Typing away at the laptop.........
Back in December of 2008, I had posted a topic in the football forums, in the form of an open letter, about not believing everything you read and hear based on some insipid rumors that were floating around at that time. Once again, Gator Nation was forced to deal with a story that somebody decided to read too much into and misinterpret, thus starting the rumor mills spinning and an uproar amongst the Gator Nation faithful; luckily in the case of Gator freshmen Dominique Easley and Ronald Powell they had some minor issues that were basically those of adjusting to the college game - one of them had a personal issue to handle - yet somebody saw to it to blow the facts out of proportion instead of waiting for the truth to be disclosed.
Unfortunately, rumor-mongering is a fact of life whether it be related to sports, the workplace grapevine, Hollywood, or elsewhere. Given the fact that fall practices have been closed to the public and general media episodes like this are bound to happen, but on the other hand there's no reason why those who wish to obtain information for their articles can't wait for the post-practice press conferences to do so. I still support the idea of closing practices to minimize distractions, especially after what happened this past spring with former <em>Orlando Sentinel</em> reporter Jeremy Fowler (he now has joined a newspaper in the Minneapolis - St. Paul area covering the Vikings beat, BTW) misconstruing a quote from WR Deonte Thompson, but in a way it's a double-edged sword since the media and other writers are prevented from live coverage of what's taking place on the field and have their access restricted. In spite of that, there's still no excuse for the rumor-mongers to spread false innuendo or others to spin stories to their liking and distort facts without verifying their information beforehand. It won't hurt anybody to ask questions and obtain correct information from the pressers that follow the practice sessions, and the only stupid questions are the ones that don't get asked.
Once again, to reiterate what I had said in that same post: <strong>DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ AND HEAR.</strong>
So much for my rant. Now for my take on other happenings:
Not that long ago, freshmen Jordan Haden and Adrian Coxson left the Gator football program to transfer to schools closer to home which they felt were better fits for them, and in spite of some of the negativity I've read elsewhere I won't begrudge them for making decisions that they felt were in their best interests. Florida football is very competitive based on the calibre the program has risen to over the years, and there will be some who either won't see playing time right away or are deemed not to be UF material. As I see things, our remaining freshmen are experiencing "growing pains" and are making the adjustment from high school to the pace of the college game; we all have our own learning curves as to how rapidly we absorb and utilize information and concepts from observation and instruction, and our own freshman class is no exception. While others seem to have made this transition with little to no difficulty, there are others who need more time to adjust as well as those who need to come to the realization that they're no longer the "big men on campus" they were in high school and must prove what they're really worth at the next level. As frustrating as this may be, the best thing they can do is continue to learn, be patient, accept counseling and constructive critique from their coaches and our veteran players, and continue to persevere. As the season progresses, they should be fine. It's only fair to cut these kids a little slack.
In spite of some injuries and Coach Meyer ready to "hit the panic button" after Saturday's scrimmage, it seems that the reports coming out of practices this week have been more positive; the rough spots are being ironed out and adjustments are being made to prepare for the season opener a week from now against Miami of Ohio in The Swamp. Slowly the starting slots are being determined, and we should be ready to go come gameday.
Another observation - seems the new disciplinary policy of "if one falls, they all fall" is working since there have been no further incidents involving player conduct since Frankie Hammond's DUI arrest this past June. If this continues to be an effective deterrent to players misbehaving, then it serves its purpose. Our guys need to start watching out for each other in so many ways to further strengthen the team unity; distractions are disruptive. (<strong>Correction</strong>: According to the <em>Miami Herald's</em> Joseph Goodman, freshmen Matt Elam and Solomon Patton were charged with misdemeanor underage possession of alcohol prior to the start of fall practice; I just came across this via his post on Twitter. Likely the football staff handled this matter accordingly.)
This past Wednesday, some of our coaches and players met with members of the UF student body in a Town Hall meeting for interactive questions and answers; I only wish I could have been there. The event was closed to the media, but kudos to OGGOA for a transcript of the event they had posted with the help of a couple of students who were in attendance. Personally I like this concept; it helps Coach Meyer to stay in touch with the student body and helps to maintain good relations that may have suffered in the past - after the notorious "Fratgate" incident involving Ron Zook back in September of '04, Urban Meyer made it one of his priorities to make reconciliation and re-establish that relationship which is very important.
September 4th is right around the corner - hang in there, gang. Gator football's coming.
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