Craig Stephens

The Gators Go To Media Day

Created on Jul. 21, 2013 2:04 PM EST

It’s a quiet time around college football. There is not much news going on in July. The only stories that break around this time are bad ones. Training camp hasn’t started and football diehards are beginning to forget what game day feels like.

So this is the perfect time to get all the star players and coaches together in Hoover, Ala., to talk about football. The Florida Gators brought a contingent of head coach Will Muschamp, quarterback Jeff Driskel, defensive lineman Dominique Easley, and offensive lineman Jon Halapio to media days. In general, players were respectful and not outlandish. They proved quotable and charming, especially in Easley’s case. Overall, coaches and players from other teams were respectful and strayed from any inflammatory remarks.

By far, Muschamp’s interview was the most insightful. He emphasized character and line play during his media session. The character remarks carry extra weight this time of year because of the character swirl surrounding Urban Meyer and his stint with the University of Florida. The line play statements, rather traditional SEC thinking, did not surprise. Muschamp is a conservative coach, and his focus on line play backs that up. The fact that the Gators brought two lineman to media days shows Muschamp’s emphasis and the Gators’ lack of true stars. Muschamp also expressed that he was not content with the progress yet made at Florida. He said his goal is to go to Atlanta every year.

Easley was the star of Florida’s media day squad. He consistently made the reporters laugh with his great attitude. The big man’s most embarrassing moment was admitting that he had never heard of Bear Bryant. He guessed Bear was some sort of cartoon. Easley then asked for forgiveness, saying he prefers cartoons to sports, anyways.

Driskel was the only player who faced some difficult questions. It’s clear that the expectations are high for him this year, and he realizes that his play needs to improve. He was poised and confident during the press conference, and displayed signals of growing leadership. Driskel stated that he and the offense had put a lot of work in this summer, and that his chemistry with the receivers was growing. He also said he spent time reviewing his negative plays from last season and feels more comfortable with throwing the ball away. The quarterback did not give himself any excuses. When he was asked about skill players, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends, Driskel said he was confident that the Gators have enough talent this year to compete. He feels Matt Jones will be a fine replacement at running back, the receivers will be better this year and a tight end will step up to fill the void left by Jordan Reed.

Media days, they never change. Everyone was confident and full of answers, sure that this would be the year his team finally broke through. While media days are fun, they are not a true substitute for the game itself. SEC media days gave fans a morsel to chew on. Savor it until the season starts. One day, summer will end, and football will begin again.

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