Everyone hears and knows that it’s a new era of Florida Gators football with Jim McElwain the Gators head coach, but for the first time on Friday, I finally got to see what the new era was all about.
We’ve all heard the talk about how different the energy was around the football facility and the team and I saw that first hand on Friday night and it was electric and blew me away.
First off, every member of the Gators football staff was out at the Lacrosse field and track field watching prospects participate in camp, and while that wasn’t different for them to be out there, it was different to see them so engaged and concentrating on what was going on out there.
It first started off that not only did the football staff let the media stand on the sidelines and watch up close, but they also let the parents and family members that were with the kids on the sidelines as well.
I know some may see this is a petty but it truly is something so small that made a big difference for not only me but also the parents because we did not have to sit in metal bleachers 50 yards away from the action.
I mention that part to get me to my next point, which was the energy that we got to see up close and personal. The coaches made sure to introduce themselves to everyone that walked on that field on Friday night. That means someone as unimportant as myself to a water boy for a high school team that was on campus with his team.
Some may say well that is only common curiosity to introduce yourself to someone but the last staff wouldn’t have batted an eye at myself, or anyone else for that matter, on the field and especially in the middle of a camp.
Make no mistake, the coaches weren’t just about being friendly on Friday night and that brings me to make my next point.
There were 12 teams competing on six different fields and the Gators had at least one — if not more — football coaches watching each game and taking notes. There were some teams that had no prospects on their team to watch but the coaching staff still made sure to make them feel wanted and loved by having a coach with a Gators logo watching that field.
The energy of this staff carried over during the games and between games when the staff members were spread out chatting up different players and coaches and just making small talk. The small talk was simply about a good play that was made or something as simple as “good game”, but for some 16-18 year old kids that meant a lot to hear McElwain speak to him, because they will probably never get on the field at Florida.
I could go on and on about how the staff treated everyone on Friday but I think I have made my point on that topic. Something else that stood out to me was how close the staff were to each other.
We all know how disconnected the last staff was as a unit, but that is definitely not the case with this staff. You would see multiple coaches laughing and taking notes with each other like they had been friends for 10 years.
To me, that I might be the biggest thing that I took away from the night; how close those guys are and how they have each other’s back, whether it’s in a game or even something as simple as taking notes on a prospect.
Maybe the best part of the night was seeing the guys react to when two prospects committed to Florida after camp was over that night. Everyone knows that the bat signal of “#chompchomp” that goes out on Twitter when the Gators pick up a commitment, but for me is was a lot of fun to see how excited and jacked up the coaches got when they were able to tweet it out and tell the rest of the staff.
At one point, when defensive back Aaron Robinson committed to Florida, defensive coordinator Geoff Collins started running around saying did everyone see the “chompchomp” tweet? That was followed by a lot of high fives between the coaches and staff members and a lot of laughs.
To me this is what football is all about and that is loving the game. You get to coach everyday and showing how much fun you have and that is the case with the Florida Gators coaching staff.
In ending I’m going to say that the future is bright with these guys coaching your team.