January's only halfway over and it is already the most important month of the decade for the Florida Gators. It has been a month of ups, downs, loops, and other interesting events. Wait, it's the only month so far in the decade? Well then.
Everyone in the Gators' organization—from the coach, to the current players, to the future players—has made news this month. Following it all has become a little hectic, so I'm providing a mid–month recap to the start of the Urban Meyer Dynasty (v2.0).
So grab some coffee, a doughnut, and...whoops, this took me until lunch to finish. Grab some soup and a ham sandwich and sit down with 1,000 words of Gators action covering the first half of the first month of the first year of the '10s.
This has to be the most work intensive "vacation" Urban Meyer has ever taken. So far, his leave of absence has not taken him beyond the coach's office. His tireless approach to the job has paid off so far, though, as the Gators are looking more and more like a contender for next year.
It started on New Year's Day, when Meyer announced that he would "like to be back for 2010." Then, a few members of the Gators' 2010 recruiting class announced that Meyer had promised them that he would be coaching by September.
Just like that, the head coach position went from "hopefully Meyer" to "most likely Meyer."
I'm glad that's mostly settled. Meyer never pulled an Arnold and said "I'll be back" in his Terminator voice, but the feeling is that Meyer will be officially coaching the Gators again before the summer is over.
My biggest concern after Meyer was the Jan. 15 draft declaration deadline. Cincinnati made Florida look too good in the Sugar Bowl. I figured every draft-eligible Gator who stepped on the field that night was going to declare for the draft.
The two weeks between the Sugar Bowl and the declaration deadline were awful. 2010 was going to be the opposite of 2009. Nobody would come back with Meyer questionable and the road to the championship so rocky.
The final tally is not so bad, but it does leave some major holes to fill. Joe Haden, Carlos Dunlap, Maurkice Pouncey, Aaron Hernandez, and Major Wright all declared for the draft.
Everyone who followed the Gators over the last two years knew that Haden was leaving. He's one of the best corners ever to put on orange and blue. Dunlap and Hernandez seemed like sure things, too.
Major Wright is a bit of a surprise, but his Sugar Bowl performance was perfect. I doubt 2010 would have raised his stock much, if any, so I can understand him leaving, even though he won't get picked before the fourth round.
The Gators won with Maurkice Pouncey, though. Not that we won with him leaving; that will hurt the offensive line. The win was him not dragging his brother to the NFL, too.
Maurkice is the best center in college. His announcement to go pro was a foregone conclusion before the 2009 season was halfway done.
Mike is not the best guard in college, though. He would have been a mid–round prospect had he entered the draft. However, he is the second best lineman the Gators have.
Losing both Pounceys kills the interior of the line for 2010 and necessitates another big O-line shuffle (the kind of shuffle that killed the Gators' O–line for most of 2009 until Xavier Nixon got going).
With a new QB running a different offense, the last thing the Gators needed was O–line instability. Then, the deadline came and went, and Mike stayed. I don't know how it happened; I figured twins always do everything together.
In between Meyer's soft verbal commitment to Florida and the Jan. 15 Gators-get-worse announcements, the Gators got better. OK, maybe better is not a strong enough word.
On Jan. 9, 2010, the Florida Gators got so good that Lane Kiffin lit himself on fire and ran to the Pacific Ocean. A dip in the salty water quelled the flames, and then he saw his wife, Layla, on the beach.
Realizing that this was a better thing than getting destroyed by Meyer in Knoxville on Sept. 18, Kiffin decided to coach some school in Compton called USC.
This fulfills both his dreams of seeing his wife in a perennial bikini and his dream of living out the starring role of his favorite movie, The Substitute IV: Substitute Coach During a NCAA Penalty Period.
Reportedly, Kiffin has replaced all USC posters, USC chants, and USC traditions with posters, chants, and traditions from USC and promises to make USC the "USC of USC." Ed Orgeron fully supports this quest and was seen flexing shirtless while biting the heads off of doves.
What prompted this sudden increase in Gator talent? Apparently, the best high school players in the nation really like the thought of interim coach Steve Addazio.
Coach Addz wasn't content with the highest aggregate point total for recruits. He literally wanted the best players.
The recruits responded, and the Gators got recruits ranking Nos. 1, 4, 7, 25, and 28. Nos. 2, 16, and 20 are all strongly considering Florida, as well.
The last time a team recruited this well, Kiffin was sending hookers to the recruits' houses and showing them "Vollie style." Reportedly, Addazio just used the sun, his 2008 national championship ring, and his shiny bald head as some sort of bat signal that only draws in top recruits.
It hasn't been all ups and downs, though. The Gators also had some pointless corkscrews thrown in there, as well.
Senior LB Dustin Doe, who thankfully used up all his eligibility—so he won't be able to stupidly drop the ball before crossing the goal line, nearly blowing a game against Mississippi State again—is wanted by the police for not finishing his community service.
Senior DB Wondy Pierre Louis enjoys getting burned by WRs on every double-move route, most single-move routes, and occasionally some "Come on, Wondy! He didn't even move!" routes. He doesn't like being one–upped, though.
After hearing that an inconsequential member of the Gators' defense had a warrant out for his arrest, Wondy went Xtreme! and choked his girlfriend in a bathroom and on a bed.
Reportedly, she got away after faking to the left, which he bit on, then beat him to the neighbor's house. (Everyone knows Wondy has terrible closing speed.)
Coach Addz has the team for two weeks, and two used-to-be Gators get arrested after they're done with football? Jeez, can't the guy get it together?
Whew, that's a busy 18 days. The Gators still have the Senior Bowl and National Signing Day looming on the horizon, too, so don't expect a slowdown for a few weeks.