GAINESVILLE -- The football team had its third-annual Champions Night on Thursday. Champions Night is one of Florida coach Urban Meyer's motivational tools. Basically, the players are dragging through two-a-days right about now and Champions Night is a good kick in the pants.
Three guest speakers, all with ties to the University of Florida, spoke to the football team about excellence in athletics: Florida hoops coach Billy Donovan, former NFL receiver Cris Carter (one of Meyer's close friends) and the night's headliner, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers. Rivers' connection to Florida is an interesting one. His son, a sophomore in high school, has already committed to Florida. Also, Rivers' daughter plays volleyball for UF.
[What is it about Boston pro coaches and the Florida football team? If you recall, Pats coach Bill Belichick has spoken with the football team several times. Meyer and Bilichick are friends.]
Meyer says guest speakers like Rivers bring instant credibility to the message the Florida coaching staff is constantly preaching during preseason practice. The message: Hard work wins championships ... or some variant of that.
Champions Night also included a 15-minute video of highlights edited by UF's multimedia staff. The video featured champions like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, etc. (UF's video crew does great work, by the way.)
--Meyer said that Percy Harvin conditioned today.
--Freshman defensive tackle Omar Hunter (sore back) still isn't practicing with the team.
--Another freshman defensive lineman, Matt Patchan, hasn't been cleared to practice at full speed just yet but Meyer says Patchan is getting close.