Hey, steal from success.
There are now 50 days left until Florida football's first game of the 2011 season, a date with Florida Atlantic in The Swamp on September 3. And that means we have just enough time for 50 For 50, our comprehensive countdown of the reasons to be excited about the Gators entering the 2011 season.
Each day between now and that opening kickoff, we'll give you a different reason to be stoked about the prospect of fast, skilled, strong, and occasionally mean young men suiting up in that blue, white, and orange this fall. It's going to be fun, it's going to be well-done, and it's going to be the sort of thing that gets you wishing the countdown had fewer items so the season could get here faster.
We start with reason No. 50: Swagger must be earned.
I'm borrowing that phrase, in part, from commenter Chuck Meyer, who made this astute observation the other day:
This should serve to be a major motivating factor to the Gator squad….gone is the automatic respect that came with two national championships. any swagger now must be earned.
All SEC will mean something. Expect to see a big change when they hand out the awards.
That was mostly about Jaye Howard being snubbed for preseason All-SEC honors, but it's true of the entirety of this Florida team that will looking to prove something with every game this season.
Does John Brantley want to be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft? He has to prove his worth. Does Chris Rainey want to wear that No. 1 that belonged to Percy Harvin with pride? He needs to put together a full season of dynamism. Do Matt Elam, Ronald Powell, Dominique Easley, Andre Debose, and the rest of the young crop of players with far-off horizons want to make themselves stars? They must play well to do so.
It's much easier, in my experience, to root for a team that has far to go than one that has been to the mountaintop. This year's Gators are the former, and will be earning their swagger from September on.