Have Gators bridged the great divide?

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Anyone who spent any time around the Florida football team in the fall could see and sense the friction between the senior leaders and some of the highly rated true freshmen.

The freshmen felt they should be playing more, and should not be treated like freshmen. The seniors did not like the attitude and sense of entitlement the freshmen brought with them when they arrived on campus.

As a result, a significant divide developed within the team in the preseason and early in the season. With that, team chemistry sort of blew up in the Gators’ faces in what would become a disappointing five-loss season.

Several months later, under a new coaching staff, some of those true freshmen who are now sophomores say the past has been forgotten, chemistry on the team is good again and the Gators are ready to move forward into a new season.

“That’s the past,” outside linebacker Ronald Powell said when asked about the tension last season between the freshmen and seniors. “We’re great now. We have great chemistry now, and it’s getting better.

“Playing the game of football, you just naturally do it. You’ve got to depend on the guys in front of you, the guys beside you and the guys behind you, too. It’s just coming together and being a team.”

One true freshman who really seemed to struggle with his attitude last fall  was defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who came across as a “me kind of guy” to some of the older players. Easley was so troubled at one point that he seriously considered leaving the team.

Easley is now listed first on the depth chart at defensive tackle and, by all accounts, his attitude has significantly improved.

“He’s my roommate. My brother, actually,” true sophomore defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd said. “I take care of him, he takes care of me. I look after him, he looks after me.

“I know he’s a lot more focused than last year, and I guess he’s seeing the big picture now.”

The big picture seems to be this: buy into the team thing because it’s the only way to succeed.

“We know we all have to work together to be where want to be, in Atlanta at the end of the season with a chance to win the national championship,” true sophomore outside linebacker Gerald Christian said.

59 COMMENTS

  1. A division between the seniors and freshmen is not what casued our f loss 2010 season, it was a complete collapse on the part of the coaching staff. The fact that Steve Addazio was basically handed over most of this team’s operations by Meyer while he sat back and watched is what the main problem was.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with the comment above. Meyer and staff gave up for reasons that may or may not be justified. A persons health is always important, but the answer to most of the Gator nation should have been to step down and hand the reins to others. Dragging it out an additional season was poor judgement. Actually the walls started to crumble when Mullen left. Became a slow spiral. Hopefully the future will be promising now that we are back on track.

  3. I couldn’t disagree more with the first two comments above. The problem last year began with 5 injuries to our offensive line rotation whcih forced Meyer and company to abandon the pro style offense they had worked on in the spring. The spread offense was what they fell back on. This is what they knew. Unfortunately, we did not have Percy Harvin and Tim Tebow to run it. Adazio is a good coach and Meyer gave everything he could to the program. This is a new team this year… And I’m looking forward to the next championship, but I will not look back on last year as a collapse from the previoucoaching staff. Those guys will go down in history of some of the best ever.

  4. I sure was glad when Urban returned for last year. We all wanted him to stay. No doubt we were not the same without Charlie Strong and Dan Mullen (not to mention Timmy) and Urban had to chill out due to stress/health issues. And yes, our scheme did not fit the players. The poor chemistry between our great class and the seniors was also a factor, but not the big reason for our struggles. All of this is in the past, and we can let it go. Meyer, Addazzio, Strong, Mullen and the great players we had gave us quite the run and a couple NCs. Let’s move on and support the new staff, that appear to have the energy and motovation of our old staff in the earlier years, and the new players. Let’s hope they can match the success of the last group!

  5. The seniors on last year’s team were so successful that it was a threat to them to see young guys getting attention that they feel they had earned through tenure. However, the fact that these freshman were so much better than what we had should have been embraced instead of patronized for thier talent and confidence. Now that the drama is over, maybe these freshman will have the chance to live up to the hype, and maybe even back up some of those boast that they were making last year…We will see! Go Gators!

  6. Why is there always someone who wants to re-direct the topic of the article so they can take another cheap shot at the man who brought home 2 crystal trophies??? Let’s not buy into the national media – who only mention facts at their convenience – and remember that MEYER DIDN’T ASK FOR THE LEAVE OF ABSENCE! The Prez and AD asked Meyer to reconsider. In hindsight, it didn’t work so well, but give the guy credit for trying to make it work!

    We have a new coaching staff in place. Can we move on??? Or MAYBE WE SHOULD TAKE A TRIP TO MAMBY-PAMBY LAND WHERE MAYBE YOU CAN GET SOME SELF CONFIDENCE, YA JACKWAGON!!!

  7. “which forced Meyer and company to abandon the pro style offense they had worked on in the spring.”

    WHAT??! On what basis do you have to say that?? Yeah, players got injured, but at no point in any part of last season (pre or during) was there an ounce of pro style attack being implemented. That is the most absurd comment I’ve read on here in a while. Are you a family member of one of the previous coach staff?

  8. Gatorboi35, I have read numerous articles over the course of this past season which listed injuries to the offensive line being a dominant factor in the coaching staff abandoing the “new offense” and sticking with what they knew, the spread. Now to be fair, this was never going to be a “pro style offense” and they made it very clear that the option was there to stay. But from previous articles that i’ve read, it seems there was going to be a “new offense” and and unusual amount of injuries in the pre-season derailed it.

  9. I 100% agree with gatorbread. 2010 is over. The Urban Meyer era is over. He had great success, things fell apart at the end, that’s just the way it is. The players and coaches are embracing the new era, from the early enrollees to the #1 sophomore class to the seniors who have rings. It’s time the fans did the same. Go Gators!

  10. i will cherrish the EM years FOREVER
    he & spurrier brought gator football to natl level
    UM did not foresee what happened as a result of passing authority.
    that was his error. he would not fire his friends, so he retired. i give him credit as a man for that.
    todd- correct coaching was the problem
    crazy- so what is your excuse for adazio for 09 offence?
    davido-did you not see how bad fr DL played?
    lots of high profile HS players go thru it. note USC players
    they will be fine this year

    this is new era the WM years & I for one am on board. 1sy year will be rough then watch out.

  11. Meyer should take a lot of blame. Not just Adazzio.

    Meyer for years wanted a bell cow running game, trying to make Moore into one, bringing in Moody.

    His #1 mandate was run run run.

    When Rainey and Demps emerged thanks to freakish athletes like Tebow and Harvin, they appeared set.

    However, first with Harvin then Tebow departing, the weaknesses really stood out.

    Meyer wanted a running game to control the clock, Adazzio followed. It’s Meyer’s job to notice if something is not working and advise his underlings how to proceed.

    Let’s not give Meyer a full pass because of 2005-2009 as 2010 was mostly on him.

  12. “crazy- so what is your excuse for adazio for 09 offence?”

    The yards per play were on par with 2008. The problem is, Florida did not develop any true receivers to fill in for Harvin and Murphy so the field shortened and it became very evident in the red zone.

    I would pin it on Billy Gonzalez more than Adazzio – he was the playcaller and the receivers coach. He’s the guy who got passed over because he was too tight with the players. It’s also RUMORED he intentionally sabotaged the offense to spite Meyer for giving it to Adazzio.

  13. Guys- let’s move forward. We should be talking about the excitement and intensity that the players and coaches have now!! Even if we would have won the whole thing last year, you have to let last year go.

  14. Addazio was worthless as the OC. I specifically remember in the loss to LSU seeing him JUST SITTING THERE with the O-linemen watching the game. None of the backs or receivers were even listening to him. He wasn’t getting in their faces, coaching them up, going over plays, trying to draw up a new game plan… Nothing! He was spectating! And to me that is completely unacceptable… And while I won’t bad mouth Urban, I will say I was disappointed with his coaching last year. However, after two National Championships, he gets a pass. The biggest disappointment? Assigning Adazzio as OC, and then for not adjusting when Adazzio was ineffective. Good Luck Temple!

    This year will be better I think… I look forward to the changes on the Gator team AND seeing Urban on ESPN.

  15. wow! instead if looking to this exciting season, you folks sure love to argue..
    A wise man once said that when you sling mud on each other, not only do you get dirty but you lose alot of ground. Lets shelve the trivia & get off of last years crap.. THIS year is much too exciting & important….going to be fun again ! ! ! (if you’ll let it) And no whining if we start a little slow . this team is going nowhere but up.. work em silly Gators ! ! !

  16. Second Paragraph: “The freshmen felt they should be playing more, and should not be treated like freshmen. The seniors did not like the attitude and sense of entitlement the freshmen brought with them when they arrived on campus.”

    1. I agree with the freshmen, they should have been treated as members of the Florida team and not be classified by their years of experience.

    2. It just seems odd to me that the seniors from last year thought the freshmen had a sense of entitlement. Aren’t these the same seniors that had a “Sense of Entitlement” as freshmen back in ’07?

  17. This is great to hear. I’m excited to see what these young kids can do on defense. We know they have the talent, and it sounds like the coaches are getting them in the right mindset. Last time I checked, the 201 season is in the books, and the coaches in charge are no longer here. I for one will always fondly remember the Meyer years, but can we move on now fellas? It looks to me like coach Muschamp and his staff have a new team for us to be plenty excited about…Go Gators.

  18. Gator-Todd is right ‘on the money’. Urban Myer and most likely the entire coaching staff failed the team, the fans and all those who support Gator football. In the end, UM was the guy collecting millions under the guise of being the head coach at UF, while Addazio was in fact ‘the man’. UM’s latest ‘retirement’ was a good thing. Let him go and take his hapless ‘spread offense’ with him. Looking back, Dan Mullen was more important to Gator football success than UM.

  19. It’s almost an annual Spring ritual to blather on about how “this year’s” team is so much closer than last year’s, that there is a renewed sense of togetherness, how last year the seniors and stud juniors were more focused on the NFL than winning, and on and on. I’m pretty sure we read this same article last year. In the end, it all adds up to nothing. Practice hard, play smart, win games, and everyone is happy. Jimmy Buffet says “yesterday’s over my shoulder, so I can’t look backward too long”. So true. Steve and Urban both left a great legacy; now clam up and go play for the new coach, and let’s “Go Gators”. Things will be fine.

  20. EDDIE, I have no problem with you disagreeing with my comment, but all-in-all, it’s fact.

    Where were all these injuries when we were struggling with minus rushing yards in the first half against Miami, Ohio?

    Miami, Ohio!

    We had a fully complimented, nearly all-senior OL, Demps and all the RB’s and almost every offensive player healthy. What was the excuse against Miami, Ohio? Whaty about the first half struggling against South Florida? Then the outright blow-out against Bama?

    The injury excuse is bogus. Sure, it played a role some later in the season, but lets face it, when our offense remianed in the hands of Addazio, (who had been fired as OC after his first year as OC at Indiana before), we were destined to see this team fail last year.

    the coaching simply wasn’t there, nor was the team operations coordinationing or the leadership within the coaching staff.

    I got tired of Addazio’s cionstant buck-passing and excuse-making.

  21. CG, Addazio didn’t bring home ANY NC’s as our OC, nor a single SEC Title.

    Hevesey was Ol coach in our first SEC and NC Title run under Meyer anyway. SA was OL in 2008, and that’s where he should have stayed too.

    That said, I understand the other poster about “dredging this up again”, but to suggest that our primary problem last year was a divide between the frosh and seniors? No, it wasn’t. The problem was a complete collapse and lack of leadership and coordination by our coaching staff.

    2010 falls squarely on the shoulders of Urban Meyer, because he was the HBc and he made all the calls for the program.

  22. Now Children! Lets just wait to see how Coach M does this year. Last year, is last year. We have lots of studs on this team. We will be fine. We are all spoiled and will be spoiled again. I can still remember Charlie Pell’s first year.

  23. People who blame the five loss season on coach soley on coach Meyer are out of touch with reality. Urban was obviously pressured into returning despite his health. Comments like the ones written here may be a HUGE reason Urban left. APPRECIATE people!!! The criticism he received after every game on the G.R.N. was foolish and uncalled for. Addazio was a big part of our offensive failures, but a divide between pre-madonna freshman and proven championship seniors is a much bigger issue than constant dive plays. CHEMISTRY is what the sport is all about!!!

  24. Gator Todd… maybe you should be more informed…

    Read this for an explanation on how the injuries that occurred affected the use of a Pro-Style offense that had been implemented by the coaches for Brantley…

    http://www.onlygators.com/page/4/

    There was so much more to last year’s failures than just Meyer’s LOA and Addazio’s “incompetence.” But since people like you just LOVE to assign blame, despite how useless that is for anything, I figure you should at least be completely informed about what brought on the complete adherence to the Spread last year despite the puzzle pieces not fitting.

  25. Defense will be the key to success this year. The offense will need some time to get on track — perhaps another year.

    We’ve heard alot about Easley and Powell so far, but what about Chris Martin, the transfer from California? The guy is supposed to be a B-E-A-S-T! Is he even at camp?

  26. Some comments need to get their facts straight:

    MEYER DID NOT selfishly “stick around” for an extra year. He tried to leave a year earlier; it was Gator Nation (specifically: Foley & Machen) that begged him to stay another year.

  27. As already said, last year is in the rear view mirror. My old high school coach told us once ” you have to lose to appreciate winning.” We bewen there and done that. Let’s face it, why Powell wasn’t starting ahead of lemmons is a mystery. Meyer gave certain players squatter’s rights to their position. Maybe those days are in the rear view mirror as well. Go Gators!

  28. Urban Meyer is a gator for life, and TRUE gators will LOVE URBAN for life!!!!
    _________________________________________________________
    Right on bro. Time to move on to the next chapter in the book of Gator football. I for one, am extremely excited about the possibilities. GO GATORS!!!

  29. I played football with the gators after the 96 national title to 1998. I can say unequivocally say that the downfall of the gators then was due to a division amongst the players. Hell, no one like Doug Johnson. Jesse Palmer was the true quarterback that worked his butt off. When the team isn’t on the same page, there is no success. It is good to hear that the players are now all together. I expect good things now that they have each other’s backs. Go Gators!

  30. URBAN MEYER IS A GENUINE PERSON WITH HIS DEVOTION IN ALL THE RIGHT THINGS!! MEDIA MADE HIM OUT TO BE SLEAZY WHEN HE WAS FRONTLINING THE ATTACK ON ILLEGAL RECRUITING (WHICH IS A SIGNIFICANT FACTOR IN HIS LEAVING). FEEBLE AND CASUAL FANS MAKE HIM OUT TO BE WHAT RUINED OUR PROGRAM WHEN HE TOOK IT TO A WHOLE OTHER LEVEL AND GAVE THE TRUE GATOR NATION AND I SOME OF THE BEST MEMORIES OF OUR LIVES. DON’T EVEN BRING FOOTBALL UP WHEN THE MANS GREATEST DESIRES ARE TO BE THERE FOR HIS FAMILY AND SALVAGE WHAT YEARS HE HAS LEFT OF HIS KIDS CHILDHOOD. URBAN MEYERS PRIORITIES ARE WELL IN ORDER WHILE I SEE THAT MANY OTHERS ARE FAR OUT OF WHACK! GO GATORS!!!

  31. Meyer did he program a favor by staying another year. he kept the recruiting class together, and gave Foley a year to find a replacement.

    Coaching was a problem last season. It was obvious something was wrong with the team from the start.

    Can’t wait to see this year’s team, though i believe the Gators are a year away from being back to where we all want them to be.

  32. Yeah last years team was fishy from the beginning with the Urban situation, Injuries, the spats between players. Buttt this year’s team is going to show their true potential! I could see a 9 or 10 win season for sure…Go Gators!!

  33. “injuries…forced Meyer and company to abandon the pro style offense they had worked on in the spring. The spread offense was what they fell back on.” – Crazy Eddie

    Eddie, you must’ve been privy to some other news conference or secret coaches meetings, as well as practice that nobody else witnessed. I never heard a peep or watched any practice that supports what you allege. Provide a valid source, or be gone with that fiction.

  34. Steve Addazio is an excellent offensive line coach and recruiter. He has great passion for football, and it shows. However, he is not an offensive coordinator, and this showed in a big way last year. He would have our small fast running backs do dive plays over and over again, against some of the best defensive lines in the SEC. Without a true power back, dive plays make no sense, especially when they fail over and over again. The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again, yet generating the same results. Addazio had no creativity – you have to keep them guessing on defense, mix it up, act like a general and play chess, not poker.

  35. The vehement denials that there was anything out of the ordinary about the Frosh/Veteran conflict on this team are not being heard anymore.

    Team was split and esprit de corps was gone from the get go. The players saw and responded to the delegation Meyer imposed, and it emasculated his leadership when later it was called on to try to save the season.

  36. Doug, “children”? LOL I’m 45 btw. 😉 Now, I understand the mentality though, that some Gators think we should lock-step and goose-step along and never question the coaches. My personal mantra is to never bash the players themselves, but the coaches are open to critcism if it’s fair and on target. I love everything Urban Meyer did for our program, but in his last season at UF, he allowed personal feelings and friendship with Addazio to play a huge role in his $4 million a year job as HBC. There was no “divide” between our frosh and seniors. That’s just a lot of the regular sensationalism and filler-hype by the Sun’s sports staff. Last year’s failure was a complete failure of the coaching staff, period.

  37. GTodd… EVEN THE PLAYERS admitted there was a DIVIDE between some of the frosh and the seniors… do you actually pay attention to more than just the articles in the GSUN?

    You seem to discount everything BUT the idea that it was all on the coaches. We will NEVER know everything that goes on in the locker rooms and hallways of the Florida Football program. And that’s as it should be. We are not entitled to that info for lots of reasons. But the fact is, there were all kinds of injuries before the year got started that put the coaches in the position of scrambling for ideas to scrape out wins. We lost our Fullback(necessary for pro-style offense) we lost one of our TE’s and had a switched QB for our starter. We had a couple major injuries and several minor injuries that left us with a patchwork, banged up OL right from the beginning of fall camp.

    YES… I think Addazio’s ability as a coordinator is suspect, but it was NOT the only reason for the problems. And I will not begrudge Meyer a single moment, because he came back at the request of the administration, and allowed Foley to get one of the great young coaches in the business to take over the reins.

    Be grateful and thankful for what we have and what Meyer and company did for this program. And now… move forward! let go of your bitterness and look on this program with fresh eyes.

  38. Man-oh-man! There seem to be a bunch of posts on here from people who can REALLY identify the qualities / shortcomings of previous coaching staff! Not that I diagree with everyone’s comments…a bunch of them make sense. What I’d love to see is these same “Reflectarians” (that’s a new word…I just made it up…I need to get a patent on it, quick!) start talking about the strengths and weaknesses of the new coaching staff. I don’t know nearly as much about them, and I’d love to have some super coach-following posters start making predictions about what we MAY see in the future! I LOVE this football team and this University. I’m ready for some relevant buzz about what we have to work with now! Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

  39. I’m excited about everything orange and blue next year. my only concern is the depth chart on the offense line. who we could possibly get for the offensive line for next year it seems like this is the only year we need to worry about. I expect great things to come and I cannot wait !

    go gators!

  40. I don’t think we have to worry about that, for two reasons the young kids have grown up and the older kids have moved on. I believe the younger ones realized that “it’s a different world (college game) from where they came from, and that’s good. They now can teach that lesson to the next ALL WORLD GIANT that walks through the SWAMP doors.