If it seems like Florida's 2013 season was a long time ago, that's partly because it was. No bowl game meant no extension of the Gators' season beyond November for the first time in a long, long while, and so we were left with a literal winter of our discontent.
But it also seems longer because nothing happened.
Seriously, since the December 26 hiring of Kurt Roper and the January 6 hiring of Mike Summers, very little of importance has happened for Florida, aside from what's happened on the recruiting trail. And since National Signing Day, the list is even shorter. I'd write it like this:
- Joker Phillips resigns, with NCAA clouds on him; Chris Leak promoted to replace him.
- Jake McGee announces transfer to Florida.
- Jalen Tabor cited for marijuana possession.
- Vernon Hargreaves III injured, in fight at Florida practice.
That's only four things! The third-most consequential thing was a player getting cited for possession, which was so important that it didn't get reported until two months after the fact! The fourth-most consequential thing was Hargreaves sustaining a minor injury after an inconsequential brawl! (Forced to add a fifth event, I would go with either Sheriron Jones committing or the SEC Network launching.)
But this has been a very quiet offseason compared to Florida's slog through 2013's dog days. Here's a quick, off-the-top-of-my-head list of individual, non-recruiting events the Gators went through last year before their first game week:
- Antonio Morrison gets arrested twice, including one arrest that made national headlines before later being rescinded, and is suspended.
- Jeff Driskel has emergency appendectomy, misses most of fall practice.
- Matt Jones hospitalized with mysterious viral infection, misses all of fall practice.
- Chaz Green tears labrum, is ruled out for 2013 season.
- Andre Debose tears ACL, is ruled out for 2013 season.
- Matt Rolin tears ACL, is ruled out for 2013 season.
- Jon Halapio tears pectoral muscle, is ruled out for first few games of 2013 season.
- Aaron Hernandez investigated and arrested on murder charges.
Not only is any one of those things a genuinely big deal, bigger than anything that happened to Florida in 2014 save for Phillips stepping down, they all happened before Florida ever played a game. I try not to lend too much credence to "tumult" or "turmoil" narratives, because I think they mostly serve to stoke fires that would not exist in a vacuum free of news media, but those were all substantial events with material impacts on the Gators, except for perhaps Hernandez's arrest ... which still forced Florida to make physical changes to erase his legacy as best as it could.
Injuries are more important than arrests, mostly, at least in determining a team's fate. (The ickiness of that sentence is not lost on me!) For both injury and non-injury reasons, 37 FBS teams have lost a returning starter since May, per Phil Steele, who has a comprehensive list of injuries and other stuff for you to scroll and scroll and scroll through if you want.
Florida isn't one of them.
Teams can have turbulent offseasons and play well; teams can have pacific offseasons and implode. There's no 1:1 correlation here. But given the choice as a fan, I'll take the quiet offseason every time, even if that makes my job as a writer harder.
I love the silence.
In case you're wondering about how the math on these is going to work out: Six today, five each day through Friday, and one long one on Saturday. I will not fail ... this time.