Unique activity in Florida’s team-bonding process

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(Matt Stamey/File)

Some Florida offensive linemen, along with one particular quarterback, have been putting themselves through a summer workout/bonding exercise that cannot be found in strength and conditioning coordinator Nick Savage’s playbook.

 Pool wrasslin’.

 “Yeah, wrasslin’ in the pool,” redshirt freshman offensive guard Chris Bleich said.

 It’s been a popular event this summer at a house with a pool where Bleich, offensive guard Brett Heggie, quarterback Feleipe Franks, tight end Lucas Krull and long snapper Brett DioGuardi are roommates.

 The rules are simple.

 “You’ve got the shallow end,” Bleich said. “Then you know where it goes right to the deep end. First one to knock them into the deep end, head under, wins.”

 There are no other rules and no weight classes.

 Heggie is the undisputed king of the pool.

 “Heggie is number one,” Bleich said. “I’m going to go with Feleipe Franks number two. Then the long snapper is the wildcard, Brett DioGuardi. I’m going to come in at four. Lucas Krull? I don’t want to put him at the bottom, but he doesn’t pool fight with us that much. He’s usually chilling, making fun of two fat kids wrestling. So, he’s number five of course.”

 When two of the 300-pound plus linemen go at it, it’s quite a sight to see, Bleich said. Sort of like watching sumo wrestling in the water.

 “It’s not a pretty sight to see,” he said. “But we lose a few pounds in the pool every night.”

 The roommates — Bleich and Heggie — are not the only offensive linemen on the wrestling card. Tackle Jean Delance and center Nick Buchanan also participate in the Gators’ version of WWE.

 “You’ve seen Bleich bust his nose and was bleeding, but it’s all fun,” Delance said. “We’re competitive guys, so we’re having fun, but that just brings us a whole lot closer in terms of having trust within each other as a unit.”

 Franks and others have been more than welcome to become part of the bonding process with the big guys.

 At 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, Franks is a pretty big guy himself. And a competitive pool wrassler, apparently.

 “He just wants to win,” Bleich said. “He doesn’t lose.”

 Well, unless he’s going against the clear-cut No. 1, Heggie.

 “Feleipe has leverage. He’s a long kid,” Heggie said. “I still go him beat. He’s got some work to do to get to my level.”

 Heggie sits alone at the top.

 “Heggie is a tough guy,” Delance said. “It doesn’t matter what he’s got going on. He could have three different injuries on his body, but he’s still going to find a way to get it done. Fighting, tussling or arm wrestling, he’s going to find a way.”

 Heggie is tough in the pool, but not unbeatable. His roommate, Bleich, took him down — or rather, put him under — just last week.

 “I finally got my first ‘W’ against him,” Bleich said.  “It only took two years.”

 Win or lose, the pool wrasslin’ matches are all about having fun and bonding with your teammates, Heggie said.

 “It is definitely fun,” he said. “We get close to guys, especially the offensive

linemen up front. We get close as a group. It makes you want to go out

there on Saturdays and play harder for the guy to the left and the guy

to the right. I think it’s really important to grow that bond.”

 Along with wrasslin’, the linemen have another ongoing competition in the pool — a cannonball contest.

 Heggie does not rank at the top in this category, something that has been obvious based on some recent video posts on Twitter.

 “He’s a lost cause when it comes to the cannonball,” Bleich said. “He doesn’t have the technique. Tuck and roll.”

6 COMMENTS

  1. Nice to see the players bonding, but I hope this bonding experience is just an offseason thing. A couple of their comments kind’ve make you cringe a bit and I’m sure Mullen did too after reading this, like the busting noses and Heggie having 3 different injuries and still going at it. Heggie gets injured enough as is. Maybe stick to the cannon ball contests till the end of the season.