The Florida Gators have come up with a new definition for the word “swag,” and it just so happens to be the team’s motto for the 2013-14 season.
“Strengthen – When – Adversity – Grows. We need to strengthen as adversity gets more and more in our face. We need to stay together and be connected,” explained senior center Patric Young on Thursday while in Birmingham, AL, for the 2013 Southeastern Conference Media Days.
Head coach Billy Donovan is in favor of the new saying and took some time to discuss the genesis of the motto after Young left the stage.
“Those guys came up with it themselves. It’s what they wanted to do. One of the things I’ve always believed in as a coach is you’ve gotta be able to handle adversity together. So they kind of came up with this thing — Strengthen When Adversity Grows — is kind of what it means,” he said.
“It’s really on them; they did it. It was up to them. I do think that for our team this year, one of the things I’m looking at is how well we can be connected. I think our guys have great relationships; they get along. But there’s a different bond and a different connectedness that they’re talking about to continually be a team that’s an elite team, and I think that’s what they’ve tried to work on.”
It would be difficult to believe that adversity could loom heavier over the Gators at any point this season than it already does just one week into fall practice.
Florida spent the first week practicing with just seven scholarship players despite having 11 on the roster. Neither senior forward Will Yeguete (knee) nor junior transfer guard Eli Carter (leg) had been cleared for contact, redshirt junior transfer C Damontre Harris is dealing with hamstring problems, and sophomore G Michael Frazier II has been bothered by a viral infection that Donovan feared was mononucleosis.
“We’re not a healthy team. We’re dealing with seven scholarship players in practice. We don’t have our full roster. I think our team, what it looked like on paper in the summertime, is not the team that we’re dealing with right now,” he said. “We’re a few weeks away from opening up. The practice with the guys we’ve had in practice has gone well. They’ve worked hard. But we have a long way to go right now.”