OnlyGators.com: Five Years, Still Alive
Five years is not a long period of time when you look at it from a grander perspective. Though as I sit here today on the fifth anniversary of OnlyGators.com – which opened on Oct. 1, 2009 – pondering the fact that I have posted 5,295 stories in the last 1,826 days, the enormity of the moment has absolutely set in.
Since inception, more than 11.2 million unique visitors have found their own way to OnlyGators.com, which remains standing today as the largest independent website covering the Florida Gators.
The message board-free community here has combined to post 29,767 comments, while the @OnlyGators Twitter account has amassed more than 6,500 followers over the last 12 months, giving it more than 29,500 since it was created five-and-a-half years ago.
Trust me, I do not mention any of this to brag, boast or revel in achievement. Rather, I share these figures purely out of astonishment and appreciation.
Plenty has happened to OnlyGators.com over the last year, and as I first mentioned during my personal announcement in this very column back on Sept. 10, there are some very exciting things planned for the near future.
Perhaps most important to the continued growth of OnlyGators.com has been my decision back in February to institute an optional contribution model. Hundreds of you have signed up without promise of benefit simply to make a personal financial contribution to the future success of this website.
While there may be no benefit to your contribution right now, other than keeping OnlyGators.com up and running of course, I promise you will see the result of your initial contributions very soon and there will be some additional benefits on the way as your early dedication will absolutely be rewarded.
Big things are ahead for this website. I cannot wait to show you.
I once again thank you for your continued loyalty and readership.
OnlyGators.com is only a success because of you.
Founder, owner, editor
Treon Harris: Not Ready for Prime Time
The struggles of Gators redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Drsikel have led many fans, former players and college football analysts to wonder whether Florida would be better off with freshman Treon Harris starting behind center.
Internally, if head coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper are to be believed, there is no question that Driskel gives the Gators the best chance to win on a game-by-game basis.
But what about Harris? After posting a perfect line in his only appearance this season against Eastern Michigan – 2/2 for 148 yards and two touchdowns – Harris has not seen the field even in a change of pace role despite it being widely believed that Florida would have a package of plays in place for him this season.
“We go into every game considering some situational things, especially in the red zone, to put him in the game. If that opportunity presents itself – in the Kentucky game and the Alabama game it never did – we would do that,” said Muschamp of inserting Harris into the game.
“Bottom line is putting yourself in position to win the game. And Treon continues to improve. He’s going to be a really good football player. I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him and his abilities and what he presents to our football team. When that opportunity presents itself, he’ll have an opportunity.”
Harris has only been receiving occasional first-team repetitions in practice with Driskel, the unquestioned starter at this time, earning more than the lion’s share. Roper on Tuesday explained how the Gators are utilizing Harris in practice.
“At any time you are one play away [from being thrust into the game]. … Our integration is through the practice reps. He’s got a bunch of practice reps since he has been here, obviously more since we moved in the direction with him getting all the [second-team] reps. We try to balance all our practice reps in a day,” he said.
“In a team period, we go about 14 plays and split it eight [with the first team] and six [with the second team]. We’ve done that for 20 years since I’ve been around [David Cutcliffe]. The big thing about college football is you have to keep bringing your twos along. It’s not the NFL. You can’t go pull somebody from another team or experience. You’ve got to bring your twos along. That’s how we’re trying to integrate him, with a bunch of practice reps.”
In his evaluation of those reps, Roper continues to believe that Driskel, not Harris, gives Florida the best chance to win going forward.
“His understanding is not where it needs to be and that’s not because he doesn’t work hard at it or he’s not getting reps. It’s just simply age and number of repetitions and practice he’s had,” Roper said of Harris. “So when he goes in, we’re going to ask him to do things that he’s mentally prepared [to do]. But the reason why [Driskel is still starting] is because we feel that Jeff gives us the best opportunity to win football games.”
Roper also dismissed the notion of Harris being ready to join Driskel in a two-quarterback system, such as the one he employed often at Duke. He sees that situation being beneficial when the two quarterbacks excel in different areas of the right, and right now Roper things Driskel is better both as a passer and rusher.
“I don’t think Treon is quite there in that mentality. I think he’s an elusive runner, a good runner, but he’s not a heavy runner right now,” Roper said. “We’re trying to bring Treon along just in the offense completely and not put him in just that package.”
Not Only Gators: Trader Joe’s
For years now, Trader Joe’s has been a mystery to me. I have heard dozens of people sing its praises, rave about something called “Cookie Butter” and hold it up to be the best supermarket chain out there.
Well, it’s not, and that’s no knock on the company.
Trader Joe’s is a great place to visit for produce, some unique food items and better-than-generic products.
The Cookie Butter is amazing; I finally understand the fuss and cannot wait to try the other concoctions (crunchy, cocoa). The dunkable chocolate chip cookies are genius. Though I do not buy prepared frozen meals, I was instructed to try the Mandarin orange chicken, and it is definitely something I’ll continue buying for a quick home meal (especially during football and basketball season).
But the truth is that Trader Joe’s is more hype than substance. The vast majority of products in the store are their own brand, meaning while there are tons of options, there is very little choice.
You are not able to purchase meat/poultry/fish anywhere near as fresh as at Whole Foods or Fresh Market, and there is neither a deli nor bakery section to be found, certainly nothing that even comes close to what you get at Publix.
Again, I enjoyed every single thing I purchased from Trader Joe’s during my first trip, but it was quite apparent that the store is more of a gimmick than anything else.
Publix will remain my weekly destination, while Whole Foods/Fresh Market will continue to be the choice when I want something higher-end. But if I want to have some fun browsing through unique products – or I’m out of Cookie Butter and need to re-stock – then Trader Joe’s will absolutely get a visit.
This Week’s Movie Trailer
The Top 5 List
From the home office in Wahoo, Nebraska…
Best Seinfeld minor characters:
1. Frank Costanza
3. George Steinbrenner
4. Dr. Tim Whatley
T-5. J Peterman
T-5. Mr. Pitt
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