday Night Lights since 2009 when Mack Brown committed. Under the end of Urban Meyer’s tenure and certainly during Will Muschamp’s tenure, Friday Night Lights never was a huge focal recruiting point, which never made sense to me. As someone who served on the football recruiting staff at UF from 2006-2009, I saw FNL as an awesome opportunity to bring in recruits from all over the country for a night of hip-hop music, coaching from the best and brightest coaches, and having the opportunity to see talent compete against the best talent in the country on your campus – truly a perfect scenario. Under Muschamp, we saw the watering down of prospects, we saw overcrowding, we saw an offensive coordinator that would rather vacation in Alaska than be at the event, and we saw a coach that didn’t value Friday Night Lights and it hindered Florida. Obviously, new Head Coach Jim McElwain sees a huge value in Friday Night Lights and I agree.
  • Commitments at Friday Night Lights are huge for momentum. Prospects almost never commit randomly over the summer, so you have to give them a reason and Friday Night Lights is that opportunity. In Florida’s case, they have four new commitments that will now begin to recruit other members of the class and allow Florida’s name to be in the news for at least a few days.
  • Moreover, outside of 7-on-7 events which coaches are not allowed to attend, where else are coaches going to see top prospects compete against each other? Bringing in the best players is going to attract other players that may not otherwise come. Making FNL a big event allows for more talent to flow into Gainesville.
  • Splitting the event into two days was a genius idea. Having freshmen and sophomores compete on Thursday’s, allows the players you really need to focus on compete against similar players. In previous years, you had a sophomore cornerback competing against a senior wide receiver and you could bet the farm that the senior was going to win 98 out of 100 times.


Stupidity? Yes, but Let’s Relax

Over the last week, three Gators have been arrested. Two for “dine and dash” and one for driving without a license. While all three deserve the penalty, I am reading some Armageddon-type scenarios on the ole Internet. One, while yes “dining and dashing” is dumb and is theft, it was more likely a case of youthful invincibility rather than a growing case reckless abandon like I’ve read, and likely the only reason they were even arrested is because they were local “celebrities” and easy to identify them. They need to pay back the restaurant, do some community service, and run a bunch of sprints, but lets hold off on the idea that this team is now a bunch of criminals. I am not justifying their crime, I am trying to bring some level of homeostasis. Florida has been very clean for over two years now and its great to see, let’s not let a stupid decision blow out of proportion.

On a side note, and I won’t call them out, but I did notice many of the people raking these players over the coals are often the same ones that mention that Florida needs to recruit some rougher, but more talented players. They espouse the idea that in order to be good, you need to go after more players with questionable character and backgrounds.

Which leads to an interesting question (assume these two are exclusive of each other): would you rather have a team that loses, but has less arrests OR have a team that wins, but has more arrests?


Always Know Facts, Before Click-Bait

On Sunday, two separate websites posted a click-bait article, similar to the articles back in April about Jacob Guy, that Luke Del Rio was doing well in practice and was pushing for playing time. Of course, Del Rio, a walk-on, must sit out a year because he left Oregon State and has not been granted a playing waiver. So remember, always know your facts, and state them immediately not in the 10th paragraph, if you are going to click-bait the Internet to get cheap clicks and make ad money.


Redskins Starting to Look Like Gatorskins, Again

Back when Steve Spurrier left to coach the Washington Redskins, he picked up a ton of Florida Gators, like Danny Wuerffel, Chris Doering, Jacquez Green, Willie Jackson, and Taylor Jacobs, that all played around the same time together. It was fun to see, even though it failed.

Now, however, going into Redskins camp we see that Redskins will have Mack Brown, Matt Jones, Quinton Dunbar, and Jordan Reed in what looks a lot like the 2012 Florida Gators offense that ranked 104th in the country in total offense. Hopefully, they have more success as a combined unit in the NFL.

On a side note, look how many offensive players under Will Muschamp have made it to the NFL, despite the fact that he never had an offense ranked higher than 96th in the country.


Must Read Articles of the Week

Song of the Week

You all know I love Kip Moore as a musician. Here is a song that never went to the radio and was a bit hidden on his first album. I think you’ll like it.

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Daniel Thompson
Dan Thompson is a 2010 graduate of the University Florida, graduating with a degree in Economics and a degree in Political Science. During this time at UF, Dan worked three years for the Florida Gator Football team as a recruiting ambassador. Dan dealt daily with prospects, NCAA guidelines, and coaching staff. Dan was also involved in Florida Blue Key, Student Government and Greek Life. Currently, Dan oversees the IT consulting practice of a Tampa-based company. Dan enjoys golfing, country music, bourbon, travel, oysters, and a medium-rare steak. Dan can be found on Twitter at @DK_Thompson.


  1. A shout out to your weekly column Daniel. Thoughtful. Insightful. Unique enough to stand out from the crowd. Also appreciate the curation you do on articles. I make it a point to read at least one of them each week. I missed Franz when he left but you have filled that space nicely in the last year and put your own solid mark on this space. Nice job.

  2. Thanks, Daniel. I love your perspective on the FNL commitments and our most recent “embarrassments” from our three young men. Just curious to know how many of your readers have ever attempted a dine and dash, or sneaking into a movie theater? Driving without a license is not something I’ve ever had to chance (thank God), but even there, I can see how a teenager would think they might get away with that. Both examples are silly and irresponsible, but thankfully, did not involve bodily harm of another, premeditated theft of personal property, etc.

    In terms of recruiting, I really don’t understand why people are taking issue with our class thus far. it was rumored that the staff may take as many as 37 athletes in this class, and assuming we lose 2 or 3 current verbals along the way, that leaves plenty of room for all of the top names whose attention we seem to have garnered this cycle. Not to say that the kids we have signed who are not as highly rated will not be great Gators, but rather addressing some of the naysayers that bemoan the fact we haven’t already signed a handful of 5-star kids. This coaching staff is leaving no stone unturned, and is building quality depth where it is needed. And they are bringing on kids that will recruit with passion for the orange and blue non-stop until signing day.

    As anyone in business knows, it takes five positive experiences to outweigh one negative, and we have a lot of baggage from the past few seasons. The more we harp on what we perceive is not happening right now, it is just adding to the negatives to overcome. Building or re-building a brand takes time, but this staff is off to a marvelous start – much better than I could have imagined. Sure, things could go south (to some degree) if we lag again during the season, but I really see us showing improvement this year. We don’t need an Oregon offense on day one. We need consistency – the type that comes from good coaching and good chemistry. We have some talent (beating a dead horse, I know) that just needs to be put into a position to compete. Think about just a 25% increase in offense over last season’s abysmal performance and how that would help with scoring margin and keeping our defense from pulling “double duty”. It’s all about perspective. And I think we will do better than a plus 25%.

    Personally, I’m excited about what this staff has done so far and I’m excited about our new commits that really want to be Gators.