Copeland, Jones not deterred by UF's internet critics: 'They don't know what the grind's like for us'

Graham Hall
Special to The Sun
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Florida wide receiver Jacob Copeland runs upfield Saturday against Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.

With the rise of social media, it’s become increasingly difficult for public figures to block out external noise, and the Florida football program is no exception when it comes to being the target of internet criticism. 

In the wake of UF’s 20-13 loss to Kentucky, those outside Florida’s locker room — fans, media, former players, etc. — continue to hypothesize what went wrong in Lexington, what the Gators must do next, and how the season will conclude for the program. 

Considering the season has yet to reach the midpoint, the predictions are just assumptions, and there’s an antiquated yet relevant adage regarding presumptuous people that seems applicable to the current situation in the eyes of the Gators.

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As he looks to help the Gators rebound from another loss in league play, Florida quarterback Emory Jones isn’t scrolling Twitter or browsing Facebook — he’s only minding those inside the program’s walls. 

“I never really let any of it get to me. I know what really is going on in this building. I know what’s really going on on the field. Nobody that’s saying anything on social media or anything knows any plays we’re running, barely knows any defense or coverages, or anything the defense is running, so they really don’t have the understanding of really anything that’s going on on the field,” Jones said. “So, I mean, I just stay to myself about all that. I never let anything like that get to me.”

Naturally, when Jones’ words made their way to social media, they were perceived as a shot against the Florida faithful, which includes former Gators. Shannon Snell, a former All-American who played for the program from 2000-2003, responded to Jones’ statement in apparent disbelief by posting several ellipses. He didn’t need to elaborate — Snell’s message clearly conveyed the sentiment that former players are on social media, so not every internet critic is unqualified when it comes to assessing the game, regardless of whether they’re watching on television or have a seat at the stadium. 

It’s not just Jones, however — his top pass-catching target, redshirt junior wide receiver Jacob Copeland, shares his sentiment. 

Copeland, who has the largest social media following on the team, has seen countless people weigh-in on his career to this point; whether it’s his Signing Day ceremony on ESPN, his on-the-field play, or how he dresses, Copeland’s heard and read it all on social media. 

The outside noise is just that — noise. They’re not privy to what happens inside the building, and the Gators know it. 

Facebook outages aside, social media isn’t going away anytime soon, and the rise of these platforms has high-profile athletes and the average fan in agreement on one aspect: it’s up to each individual to filter out the relevant from the irrelevant. 

“I feel like I don’t take it as a hard thing, and a lot of people on the team don’t take it as a hard thing, because it’s a fact that a lot of those people who say this and that about us not out there Monday through Friday grinding with us on the practice field, and they don’t know what we go through each and every day as a team,” Copeland said. “They don’t know what the grind’s like for us, so with that being said I just leave that out there. They gonna discuss what they gonna discuss, because at the end of the day they not in our shoes.”

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