Things didn’t go as planned Saturday in The Swamp, but that doesn’t mean everything was bad on the weekend. With weather wreaking havoc on playing conditions the Florida game against Idaho was “suspended” with dozens of thousands of Gator fans waiting around for hours to finally see just one play. The game didn’t happen, but there some folks impressed.
St. Pete (Fla.) Lakewood athlete Ryan Davis made the trek to Gainesville Saturday because he wanted to see the Florida offense in action. Recruited to Florida as a slot receiver, the talk since offensive Kurt Roper’s hire at Florida was how much the Florida offense would be improved, and especially in the passing game.
A lot of lightning and rain that led to a three hour delay and we still only had a single kickoff in the game before officials and the athletic directors at both schools decided that continuing any further could be hazardous to the wellbeing of the players involved. It was something Davis has never had to deal with in high school.
That left prospects like Davis at the event that really wanted to see how this new Florida offense without the chance. But, in turn they got a chance to view the program and the atmosphere in a whole different light.
“The atmosphere was pretty fun,” Davis said by phone the next day. “It was just a fun experience. We didn’t see a game but the fans were perfect, you saw the loyalty… the coaching staff. Everything was so hyped.”
The fans that stayed, maybe half that were there in the beginning, were really into it when everyone thought things would get rolling three hours late.
“They were real loud,” Davis said of the fans in the stands. “It was the loudest I have heard the Swamp and everyone wasn’t even in there.”
And the prospects didn’t miss any of the personal time they were going to get with the staff.
“Coach Muschamp was saying he was hoping I could see the offense live and see the position I would be playing,” Davis said of Florida’s head coach. “He wanted me to see everything they do at the slot. He said that I was a priority for him and they need someone explosive in the slot.
Florida is putting the full court press on Davis, with several coaches including Muschamp, Roper, receiver coach Chris Leak, defensive back coach Travaris Robinson, and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin letting him know how important he is.
“I am just building my relationship with Coach Roper, Coach Leak, Coach T-Rob, and Coach Durkin, everyone,” he said.
A side effect of not having the game allowed the staff to insist that Davis make a return trip next week to see the offense. Davis said that they really didn’t have to ask.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he said. “I will probably come back because I want to see a game.”
He will be back again and for an official visit. He says he will also head to Tallahassee to see Florida State take on Clemson soon and then any out of state trips will be official visits. He is still up in the air about other trips.
One of the big things that Davis has taken notice of at Florida is how many of the local area players are playing a great deal or expected to in 2014. But on Saturday, the atmosphere was just surprising to him given the circumstances.
“The coaches and the fans and how no matter what the situation was the fans were there,” he said really grabbed his attention about the trip. “With the situation going on there I was still taken care of. Even when they were warming up the coaches were talking to me. Some schools forget the recruits then. It is real family oriented and friendly.”
A bright spot on a cloudy day for sure.