65 Reasons to Be Happy, If Even for a Moment

65-0 should be enough. For me, it is.

I woke up Sunday morning—one day after our beloved Florida Gators dismantled Eastern Michigan—and took to Twitter. There was plenty of positivity in Gator Nation and, for the most part, fans were happy. But there were still the few. Those that have to find the flaw in the win. Those that may finally be happy at an undefeated season and a national championship. Those that may never be pleased.

Kelvin Taylor - Florida Gators

That’s their right. Every fan has that right. Cheer when you want; critique when you feel the need. The type of fan a person chooses to be is a choice they stand by and I’m not here to tell them they’re wrong. All I’m here to do is to say that I’m happy and that happiness will last for more than just one moment.

EMU was far from an SEC opponent. They were not a world-class team. The Gators should have beaten them 65-0. But here’s the thing: one season ago, Florida didn’t beat the teams they were supposed to beat. The Gators lost to Georgia Southern at home. Go back one season further and you find a narrow win over Louisiana. Lately, Florida hasn’t been taking care of business against the teams they’re heavily favored against. Saturday was different; be happy.

To start, we saw football. The game wasn’t delayed. There wasn’t one play hours after the scheduled kickoff. There wasn’t a postponement that turned into a cancellation. Instead, there was football. Good football at that. For 60 minutes, it felt like the orange and blue channeled the teams of old. 65 points, 655 yards, and big plays. Oh those big plays. I grew up in the PlayStation generation. Video game offenses didn’t exist in real life, but they could get close. Steve Spurrier kept scoring. The brakes were never applied. That was Saturday. When your backup quarterback—a true freshman making his first appearance in The Swamp at that—goes deep on his first pass attempt (AND COMPLETES IT FOR A 70-YARD TOUCHDOWN!!!) you aren’t letting up.

Let’s stop there for a second and look at Treon Harris’s line:

2 completions, 2 pass attempts, 148 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1,051.6 rating.

Read that last stat again. The highest rating a college quarterback can possibly achieve is 1,261.6. To do so, he would have to have every pass attempt result in a 99-yard touchdown completion. Harris was darn close.

Yes, I know it was against a team without a great defense and he was doing so late in a blowout, but those facts do little to diminish what was a great first showing by the freshman. We may have ourselves quite the backup quarterback.

There were plenty of more good performances in the win. Jeff Driskel was solid and looked calm in Kurt Roper’s offense. The running game accounted for 259 yards on the ground and the trio of Kelvin Taylor, Matt Jones, and Mack Brown averaged 8.7 yards per carry. Demarcus Robinson had 5 catches for 23 yards his freshman season; he had 6 for 123 and a touchdown on Saturday. Clay Burton led the team with 7 catches, more than doubling his career total of 3 going into the game. Andre Debose looked like the player we thought he could be all those years ago. Duke Dawson had quite the debut. Brian Poole was everywhere on defense. And the entire defense was smothering. Like I said, I’m happy.

Many will call this a warm-up game, and they would be correct in doing so. The Gators were supposed to get two warm-up games. Lightning wiped that plan away. Now, Florida will head to SEC play with one game and a big win under its belt. Kentucky has not looked like the Kentucky of old and could present a challenge, but I will gladly accept that challenge after Saturday’s showing. There are many worse ways to go into your first SEC game.

The Gators will be favored, and rightfully so, but we may not completely know what we have just yet. An explosive offense, check. A shutdown defense, check. Capable special teams, check. All looked good on Saturday and that’s enough to keep me positive, so for now I will be.

In one game, the Gators answered as many questions as a team could in only 60 minutes. There are 10 games to go, though, and Florida will be questioned going into every one. That’s fine and perfectly acceptable, but all I ask is that you try to keep that positive outlook. I’m not sure if cheering for a team is all that much fun if you go into a game seeking gloom and doom. Call it naiveté, but I enjoy hope and I’ll keep that hope going a little longer after the 65-0 win.

As for Kentucky, there’s a win streak to keep alive. We’ve seen some of those fall recently and would like the bleeding to stop. Let’s keep the Kentucky streak alive and in a few weeks extend the Tennessee streak. The Gators may not be a championship-caliber team yet, but they need to win the ones they should. Fall against the Wildcats and progress may be a dream at the moment. Handle their business against Kentucky and go into the Alabama game with two impressive wins and we’re headed in the right direction. All in all, just win. Win more then you lose. Don’t go 4-8. Becoming the orange and blue we all know they can be.

It’s hard to imagine that after just another 60 minutes, we’ll be a quarter of the way through the season. AH! MAKE IT SLOW DOWN! We were shorted a game and now that the season has started, it’s going ahead full force. 10 games to go, each one counts, blah, blah, blah. I could hype it up one hundred different ways. You don’t need me to get you hyped for the first SEC game. You know the importance. Go Gators! And again, Just Win!

Marcus Roberson to Declare for 2014 NFL Draft; Cornerback to Leave Gators

According to Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun, Gators’ junior cornerback Marcus Roberson will leave Florida early and declare himself eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft. Roberson only appeared in seven games for the Gators in 2013, missing time due to injuries and suspension, but he is still projected to be selected in the first or second round of April’s draft.

Marcus Roberson, Florida Gators

Despite playing in just more than half of the Gators’ games in 2013, Roberson’s draft stock isn’t expected to be impacted. His coverage skills have been one of his greatest strengths during his entire Florida career and many believe he will only get better with time.

Roberson’s play does present some concerns as he is a frequent offender when it comes to pass interference calls. He has always played the game physically and it has haunted him at times. However, he is still a relatively young player and discipline could come with time and coaching.

Roberson becomes the second Florida cornerback to leave the Gators early for the NFL Draft. He joins fellow junior Loucheiz Purifoy who declared his intentions to bolt to the NFL almost immediately following the conclusion of the 2013 regular season.

While Florida still has talent at cornerback, it is largely young talent that split time with veterans such as Roberson, Purifoy and Jaylen Watkins. The Gators need to reload immediately and will be sure to look at any available prospects during the final month of recruiting. Florida appears to be in good shape with Duke Dawson, J.C. Jackson and Quincy Wilson currently committed, but Jackson is wavering and all three will need time to develop.

2014 Football Recruiting: The Florida Gators Look to Build on Strong Class as Summer Approaches

The 2012 football season has long been over. And now with the 2012-13 basketball season coming to an end as well, we turn our attention to football recruiting.

Will Grier - Florida Gators

2013 was kind to the Florida Gators, as the football team put together the type of recruiting class we’ve come to expect. 2014 should be no different and has already produced a group that forms a solid base to build upon.

Before we get knee deep in the entire world of recruiting, player rankings, video analysis, scouting reports and discussions of wants and needs, let’s take a quick look at what the Gators, Will Muschamp and the rest of the Florida coaching staff are working with at this point.

Will Grier, QB, Davidson Day (Davidson, NC) – Grier is not only one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation, but one of the top players overall. While the level of competition is a concern for some, Grier has the tools and talent to succeed at any level and in most systems. He may already be the Gators’ quarterback of the future.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Miami Central (Miami, FL) – Another Florida commit that is among both the top prospects at his position and overall is Cook. There are those already comparing Cook to former Gator great Percy Harvin, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let’s let Cook become the first Dalvin Cook and not put a label on him as the next Harvin before he is even assigned a locker. All of that said, Cook is an intriguing prospect that can be used in a variety of ways.

Ryeshene Bronson, WR, Dunbar (Ft. Myers, FL) – The Gators are constantly looking to reload at wide receiver. It doesn’t matter what the previous year may have brought, Florida will look for capable pass catchers in each class. Bronson is the first committed for 2014 and has enough height to get fans excited about his arrival. He’ll have to add some bulk to his frame before he can fully compete at the college level, but he should be a contributor once he learns the ropes.

Travaris Dorsey, OL, Raines (Jacksonville, FL) – Dorsey has been working hard to get himself in shape for his senior season and beyond. He’s a true guard and excels at the position. Dorsey has been working on his athleticism and has proven that he is more than just a big body. He will take visits over the summer and is still being recruited by North Carolina and Tennessee, but he remains solidly committed to Florida.

Benjamin Knox, OL, Deland (Deland, FL) – A tackle, Knox is where many high schoolers are at this point in their development. He has the height, but needs the bulk. He’ll have plenty of time to do just that and looks like he could contribute sometime around 2016. Knox has mentioned that an offer from the Gators was a dream and that he is solidly committed.

Joseph Paul, OL, St. Augustine (New Orleans, LA) – While Knox needs to bulk up, Paul–also a tackle–has the size to play at the college level today. He’ll need to develop his game and learn the intricacies of a college offense, but from a size standpoint, Paul has it. Paul was down to Florida and Texas and after picking the Gators has said that the recruiting process is over for him.

Anthony Moten, DL, St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) – Do we like players from St. Thomas Aquinas? Yes we do. Thomas is listed as a defensive tackle even if he does has the frame of a defensive end at this point. That doesn’t mean he won’t play DT at the next level though. Moten is hoping a few others from south Florida will join him in Gainesville, among them cornerbacks Chris Lammons and Quincy Wilson.

Christian Miller, LB, Spring Valley (Columbia, SC) – A top-100 linebacker, Miller projects to play on the outside at the college level. He’s one of those that talks academics as much as he talks football and was looking for the right fit from both sides of the equation. Miller has mentioned that his focus will now shift to recruiting for the Gators, but he still may take visits for the experience.

Duke Dawson, DB, Dixie County (Cross City, FL) – Dawson, a cornerback, chose the Gators over in-state rival Florida State. Although much of his family cheers for the Seminoles, one cousin – 2013 Gators’ signee Marcell Harris – may have pushed him toward Florida. When Dawson committed, he mentioned the Gators had always held the lead, but that doesn’t mean the pressure from FSU will stop.

2014 Football Recruiting: Duke Dawson Commits To Florida Gators; CB Pulls The Switch

Dixie County (Cross City, FL) cornerback Duke Dawson has made his college choice and it’s very good news for the Florida Gators. On Tuesday, the 2014 recruit committed to the Gators over the Florida State Seminoles after pulling the wardrobe switch. Dawson arrived at his announcement decked out in ‘Noles gear, only to pull off an FSU shirt to reveal a Florida one.

Duke Dawson - Florida Gators

I’ve never been a huge fan of the clothing or hat switch, but Dawson’s situation seemed to be more of a playful joke between him and his family. With the exception of his cousin–2013 Florida commit Marcell Harris–Dawson’s entire family is made up of FSU fans. This was probably just a playful jab at the family before he made his true choice known.

The decision wasn’t necessarily an easy one for Dawson, but being able to play with Harris weighed heavily. Dawson also mentioned his relationship with Gators’ head coach Will Muschamp and academics as draws for him.

There is plenty of time left before Dawson signs his letter of intent, but, for now, he seems confident he has made the right choice.

2014 Football Recruiting: Duke Dawson Commits To Florida Gators; CB Pulls The Switch

Dixie County (Cross City, FL) cornerback Duke Dawson has made his college choice and it’s very good news for the Florida Gators. On Tuesday, the 2014 recruit committed to the Gators over the Florida State Seminoles after pulling the wardrobe switch. Dawson arrived at his announcement decked out in ‘Noles gear, only to pull off an FSU shirt to reveal a Florida one.

Duke Dawson - Florida Gators

I’ve never been a huge fan of the clothing or hat switch, but Dawson’s situation seemed to be more of a playful joke between him and his family. With the exception of his cousin–2013 Florida commit Marcell Harris–Dawson’s entire family is made up of FSU fans. This was probably just a playful jab at the family before he made his true choice known.

The decision wasn’t necessarily an easy one for Dawson, but being able to play with Harris weighed heavily. Dawson also mentioned his relationship with Gators’ head coach Will Muschamp and academics as draws for him.

There is plenty of time left before Dawson signs his letter of intent, but, for now, he seems confident he has made the right choice.