It's a great time to live in Gainesville, FL right now. The University of Florida is gearing up for another fantastic season of college football. The team, coached by Will Muschamp, is coming off a bad 2013 season and focusing on drafting the right team as they get ready for another year.
Compared to the year before where the Gators had an 11-win season, last year's 4-8 season included 7 straight losses in a row. ”To me, more than anything, is focus in the now, not in the what if. We can’t get into the what-ifs of life. Let’s just get into the now, and that’s going to help us as we move forward,” said Coach Mushamp. Quarterback Jeff Driskel said "I think we're coming around as a team. I see a lot of guys who are embarrassed about last year and are ready to get back on track and win some games because we know that the Florida Gators aren't supposed to be a 4-8 program."
To this end, Mushamp has put in the work to build one of the best teams in all of college football. Will Grier is considered a 4-Star player and top of the 2014 class. He has signed as backup quarterback to the Gators. Though Driskel is expected to return from his injury, Grier is a strong backup to help support the team and may see a few games this season. In the running back position the Gators picked up Barndon Powell from Deerfield Beach. Powell is known as a versatile player who also played cornerback in high school. He's 5'9" and "a blur to defenders who are trying to tackle him." His speed will be a great asset to the team.
On the other side of the coin, Cody Riggs, a key player who started 12 games for the Gators last season told Mushamp that he intends to finish up in May then transfer to another school for his last year of eligibility. Riggs was 4th on the team last year with 51 tackles in 2013.
The sport and the school are key to the Gainesville community which relies upon both to boost the local economy. The population surges to over 125,000 every year due to the influx of students moving to the area. Local businesses benefit greatly from the extra traffic and college pride is abundant throughout the city. As the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium fills for games, local restaurants, parking facilities and gas stations benefit the most. However other seemingly unrelated businesses also get a boost from the surge. With thousands of extra vehicles on Gainesville's roads, traffic and auto accident attorneys are raking in the cash as out-of-state drivers just want to get home and not deal with Florida traffic laws.
So will the 2014 season turn otu to be the saving grace the Gators hope for? We certainly hope so as a lot rides on their success. Being such a nationally observed team, the entire community, including the student body, counts on having a winning group of players.