A First Time for Everything

It might not be much, but opening one day of Fall practice is one of several things that may be leading to an open relationship between Florida head football coach Will Muschamp and the fans / media that follow him and his program. When Muschamp took the stand and was introduced as Florida's head coach, most fans wanted to like the guy. Now he's starting to give more reasons to do that.

I like many don't expect to see a whole lot of what we will see on September 1st when the Gators take on Bowling Green in The Swamp. But when practice is open Saturday for the first fall practice a all under Will Muschamp, a little barrier between the public and the team will be lifted.

They won't be showing us any of their trick plays and we will likely get to see a lot of backups doing work. Heck, they may even do drills for two hours and not really show much of how they line up on offense or defense.

And that is okay.

All those fans years ago that lined the sidelines at practice in the spring and the couple of weeks of fall practice that used to be open under previous coaches can have their one day to see what the program is all about… and that is the players.

The media and public are handicapped to a great extent by the rules put in front of us in what we can and cannot cover. Namely we can't cover even a minute or two of practice.

Sometimes that could be all it takes to bring back to the masses a little tidbit of what is in store this season or a nugget about any of the dozens of favorite gators they may have. Joe Football has gained 20 pounds and it's all in the right places. Watching a warm up drill, Fred Touchdown looks like he has shed some unwanted pounds and is excited to be out there.

Some of us just want to see with our own eyes how big Matt Jones (left) is compared to the other backs.

It isn't an interception or a hard hit, but it is something. And maybe it is all we get on Saturday for two hours. But hey, it is something and it is a change in the right direction.

I for one understand the secrecy of keeping the people out. In this day of cell phone video recorders and the instant access people have to the Internet anyone and anything can show whatever happens on the practice field zipped across the world in no time at all. It isn't just about secret plays and what the team will do on the field. No mother or father that might be half of a continent away wants to find out about a serious injury to their son via someone posting something on Twitter and odds are any early reports are going to be wrong.

But, we just want to see a little, and we are getting that. It is one of many significant steps Muschamp and his program have made at least since the end of a relatively miserable 7-6 season.

We also got to see two days of spring ball, albeit in shorts. Still, it was a beginning to what we will see on Saturday.

Give Muschamp credit also for cleaning up the image of Florida football that has been tarnished lately from off the field issues involving the law. I am knocking on wood as I type this with one hand, but there have been no arrests this entire summer from a program that has spent a good part of the last several years on the police blotter.

In my opinion that is no accident. Not every one that has transferred out of Florida had criminal intent, but a hand full of the biggest problem children are no longer with the program and that isn't by accident.

Recruiting is going well and even in the current recruiting class being formed Muschamp and company seem to be able to weed out the problem children. Oh, he can't publicly say his side of the story, but the stories are out there for those that care that much about them.

He took steps to make sure his squad isn't making idiots of themselves via social media as well. His players aren't banned from Twitter and the like, but they are not allowed to talk football, including their opponents and they have to behave. The general perception of his squad in terms of the social media sphere is of a fun loving group that seems to care about one another. That they are allowed to do it at all shows a level of trust with his players.

What's left? Just win. And that may mean keeping practices closed from this point forward. And I as well as those that follow the team because they care a great deal about it should be okay with that.

I am just glad we now get a glimpse every once in a while even once a fall. I am glad there is a first time and hopefully it is a glimpse of more to come in the future.

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