Florida football’s swagger is back and in full force and has been on display all spring and summer. The bounce, the trash talk, the hard physical play.
Look, there is just a standard that is Florida Gator football and there has been since before Steve Spurrier was throwing the ball. There is just a feeling that one gets when it’s game time, and that feeling comes from the team. But why is this year different?
The lack of Gator Swagger
The swagger seemed to disappear around 2011. With the Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain eras respectively. They parallel each other in many ways and when looked at makes one understand the feeling and culture of the past eight years before Dan Mullen.
When each, Muschamp and McElwain took the mantel as head of the Gator football they enjoyed a successful first couple years. Muschamp went 18-8 with one bowl win and McElwain went 19-8 with one bowl win.
Both had the fans believing that Gator football was back but just could not finish. The other constant was the off-field problems. Hey, that comes with young college kids and all programs have them, its how you handle them that makes the culture.
The style of player interaction, the feeling of owning what you have done and being accountable was lost. It showed for both coaches in their third years when the bottom just dropped and they could not recover.
Muschamp goes 4-8 and McElwain 4-7, and the feeling with fans was one of disappointment and loss. The internal bickering and overall culture was one of non-fun and no control.
So in comes Dan Mullen.
Gators’ swagger gets a jump
Although Dan comes in and has a great first year much like his predecessors, the culture and feeling was just different from the beginning.
Dan had the pulse of Florida football swagger as he had been here before. As offensive coordinator and QB coach for Florida from 2005-08, he knows what it means to play at Florida, and coach at Florida. So when he took over he installed that culture back in his players, and they felt it.
You could see the difference in just how the team acted on the sidelines, more of a work ethic.
As a fan one can tell when a team is really into the game or just showed up, and at no time last season did I feel they were not focused or not playing their hardest.
DBU was flying high last season and the offense showed just what they can do.
This season will just be an extension, the continuation of what they started last season.
Even with discipline problems. he handled it and installed accountability. The fun is back in Gainesville and a nothing less than winning attitude has been restored. Florida football’s swagger is back and in full force.