All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts”-William Shakespeare
It was Senior Day in the Swamp as 24 young men took a final bow on their college stage. Head coach Will Muschamp joined them for a curtain call worthy of a rousing ovation. After a 52-3 rout of Eastern Kentucky, the Florida Gators earned themselves a spot in the postseason and did so behind play from guys across the board.
While the focus of the day was deservedly on the seniors, many significant minutes were played by those of a younger generation.
Based on the participation report (pictured below), there were 47 guys that played in this game that are not seniors. Of those, 30 of them are underclassmen, meaning: freshman, redshirt freshman, sophomore or redshirt sophomore.
In other words, the future.
While there’s certainly a case to be made that this week in most SEC teams schedule is always an easy win against a FCS opponent so it made sense for everyone to get a chance to play, we’ve seen over the past two years that no win is easy with this team. Remember this week last year? A gaggle of seniors were walking off the field for the next to last time after having been embarrassed by Georgia Southern.
This past Saturday however, it was the same stage but a different show with a lot of extra characters.
Sophomore Demarcus Robinson had two touchdown catches, marking his second career two-score game. This brings his 2014 current total to seven, which is the most by a Gator in a season since Riley Cooper in 2009. That seems like a lifetime ago at this point. He also had his fourth career 100 yard game, and has 703 for the season, the most by a Gator receiver since a young man by the name of Percy Harvin in 2007. Mercy.
Sophomore running back Kelvin Taylor racked up his sixth touchdown of the season.
In the second quarter, redshirt freshman Caleb Brantley forced a fumble that was recovered by freshman defensive lineman Gerald Willis.
Freshman defensive backs Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson continued to become a force to be reckoned with, totaling five tackles between them and many more headaches for the offense. (They don’t put headaches on stat sheets).
And freshman quarterback Treon Harris threw his third 70+ yard touchdown pass of his limited season.
Those on the sideline had a front row view, including redshirt sophomore linebacker Alex McCalister.
“It was great. I almost got hurt jumping up and down cheering for Jordan Sherit when he almost got that forced fumble and seeing G-Willis (Gerald Willis), all the young guys going out there just doing their thing, it’s a bright future.”
That bright future will be a welcome sight to whomever replaces Muschamp as the new head coach. Muschamp knows that and reminded his team of it on Thursday before the game before giving them the chance to bulk up their resume on Saturday.
“Champ was like listen, the new coach is going to come in, he’s going to watch these last couple of games,” McCalister explained. “So you basically doing a resume for your next coach.”
Those seniors that won’t be around though were treated to one last win at home by those that they are leaving the program too.
“Andre Debose been here forever,” McCalister laughed. “Of course I want him to have a win in the Swamp for his last time.”
And with that, those 24 seniors exit state right, a win carrying them out on waves of applause. The lights will dim for a season, before rising again on the same stage with a new cast ready to put on a show.