There are 12 days until Florida's football opener against Florida Atlantic on September 3. There are 24 entries remaining in our 50 For 50 series. You do the math. And check out Alligator Army's 50 For 50 series for more of our 50 reasons to be excited for Florida football in 2011.
You have read whining here and elsewhere about Florida closing fall practices. As part of the larger trend toward selective access, it's frustrating; as a way to ensure that media members have plenty of potshots to take, it's unwise. But as a move designed to prioritize football — which, fairly, is what Florida should do — it's savvy, especially because Will Muschamp seems to be using closed practices effectively.
The Orlando Sentinel's Rachel George wondered as much on Monday, while parsing this quote and trying to figure out if rumors about the Gators installing a Wildcat package had any merit.
"That’s why we’ve closed everything," (Muschamp) said. "I do think it’s an advantage for us this season not to show. What is Charlie doing? Is he doing what he did at Notre Dame? Kansas City? New England? How is he using this guy? This guy? This guy? This guy? This guy? We put a wild rumor out there about wildcat. So defensively, are we doing Dan Quinn or Will Muschamp? Are we 3-4 or are we 4-3? I don’t know. That’s why we’ve closed things."
This is how football teams surprise other football teams, with added wrinkles and withheld information. It's why teams in the NFL scooping up players from divisional rivals is always met with knowing winks, why having a coordinator arrive from a rival school brings storylines about "knowing the playbook forward and backward," and why, ultimately, teams close practice if they can get away with it.
You don't have to like closed practices. But you might very well love the results.