clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What do you want to read about the Florida Gators?

New, 150 comments

♫ 'Cause I got a blank blog bay-bee / And I'll write your post ♫

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

You may have noticed that there's been nothing to notice around here of late.

I'm sorry about that. Really, I am. But I don't know what to write.

This is a weird time for Florida, in that "content creation" (a euphemism for "putting something up so that people click around"), rather than analysis, is what is easiest.

I could have written about Gators being named to All-SEC and All-America teams, and may yet round all of those honors up, but those honors do not matter, or matter, or even "matter." What good comes from Vernon Hargreaves III being named to the All-SEC team? Is Florida prouder of him today than it was last Friday? Do recruits suddenly realize he's really good at playing football because coaches or media members made him so?

Those teams, even SB Nation's own snazzily-done All-America team, are done less for the players' benefits than the team creators' benefits. The players get honored with useless laurels; the laurel-givers get authority from it. Knowing that game, and knowing how difficult it is to do the job of figuring out who is actually deserving of the honors, makes me a little less inclined to care too much about them.

I could write about Jim McElwain recruiting, but, frankly, the news on the recruiting trail is more like "news" at this point. We got our biggest piece of that today, with McElwain reportedly, per Blake Alderman of Rivals ($), telling a JUCO tackle from Arizona, Brandon Petrine, that Mike Summers would be retained as Florida's offensive line coach.

But we have to filter that through what "retained" might mean. Summers is still under contract, and under contract through the 2015 season, but coaches have been "retained" only through the bowl game or National Signing Day before, and Summers has held five jobs since 2007; it's not as if he's a Florida lifer. I think Florida should retain Summers, and I'll probably write a post about which coaches to retain and let go for next week, but that's just me opining, and I don't want to waste your time with too much of that if there's analysis to do.

The rest of the recruiting "news" has to be taken with a grain of salt, considering that McElwain's efforts, whether in signing materials Drew Hughes puts in front of him to sign or meeting prospects for the first time, may well mean less to this recruiting class than Will Muschamp's did.

McElwain has been Florida's coach for a little over a week now, and so he's about 200 weeks behind in terms of recruiting, which both he ("Recruit daily or die") and Muschamp ("Recruiting's like shaving: If you don't do it every day, you look like a bum") admit is a daily grind.

And while people like to think that new coaches and "momentum" and "pitches" sell players on playing for schools, there is simply no substitute for relationship-building in recruiting. It's part of why Muschamp, after a 4-8 season, still landed a top-10 Class of 2014: He was a master recruiter, trusted by coaches and parents alike, and had lieutenants who were as good or better, plus he had two or three years to ingratiate himself with anyone he needed to sway.

McElwain has two months.

And while McElwain can and will lean on the relationships developed by Summers and Travaris Robinson and D.J. Durkin and Brad Lawing and other Florida coaches, his own "relationships," at least with the Class of 2015, are going to be based largely on initial impressions, not time and repeated conversations. Florida could still land several five-stars and big names that it wants, and McElwain will be an integral part in that, but those players, we should note, have been leaning to Florida, and not to McElwain.

And while I'm sure he'll work feverishly to build a sizable class with National Signing Day just weeks away, Coach Mac's recruiting will be more about laying the foundation for future classes.

The future, really, is the thing we could analyze most, and Ian Boyd did a really good job of that in his post on what Florida's likely to run, schematically, under McElwain. (It's pinned to our cover now.) But we can get the future wrong: Boyd (and the rest of us, really) swung and missed when forecasting what Kurt Roper would bring to Florida, and that was with the benefit of film from a team (Duke) and system (David Cutcliffe's) that has been well-known for quite some time; McElwain's offense at Colorado State has been on a cable channel that isn't hidden on the highest tier (ROOT Sports, CBS Sports, the Mountain West Network) three times in 2014.

We'll review what McElwain's done in Fort Collins, too, but there's simply a lot of unknowns, and I'd rather analyze and produce informed analysis than speculate. And that takes time.

So, in the interim, with Florida players of all kinds taking exams (bowl preparation hasn't started yet) and Florida's new coach playing the getting-to-know-you game on the recruiting trail, there's just not much to write about substantively. Other bloggers can do a better job of filling those blank spaces with pablum for you, and do; I do a terrible job with that, and hate it.

I want to write things that you want to read, or plan out series that you might enjoy, or, really, produce something that is worth the investment of my time and yours. Aggregating All-America lists and/or embedding airy, meaningless tweets from recruits ain't that.

So I turn this over to you. What would you like to read? Tell me in the comments. I'm listening.