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THE INSIDER AUTHORITY ON GATOR SPORTS

Gator Country
Intern Mailbag

Written by Richard Johnson, July 21, 2013, 2 Comments,
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I’m new to the GC team, so I thought I’d field some mailbag questions to try to get better acquainted with you, the readers. Here’s what I got:

Q: What is your background? What brought you to Gator Country, where were you at previously, etc. 

I’m a Gainesville kid, born bred and humidity fed. I graduated from Buchholz high school (2011) and spent one semester at Santa Fe College before starting at the University of Florida in the spring of 2012. Sports have always been my passion, I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else with my life than being involved with it in some way. Last summer I began my “career” in sports media when I started volunteering at WRUF. Radio is my first love, and something I still actively participate in. Last fall, I began writing for Gamedayr.com and was on with them through the end of basketball season doing most of the game recaps for them. After some freelance work for the good folks at AlligatorArmy.com GC’s own Nicole Boyett –a friend from high school– asked me in May if I was committed anywhere for this upcoming fall. I told her no, and within a week I was on a conference call with Andrew and Nick. As they say, the rest is history.

Q: Where did you think the Gators will see the biggest improvement this season?

Biggest improvement in my opinion will be in the wide receiving corps. I think it has to be in that group primarily because it can’t get much worse than it was last year. 383 yards and 36 receptions made you Florida’s leading wide receiver last year. Guys that can’t run routes well and get open stunted the development of Jeff Driskel and they’ll have to get better to aid Driskel in taking the next step in his talent progression in year two.

For me, Demarcus Robinson is a guy you always hear the players talk about. He showed up to campus in January which is huge, because he’ll be comfortable with the route tree and playbook and have at least a bit of a rapport with Driskel when fall camp begins.

The level of competition at the position will breed success, five wide receivers are injected into Florida’s roster from the 2013 recruiting class and three of them are 6’2’’ or taller –including Robinson. Big targets that are ready to play will push to see the field, worst case scenario, they make the likes of Quinton Dunbar and Andre Debose get in gear.

Q: Biggest fall?

Florida’s biggest talent drop off will be at kicker. UF lost the automatic thigh cannon that was Caleb Sturgis, who hit 24-28 field goals last season. Sturgis bailed Florida out after many a drive stalled and had five three field goal games. Will Muschamp said last week that the situation at kicker is something that “keeps him up at night” and you saw why if you were at the spring game. Austin Harden and Brad Phillips struggled in attempting to fill in. Hardin will probably win the job, but I doubt he’ll get anywhere near the output of Sturgis this season. If Florida’s offense doesn’t take significant strides, they don’t have an automatic three points to fall back on in 2013.

Q: What did you do with your time before Twitter?

I don’t remember much before Twitter, those were the dark ages. I refuse to call myself an addict though, addicts actually go to the meetings.

Q: Is LSU’s quarterback really as big a d-bag in person as he comes across in interviews?

I didn’t get much time with Mettenberger, all I noticed was a broad-shouldered tall guy walking through the lobby of the Wynfrey hotel with a crowd of reporters around him. I am close with someone who was at a bar on the night the incident occurred that led to him getting kicked off Georgia’s football team. From what I heard from him yes, he’s exactly the type of guy you think he is.

Q: Can you actually feel and smell the crazy coming off of Les Miles, or is it more subtle than that?

Oh, you can darn near taste the crazy exuding from the mad hatter, but I think it’s just a front. I really think the man is intelligent and just acts that way so we all don’t realize how good he is at what he does. With Les, we see the grass-eating, hear the strange press conference quotes and buy into his crazy. Meanwhile, Miles’ purple and gold football machine continues to chug along the banks of the bayou. The man has two seasons where he’s won single digit games. Two appearances in the BCS national championship game and one BCS title to his credit. There’s no way he’s as nuts as he comes across.

Q: Two best places to eat in Hoover [Alabama]?

I don’t know about best restaurants but the GC staff is partial to “On Tap Sports Café,” the Irish nachos are to die for. There was also a drive-thru Moe’s. That was awesome because I love Moe’s. It’s better than Chipotle and always will be.

Q: Seems like a lot of kids have committed to our rivals lately with Florida being listed in their top four? Should we be concerned? For example Wynn, Truit, and White?

No worries about players going to rival programs, the fact that Florida is in most players’ top fours is something you should feel good about. Florida may have had a few sub-standard seasons lately but the fact that it’s a destination still for many of the state’s best athletes is always something to feel good about. It’s July, so don’t go peering over the fence at the other school’s hauls just yet, there’s a lot of fluidity in the game of recruiting –such as: Anthony Moten’s decommitment. Florida will close strong and finish with a top five class, at worst, top 10.

Q: How was your first out-of-state road trip? Was it what you expected?

My first out-of-state road trip with GC was awesome. It was great to be at the zoo that was SEC media days, and great to have the faith of the GC management that sent me. Nick and Andrew weren’t too tough to deal with sharing a hotel room with for four days. Being in the thick of things, asking questions to the likes of Clowney and Manziel was an awesome experience. I belong in those rooms, I’m not an intern to them, I’m a professional, and that’s how I view myself.

Q: When does fall practice begin? I will be out of the country from August 2-15 so i am interested.

August 1st, I’m just counting down the days.

 

Richard Johnson

About Richard Johnson

Richard lives in Gainesville and prides himself in being a bonafide lifelong Alachua County Resident. He attends the University of Florida and is in his third year studying Telecommunications. He isn’t sure how he started loving football being the son of two immigrants that don’t care about the sport, but he has developed a borderline unhealthy obsession with it. In his free time, Richard watches other sports and is an avid fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Tampa Bay Rays. He doesn’t like chocolate, knows Moe’s is better than Chipotle and drinks way too many Arnold Palmers. He also took up golf in the summer of 2012. That pursuit isn’t going well. You can listen to him talk about sports during the Cheapseats radio show on ESPN 850-WRUF or online at WRUF.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RagjUF.

  1. G8RinATLAugust 1, 2013, 10:55 am

    The way you write and express yourself, it’s hard to imagine you are only a few years into college. You are indeed a professional. Good luck to you, and look forward to reading your column for years to come.

  2. Richard Johnson
    richardjohnsonAugust 1, 2013, 12:00 pm

    I really appreciate that, and thanks for reading!

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/SEC_logo_SEC_Media_Days-150x150.jpg Richard Johnson FootballThe Latest
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I’m new to the GC team, so I thought I’d field some mailbag questions to try to get better acquainted with you, the readers. Here’s what I got:

Q: What is your background? What brought you to Gator Country, where were you at previously, etc. 

I’m a Gainesville kid, born bred and humidity fed. I graduated from Buchholz high school (2011) and spent one semester at Santa Fe College before starting at the University of Florida in the spring of 2012. Sports have always been my passion, I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else with my life than being involved with it in some way. Last summer I began my “career” in sports media when I started volunteering at WRUF. Radio is my first love, and something I still actively participate in. Last fall, I began writing for Gamedayr.com and was on with them through the end of basketball season doing most of the game recaps for them. After some freelance work for the good folks at AlligatorArmy.com GC’s own Nicole Boyett –a friend from high school– asked me in May if I was committed anywhere for this upcoming fall. I told her no, and within a week I was on a conference call with Andrew and Nick. As they say, the rest is history.

Q: Where did you think the Gators will see the biggest improvement this season?

Biggest improvement in my opinion will be in the wide receiving corps. I think it has to be in that group primarily because it can’t get much worse than it was last year. 383 yards and 36 receptions made you Florida’s leading wide receiver last year. Guys that can’t run routes well and get open stunted the development of Jeff Driskel and they’ll have to get better to aid Driskel in taking the next step in his talent progression in year two.

For me, Demarcus Robinson is a guy you always hear the players talk about. He showed up to campus in January which is huge, because he’ll be comfortable with the route tree and playbook and have at least a bit of a rapport with Driskel when fall camp begins.

The level of competition at the position will breed success, five wide receivers are injected into Florida’s roster from the 2013 recruiting class and three of them are 6’2’’ or taller –including Robinson. Big targets that are ready to play will push to see the field, worst case scenario, they make the likes of Quinton Dunbar and Andre Debose get in gear.

Q: Biggest fall?

Florida’s biggest talent drop off will be at kicker. UF lost the automatic thigh cannon that was Caleb Sturgis, who hit 24-28 field goals last season. Sturgis bailed Florida out after many a drive stalled and had five three field goal games. Will Muschamp said last week that the situation at kicker is something that “keeps him up at night” and you saw why if you were at the spring game. Austin Harden and Brad Phillips struggled in attempting to fill in. Hardin will probably win the job, but I doubt he’ll get anywhere near the output of Sturgis this season. If Florida’s offense doesn’t take significant strides, they don’t have an automatic three points to fall back on in 2013.

Q: What did you do with your time before Twitter?

I don’t remember much before Twitter, those were the dark ages. I refuse to call myself an addict though, addicts actually go to the meetings.

Q: Is LSU’s quarterback really as big a d-bag in person as he comes across in interviews?

I didn’t get much time with Mettenberger, all I noticed was a broad-shouldered tall guy walking through the lobby of the Wynfrey hotel with a crowd of reporters around him. I am close with someone who was at a bar on the night the incident occurred that led to him getting kicked off Georgia’s football team. From what I heard from him yes, he’s exactly the type of guy you think he is.

Q: Can you actually feel and smell the crazy coming off of Les Miles, or is it more subtle than that?

Oh, you can darn near taste the crazy exuding from the mad hatter, but I think it’s just a front. I really think the man is intelligent and just acts that way so we all don’t realize how good he is at what he does. With Les, we see the grass-eating, hear the strange press conference quotes and buy into his crazy. Meanwhile, Miles’ purple and gold football machine continues to chug along the banks of the bayou. The man has two seasons where he’s won single digit games. Two appearances in the BCS national championship game and one BCS title to his credit. There’s no way he’s as nuts as he comes across.

Q: Two best places to eat in Hoover [Alabama]?

I don’t know about best restaurants but the GC staff is partial to “On Tap Sports Café,” the Irish nachos are to die for. There was also a drive-thru Moe’s. That was awesome because I love Moe’s. It’s better than Chipotle and always will be.

Q: Seems like a lot of kids have committed to our rivals lately with Florida being listed in their top four? Should we be concerned? For example Wynn, Truit, and White?

No worries about players going to rival programs, the fact that Florida is in most players’ top fours is something you should feel good about. Florida may have had a few sub-standard seasons lately but the fact that it’s a destination still for many of the state’s best athletes is always something to feel good about. It’s July, so don’t go peering over the fence at the other school’s hauls just yet, there’s a lot of fluidity in the game of recruiting –such as: Anthony Moten’s decommitment. Florida will close strong and finish with a top five class, at worst, top 10.

Q: How was your first out-of-state road trip? Was it what you expected?

My first out-of-state road trip with GC was awesome. It was great to be at the zoo that was SEC media days, and great to have the faith of the GC management that sent me. Nick and Andrew weren’t too tough to deal with sharing a hotel room with for four days. Being in the thick of things, asking questions to the likes of Clowney and Manziel was an awesome experience. I belong in those rooms, I’m not an intern to them, I’m a professional, and that’s how I view myself.

Q: When does fall practice begin? I will be out of the country from August 2-15 so i am interested.

August 1st, I’m just counting down the days.

 

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