*The Sideline Report is a weekly blog I write for GatorBait.net.
Welcome to another season of Gator football and another series of blog entries from The Sideline Report.
I am Steve Johnson, GatorBait Magazine’s staff photographer, and throughout the season I will be bringing you to the sidelines of every Gator football game.
Right from the kickoff, everyone knew this season was going to be different.
No Tim Tebow, an estranged Urban Meyer and an offseason that could make any Gator fan question their team.
So how does this change gameday? Well, Gatorwalk was unusually quiet and the sidelines were unusually roomy.
As the Gators took the field this past Saturday, it was the usual 1000 degrees in The Swamp. It was just like the start of every season - extremely hot and the Gators were playing an extremely easy team - or so we thought.
By the second quarter, the Gators were down 0-3 and the Miami of Ohio sidelines were filled with coaches screaming, “We can play with these guys!”
It was an odd afternoon in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, while fans were behind their Gators, artificial crowd noise was being pumped through the sound system by the fourth quarter - quite a low point for The Swamp if you ask me.
After a sloppy game, never good for pictures, the post-game press conference was on everyone’s mind.
Surprisingly, I’d never think my best photo from a gameday would be made after the clock hit 00:00. In this case, Mike Pouncey explaining to the media why he had an “off” day made for one of my favorite shots of Gator football. While it wasn’t the happiest of moments, this is what photographing the games is all about - telling the story. Nothing tells the story better than a crowded Pouncey with his hand on his head trying to figure out why he had such a bad game.
We’ll see what happens next week against the USF Bulls. They travel well, and I have covered a couple of their games in the past. One of which was their close game against Cincinnati last season where their fans didn’t sit for one second of the game - something Gator fans could learn from.
I’m sure this is just pessimism for now, but I hope the next few games will prove to be just as exciting as the previous season and Ben Hill Griffin Stadium can go back to being the most feared place to take a snap in college football.
See you on the sidelines,
*You can follow more of my photos and blog entries on my website stevejohnsonmedia.com or on Twitter @sjohnsonmedia.