Trattou has message for freshmen


Senior defensive end Justin Trattou has been through all the scary workouts and training regimens Florida’s coaching staff has to offer. He’s done the mat drills. He’s survived multiple St. Valentine’s Day Massacres. And he has a message for the freshmen waiting to get on campus this summer.

All that stuff you guys went through in high school ain’t squat compared to what you’ll go through in Gainesville.

“It’s always (hard to adjust) when you come in as a freshman, especially when you come in midway in January,” Trattou said. “It’s always going to be tough because no matter what you did in high school it’s not going to be the same intensity as it is here, between all the strength coaches and all the guys who have been here for a couple years.”

Florida compiled one of the best recruiting class of all time this past year, but with all that talent could come egos. Be warned, says Trattou, things won’t be easy for you guys. Not even the ones that Urban Meyer or any of his other coaches love so dearly.

Eleven of those highly-touted recruits are already on campus and are already having to go through the tough Gator workouts.

“Our (freshmen) are adjusting well and getting better,” Trattou said.

Things weren’t all about scary tales by Trattou during a nice Friday morning sit-down with he a couple of other players. Trattou does like what he sees out of UF’s top-rated defensive line class. He’ll get a chance to play with a few before he graduates and he’s ready to see them in action when they arrive.

“I’m really excited for them to get here and start working with us this summer,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of talented guys (coming in). The future looks good for the d-line at Florida.”

* * *

I caught up with two highly-regarded Florida targets this week. It’s a relatively slow time of year, but evaluations of rising seniors are starting to take shape. Two guys Gator fans should know about are Miami Northwestern quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Punta Gorda Charlotte running back Mike Bellamy.

Bridgewater — He said he’s got “a lot of interest” in the Gators. He’s very familiar with Florida’s program and he showed last summer at Friday Night Lights. He also impressed earlier this year in Miami for a 7-on-7 camp. The question is where will he play? He’s a great athlete and has interest in playing wide receiver, but could be a very talented dual-threat quarterback at the next level. He’s gonna have to gain some weight regardless of where he plays. He’s 6-foot-3, 170 pounds. That’s great height for either position, but he’s got to put on some pounds. I think Florida might be recruting him more as an athlete and would only consider him at quarterback if a couple of bigger QB prospects don’t work out. He could be a dangerous “Wildcat” guy. Georgia is a team Bridgewater has a lot of interest in as well.

Bellamy — From the start, it seemed that Bellamy was all but committed to Florida. His Facebook page was littered with pro-Gator stuff. He even declared himself as the next great Gator running back. But things seem to have changed a bit. It appears as though Florida’s depth chart is worrying Bellamy. UF’s backfield is already crowded with juniors Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, senior Emmanuel Moody and sophomore Mike Gillislee. True freshman Mack Brown will be on campus this fall. Bellamy would be stepping into another logjam situation as he would only be taking the place of Moody.

He wasn’t as upfront with me, but this is what Bellamy had to say about Florida to a few days ago: “I’m pretty much going to go where I can play and Florida is not the best place for that right now,” Bellamy said. “Too many people are trying to be Florida Gators. I’m not scared of competition because I know I can play and I have expectations to. I want to pretty much start and play early. That’s not possible there with Jeff, Chris Rainey and Mack Brown coming in with a couple other guys.”

This one isn’t over, in my opinion. Rainey could still consider jumping into the NFL Draft, so Bellamy might just need to wait it out. It is just February anyway.


  1. Good luck to Bellamy…wherever he ends up. But why does every high school senior list early PT as a major factor? It’s like they all have a disease like ADD. Most all top programs have a hole or two, but it’s still rare that a true freshman is gonna start right away. Patience seems to have disappeared in this instant-gratification society.

  2. Funny thing about Bellamy…he’s not scared of competition, yet he wants to play where he can start immediately? With that being said, it sounds like he wants to go play where there IS NO competition. Good luck with that!…this is big-boy Div. I football Bellamy…

  3. Rainey moved to the slot. They wont play the same position. So thats 2 slots opened up in the very year he will come in. And every major college he is considering will have 3-4 RB’s already on campus to compete with.

  4. Justin Trattou really started coming on last year and played well in the late games. He made the saving play of the game against South Carolina. I have never heard of him being involved with any kind of trouble and he has had to be patient in waiting for the starting job. I think he is really going to shine as a leader and player this year and we’re happy he is a Gator!

  5. Lots of good advice here, if only Bellamy and all the others would open their eyes (and stop listening to their homies?). ABC makes the point, and TampaDave’s got it dead right: I’m tired of these guys talking about how much playing time they’re looking for coming in. There’s plenty of opportunity for a runner with talent, drive and speed. If you’ve got the goods, you’ll get your chance–and in the spotlight on the biggest stage.

  6. Great stuff as usual, Ed! As long as you’re checking up on some players, have you had a chance to chat with James Wilder Jr.? That guy is a beast of a running back! would love to hear more about his interests as far as schools go.


    Class of 2002

  7. Don’t be scared of the competition Bellamy, especially if you think you are good enough to be a Gator. The cream will rise to the top. If there are five great backs at Florida, five great backs will play and be fresh therefore more effective when its your turn to perform. If you worry about scouts and the pros, they know talent when they see it, even if its in short burst. There are plenty players in the pros that were not starters, but played regularly for excellent teams. Being on such a talented team helps you get more exposure really. Great talented atheletes will not be afraid of the competition they welcome it because they know it will make them perform at their best. But on the other hand, all talented athletes are not mentally strong enough to handle that type of intense competition.

  8. When was the last time a true freshman running back started at any major program? Especially in the SEC! Listen Bellamy, the Gator Nation will wait to see how your senior year starts and then we will see if you are fortunate enough to get an offer. Then, you can decide if you want to play for one of the true “winners” in college football.

  9. hey fellas..

    great insight, but i think that you are missing the real issue at fl..even if bellamy is the real deal, he will be under -utilized, much like moody, demps, and rainey..he will get more carries in one year at another d1 school than any of the aforementioned UF backs will get in their isnt about competition, its about the number of times he will tote the rock during his career at uf..moody is an nfl caliber running back that, if you are honest with yourself, you would have to agree has been the under-utilized…in other words, he should have taken his show somewhere else if he wanted to become a featured back and showcase his skills…it is a slippery slope when you have too many great players..i think that is what
    what bellamy really means..

  10. It’s just rhetoric from Bellamy. If he goes 100% UF during the entire recruiting process he won’t get any love from the competition and all those princely free trips. Ignore this. It has nothing to do with PT. It’s a calculated recruiting move that will ultimately get him more exposure and fun stuff.

  11. Traatou is a senior already? Man, time flies.

    Bellamy needs to wake up and realize that all top programs have a lot of talent. That’s why they are top programs, after all. If he sees a team with space, he can rest assured they are looking to bring in several guys, and probably more next year. Early PT without beating out a bunch of really talented players is a mirage at any major school. Now, if he wants to go to the Sun Belt, sure, he can play for 4 years, but forget getting any TV time or winning any trophies.

    Now, those who bash the kids when they say stuff about wanting to play need to stop. These guys were all-stars in High School, they are used to being the focal point and getting all the attention. That step up to college is more than just physical, it’s a mindset change as well. Give the kid some time. Besides, if he doesn’t want to compete at UF, let him go elsewhere. I’d rather see the kid be happy on another team than have him miserable at UF.

  12. Justin T. is the man! When he was a sophmore I saw him block two guys trying to block a punt on the same play!

    Gators need all the 4-5 stars guys they can get, but high quality players like Justin T. are the glue!