Inside the 2013 Gator Women’s Football Clinic

By Adam Silverstein
July 29, 2013

Long-time OnlyGators.com reader Jennifer contacted us last week and offered to share her experience after attending the Florida Gators annual Women’s Football Clinic hosted this year on Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Below is her account from the exciting evening (pictures included).

This past weekend, I was able to experience the Gator Women’s Football Clinic for the second time in the last three years. The coaching staff dubbed it “Saturday Night Lights” this year probably because the event was held at night at the Champions Club inside The Swamp rather than during the day like it was when I attended two years ago.

After checking in, we were provided with dinner and then allowed to walk around and take pictures, both inside and outside. We also met with the coaching staff; everyone was there except offensive coordinator Brent Pease.

Some coaches had spots set up for autographs and others were just out and about mingling with the crowd. Even after their big Friday Night Lights event, the coaches were still excited for our night and very personable.

We got a chance to speak briefly with [wide receivers coach] Joker Phillips, and he seems like a great new addition for the program.

Offensive line coach Tim Davis became my favorite after we got the chance to interact with him. He was the most engaging when talking with us and was a very funny guy. He kept referencing his “mass kicks ass” tagline.

One thing a bunch of the coaches were having a good time joking around about was the insane line to meet with [coaching intern] Chris Leak. Until [head coach] Will Muschamp came out, Chris was the most popular among the women there. True to form, Chris was incredibly humble and expressed his excitement and appreciation for this opportunity to start his coaching career. He took time to speak with each person that came up to him, and it was awesome to have to chance to be able to meet this Florida football legend.

Read the rest of Jennifer’s story including some interesting details and cool pictures from the event…after the break!

When Coach Muschamp came out, everyone got a chance to take pictures and get autographs with him. He laughed at my request to sign “Boom!” for me, but he happily obliged, and I now have an official Coach Boom signature.

After everyone met with Coach Muschamp, [tight ends coach] Derek Lewis hyped up the crowd by having us stand, cheer and do Gator Chomps using proper form. We then watched an highlight video before Coach Muschamp addressed the crowd.

He first spoke about the four practices being open to the public, explaining that that the experience will be good for the young players to get used to playing in front of crowds while gaining confidence and becoming more comfortable in the system.

He also said he was confident in [starting quarterback] Jeff Driskel, noting that the Gators would not have won 11 games last year without him. He is aware that fans want to see the offense open up with more passes being thrown down the field.

Coach Muschamp mentioned that there were questions at linebacker and safety but both would be addressed during fall camp. He also reiterated what he has said at past speaking engagements, stating that Kyle Christy is the best punter in the nation, which drew applause from the crowd, before opening it up for questions.

The women were fairly easy on him, which he said he appreciated. One woman asked who he would rather coach under: Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban or Urban Meyer. He quickly and candidly answered Spurrier, saying, “I like Steve, he’s a good guy.”

Another woman asked if players had curfews to which Coach Muschamp replied that select players have curfews [in the offseason]. He elaborated that during the season there are curfews three or four nights a week.

When Coach Muschamp was asked about playing Miami at noon, he said he gets plenty of e-mails about the early games but that is completely out of Florida’s hands. He also said UF looks forward to helping UM sell out their stadium.

Responding to a question about what Florida needs to do to beat Georgia this year, Muschamp responded, “Hold on to the ball.”

Finally, there was a request that the coaches coordinate their coaching shirts, more specifically not wearing orange when playing Tennessee and not wearing blue when playing Kentucky. Coach Muschamp looked at his watch and said those last 20 seconds were the first time he’s ever thought about that, but he’ll have to keep that in mind.

After he spoke, we got a few brief presentations from some of the other coaches. First up was [defensive backs] coach Travaris Robinson, a.k.a. T-Rob. He went into detail explaining how to identify the other team’s personnel on the field, so the Gators could line up accordingly on defense. He was very enthusiastic but did speak a little fast and most of the women got confused. He stayed with us though until we got it, and I can now understand the numbers on the cards that get held up at games.

Next up was Coach Phillips whose presentation got cut short due to time, so he just went with his planned game of Gator Jeopardy. We got chances to answer trivia questions for some smaller prizes and got to learn a few new things about the team.

Last up was the new special teams coach, Jeff Choate. He came storming onto the stage, full of energy, requiring us to stand for his presentation. He was fired up, shouting the whole time about special teams and their importance. He emphasized that he is always like this around the players, getting them motivated and excited to be part of special teams, saying it’s that player’s gift to the rest of the team.

Former defensive end and new defensive graduate assistant Duke Lemmens then came up and participated in the uniform contest. This always seems to be a fan favorite at the event because the player usually strips down to next to nothing before putting on the rest of the uniform. A volunteer from the audience got to race Duke putting on a full uniform. Duke was hilarious and entertaining, getting the whole crowd involved.

Then we finally got to head down to the field, which is always a highlight. There were two different groups that rotated between a relay race on the field, viewing the locker rooms and viewing the weight room. The locker room set up was a little different than before in that they did not have the full line of uniforms and gear displayed. There was a brief presentation about the “air conditioned” special pads the players use.

One interesting thing I noticed is that some of the players have a picture of an NFL player at their lockers with a motivational quote or a goal underneath the image. Driskel had one that said “Elbows Up” with quarterbacks demonstrating proper form. We also got to catch a glimpse of the Chucky doll [sitting in defensive end Dominique Easley’s locker], which was slightly terrifying.

In the weight room, we got a demonstration of the lifting warm-up, which seemed like an entire workout in itself. Some new motivational quotes are lining the walls, replacing ones left over from Meyer. The hallways were also lined with tons of motivational “bulletin board” material. One hallway had a large image saying “Never Forget” and included scores from both the Georgia and Louisville losses.

Also plastered every few feet were printouts of articles showing the Florida receivers ranked 11th in the SEC and the team picked to finish third in the SEC East because the Gators are losing too much on defense to contend. These players are definitely being motivated to prove the critics wrong.

After the tours, we got to head out to the field to run through some drills. There were eight or so stations where we got to do varying positional drills that worked on footwork, conditioning, reaction times, etc. After each drill, we were supposed to run to the next station, motivated by coaches yelling “only mailmen walk!”

My favorite part from the drills was the catching station. We got the opportunity to catch passes from Chris Leak, and we just so happened to be positioned in the end zone. How many people can say they caught a touchdown pass from a national championship winning quarterback on their home field?!

The drills ended with a round of “We Are the Boys,” which even the coaches joined in on. This was followed by a sprint competition and a pushup competition, where the coaches were still going strong in their enthusiasm, cheering the ladies on, some even commenting on how impressed and inspired they were with some of the ladies’ efforts.

To cap off the evening, we got to head inside and then run out of the tunnel. The intro video was blaring on the speakers and big screens. Coach T-Rob gave us a rousing pre-game speech to get us motivated to kick Georgia’s ass. We got hyped up, chanted, linked arms, rocked back and forth…and then as soon as the “Heeeeeeeeeeeere Come the Gators” played, we all ran out onto the field to a group of women and coaches lined up for high-fives. This is always a special moment at the event, especially now getting the chance to do it at night.

The night ended with Coach Lewis leading us in a final cheer.

Even though I went to this event just two years ago, the whole experience was still special. The coaches really take pride in the program and make you feel like an important part of the machine. It is a must-do event for any Florida fan, and if you have been before, definitely do it again. Many of the women are repeat attendees, and I see myself continuing to attend in the future. The opportunity to interact with the coaches and see the inner workings of the stadium is something you just cannot pass up.

7 Comments

  1. SaraGator says:

    This is definitely a MUST for me next year! Thank you for the recap, Jennifer… I always wondered if it was worth it.

  2. MikeCapshaw says:

    Thank you Jennifer for the detailed and entertaining recap of the event:)

  3. CCG8TR says:

    Great article. This was my wife’s (and friends wives) fourth year attending the clinic. She has a great time every year and we make a weekend out for it. Here and and her friends actually brought over Chris Leak, Coach Muschamp, Joker, Coach White and T-Rob to meet the guys. We were siting in the stands feeling jealous! lol

  4. gatorhippy says:

    Blog posts like this are why I love this site…

    Thanks for your insight and time, Jennifer…

    And thank you, Adam…

  5. Michael Jones says:

    Yeah, this was definitely pretty cool. Loved all the detail and effort that both Jennifer put into writing this piece and the Gator coaches put into the clinic. Coach Muschamp and his staff never fail to impress me.

    I wish I could get my girlfriend to go to something like this. . . might catch a lot less grief about all the time I want to spend in front of the tube during football season.

    GO GATORS!!!

  6. SB says:

    Awesome, thanks Jennifer.

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