Russell Report: As the football season opener approaches, Gators don’t know Utah’s starting QB

Cam Rising would be the clear starter if healthy but he's recovering from a torn ACL suffered in a bowl game last year
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 4:56 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The start of the Gator Football season is just around the corner but the starting quarterback for Florida’s opponent, Utah, may not be known until close to game time on Thursday. Cam Rising would be the clear starter if healthy but he’s recovering from a torn ACL suffered in a bowl game last year and his availability still isn’t known. The Utes do have a guy in Brandon Johnson who has played some and has done well if Rising doesn’t go. The Gators are pretty healthy going in so it’s time to just go out and play. Winning this game is no indication of having a good season as we saw last year when the Gators beat the Utes in The Swamp. But a road win to start the season against a ranked team could do a lot to boost the confidence of a team that’s trying to get better and more consistent.

The Gators also had a watch party and got to see the Netflix “Swamp Kings” series and the players say it could serve as motivation for them. Some see similarities to where Urban Meyer was at the start of his time at Florida to where Billy Napier is at the start of his time here. A lot of Gator fans loved “Swamp Kings” because it brought back a time when Gator Football was winning national championships with rosters loaded with future NFL players. I thought the series was nice and all with some great behind the scenes footage, but it was a puff piece and didn’t really explore off field issues that could have derailed their success nor did it mention Meyer’s resignation, return and then how broken he was after leaving in 2010. The series also paints Meyer in a much more positive light and maybe this opens the way for him to be placed in Florida’s Ring of Honor; a spot he earned by winning those national titles.

Don’t know if you caught this but the Big 10 is doing something I have long advocated for in the college game. The league announced it would make it mandatory for each league team in football season to release a player availability report. Teams must submit this report each week at least two hours before their games. Several players from the Big 10 were found to be betting on games and the league says it is doing this to avoid any further chance of players, coaches, or staff from engaging in prohibited sports wagering. The Big 10 becomes the first power five conference in college football to enforce the availability report league wide. I get that coaches don’t want to let opponents know about injuries but if the NFL can do it, so can college football. This is a good move I hope other leagues adopt.

Finally, tip of the cap to long time Gator Volleyball Coach Mary Wise whose team started off the season with wins against nationally ranked Penn State and USF. The team was preseason ranked number 11 in the country and Coach Wise really seems to love this group she has this year. Somehow, Mary’s many accomplishments get overlooked because she hasn’t won a national title but that is not the measuring stick here. She has done so much for the sport of women’s volleyball, and the number of SEC titles she has won and the sheer number of games she’s won speak for themselves. She’s a huge asset to the sport and to the University of Florida. I’m Steve Russell, that’s the Russell Report!

RELATED: Russell Report: Are college football fans witnessing the end of the PAC 12 Conference?

Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.