Trent Whittemore grades out “Champion” against South Carolina

Kyle Trask doesn’t know how many dog tags he has hanging up in his room but he guesses there are more than 10 now. The Florida Gators quarterback started 10 games in 2018 and has started the first two games this season, so that’s a pretty good success rate in terms of how his coaches view his play.

Each Sunday the staff will go over the film from the game and position coaches will grade out their guys. Then the staff meets together to go over the film as an entire staff, where grades are adjusted play-by-play and finalized.

“So on ours’, you get an ‘S’, ‘S’ you did the right thing, minus you did the wrong thing. You get a plus, you did the right thing and something special beyond that. A double-minus you made a turnover or made a critical error. A zero, you really had no effect on the play, you weren’t involved in the play in any way, shape or form,” Dan Mullen explained. “Then mathematically we have the formula to kind of grade all that out – I’m not going to get into all the math on it right now. But essentially if you grade 80 percent, you grade a Champion for us.”

When played grade out as “champion” the coaching staff makes a dog tag for the player that has the date of the game, the opponent, and that the player graded out as highly as possible that week. It’s a memento and a reward for preparing, playing, and executing the right way that week.

Trask may have lost count of how many times he’s collected that honor but Trent Whittemore won’t forget the first time he graded out as a champion for Florida. That honor came this week, following Whittemore’s first touchdown catch as a Gator.

“We had a bunch of guys who graded out Champions for us this week, Whittemore was one of the guys that graded a Champion – had a great game. It helped, a touchdown, so you get a plus for a touchdown, a plus for a spectacular catch over the middle, as well as being consistent on your other plays – so you get extra credit for those things,” Mullen said. “But that’s how the system works. We look at guys, we figure if you grade 80 percent or above that’s a championship effort, or a Champion effort, a championship effort, so you grade a Champion. You’re on the board downstairs, you get recognized in front of the team, a Champion tag and all that stuff.”

Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC