A Full Swamp is motivation for the Florida Gators

Story by Jenna Ladd:

It’s the first gameday of the 2015-2016 season on Saturday, September 5th as the Florida Gators football team faces New Mexico State. The University of Florida campus is buzzing with anxious excitement for the team’s debut.

After a rough season with an alarmingly low amount of student attendees, it seems that the students have finally turned over a new leaf in wake of the hire of Jim McElwain as the new head coach.

With his arrival, hope returned for a lot of Gator students as they hope that he is successful in revamping the Florida football team.

The season opener has officially sold out and everyone is now resorting to posting on the UF Facebook groups eagerly searching out tickets to the game. Some are bribing others with baked goods and gas money – two very enticing items to college students – and others are offering to pay double the face value; which on a college budget shows extreme dedication to attend.

After seeing all of these Instagram posts, Snapchats and Tweets, I decided to ask the students some questions with fellow GatorCountry writer, Kassidy Hill, in between classes on campus. We wanted to know why they feel this gameday is different, who their favorite players are and most importantly for the freshmen, do they knew how to properly Gator chomp?

For the most important information first, yes, everyone that we spoke to knew how to properly Gator chomp.

Moving forward, the majority of people were unable to put a finger on what made this season feel so different from the others. Michaella Hayes, a senior psychology major commented on this change saying, “I’m not going to lie and say that I know everything about the Florida football team, but as a fan I can tell that there is a different energy and excitement among the students for this season. I would probably accredit it to the new coach and getting a new quarterback. We were ready for some changes.”

Changes they want, and changes they will receive. After Treon Harris was named the starter for at least Saturday’s game, people started to get excited. Medical student Mitchell Herold said, “Even though we haven’t gotten a definite starter yet, it’s definitely reassuring to know who will be taking the first snap of the game. It lets us as fans know who’s further ahead in the battle for the official job while still letting us assess [Will] Grier as well.”

As far as favorite players go, the most popular answer I’ve received is none other than junior cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.

Caroline Stocks, a senior event management major said, “Even tough I had a class with Vernon and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know I exist, he’ still my favorite – but it’s just because he’s ridiculously good, so it’s kind of hard to not like him.”

Needless to say, the students are rowdy and ready to make New Mexico State gator bait on Saturday evening in the Swamp.


Video by Kassidy Hill:

Kassidy Hill
Born into a large family of sports fanatics and wordsmiths alike, sports journalism came natural to Kassidy. It’s more than a passion; it’s simply a part of who she is. Hailing from Alabama in the midst of typical Iron Bowl family, she learned very quickly just how deep ties in the SEC could run. She came to Gainesville after college to pursue a degree as television sports reporter but quickly realized she missed writing. She’s excited to now marry the two aspects for Gator fans. She loves Jesus, her daddy and football; wants to be Billy Donovan’s best friend and firmly believes that offensive lineman are the best people on earth. Follow her on Twitter @KassidyGHill