Notebook: Gators hungry for action, food
Published: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 4:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 4:44 p.m.
During the long weather delays in The Swamp on Saturday night, the Gators were not only hungry to play, they were, well, just hungry, quarterback Jeff Driskel said Tuesday.
“There was a lot of sitting around, guys got hungry, so we were eating,” Driskel said. “We were trying to stay warm because it got pretty cold in there. Just a lot of sitting around.”
Driskel was asked what the players were eating in the locker room.
“All kinds of stuff. Whatever we can get our hands on,” he said. “The nutrition staff did a good job of resupplying us. About a hundred guys in the locker room. Food goes quick. Anything. We were just tearing it up.”
Like everyone else, Driskel said he was disappointed that play was suspended, pushing the Gators’ opening game back one week. But he said the decision to stop the game was the correct one.
“Every 15 minutes or so we would get pushed back another 30. It was tough in there,” he said. “We were all wet, we were cold. We could only handle what we could handle. Obviously, we wanted to play, but it was the right decision not to go out there. Somebody would have gotten hurt.
“It’s not worth risking the season for one game when the conditions are like that. We’ll just have to wait one more week and be ready for Eastern Michigan. We’re fortunate that we have people that are willing to make that decision for us and worry about the well-being of us.”
One very unhappy Roper
Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper said perhaps the only one more upset than the players over the game getting called Saturday night was his 6-year-old daughter, who was excited about seeing her first Gator game.
“I think it affected my daughter more than anybody else,” Roper said. “She was so upset. Obviously, it got pretty late, so my wife said, ‘Hey, at some point she's got to go home.’ So, my mother-in-law started to take her and my son home, and my daughter said, 'I got all dressed up for this.’
“She had her fingernails painted, toenails painted orange and blue. She said, 'I got all dressed up for this. I'm just so disappointed.' You know what I mean. I think it affected everybody that way.”
Driskel stays steady
Roper said he did learn a little bit more about his starting quarterback’s demeanor Saturday night during the weather delays.
“You know, he's a real even-keeled guy,” Roper said of Driskel. “He handles things really well. And that's what I like about him, he doesn't ride the wave of emotions like I like to talk about quarterbacks doing. He's pretty steady.
“So, he's a guy that was able to adjust when we come in and say, 'Hey, we've got 20 more minutes.' And then when it would change to 30 more minutes, he would stay who he was. I think he handled it well. The whole team is anxious to play football, and the whole team handled it well. But Jeff's personality is pretty solid."
Sophomore wide receiver Demarcus Robinson has had a troubling start to his college career, getting suspended for three games last season and for Saturday’s opener against Idaho. But his teammates and coaches say Robinson has turned things around and is ready to contribute.
“Demarcus has been great since I've been here and he's a guy that's really working hard to improve himself, if that makes sense,” Roper said. “And it’s not always easy to go through some challenges that he's been through. I think he's working to try and be a better person all the time. On the practice field, he gives a lot of effort. He's worked really hard. He leaves it out on the field.
“I like to say those guys when we go to the field we empty the bucket. And he empties the bucket when we go to the practice field, so I appreciate the way he works. Obviously, as a coaching staff, we're here to help him grow."
Driskel said Robinson has done a lot of growing up since he first arrived on campus in the summer of 2013.
“I do honestly think that Demarcus is a good guy,” Driskel said. “Sometimes he’s made poor decisions in the past, but I think he’s matured a lot. He did everything he could to help the team out this past week, knowing that he wasn’t going to play. And that takes a mature guy to do that and not hang your head.
“I think he’s going to help us out a lot this year. He’s a guy we’re going to have to count on.”
Not tape on Gators
Roper pointed out that the Gators have one obvious advantage over Eastern Michigan this week. They have game tape on EMU from the Eagles’ opener last Saturday, while the Eagles have none from UF’s suspended opener.
“Oh, absolutely. Absolutely,” he said. “That’s a big help. To be able to see who’s playing where and who their starters are, who their backups are, where it all starts.
“One of the advantages we have over them is they haven’t had a chance to see us this year. Everybody’s got tape. I mean it doesn’t matter who it is. Everybody’s got everybody’s tape. But it helps to see who’s playing in those positions and how you’re structuring it.”
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