Every time it rains in the spring or fall, I’m invariably asked this question, and it drives me absolutely nuts: When are the Gators going to build an indoor football practice facility?
Just writing the question makes me cringe.
My reply is usually the same: Why in the wide, wide world of sports would Florida need an indoor practice facility?
This is Florida. It doesn’t snow. It never gets too cold to practice football. Rain has never been a major disruption for as long as I’ve been around here (and that’s a long, long time). And besides, football is played in the elements, so it should be practiced in the elements.
Just ask the 2002 team about that last one. The Gators spent a lot of their preseason practice time that year dealing with some rain (and practicing in it). Early in the season, they went to Knoxville and it poured. While the Vols, who had not been practicing in the rain, fumbled the ball all over Neyland Stadium, the Gators played like they were on a dry field on a bright sunny day. It resulted in no turnovers and a 30-13 victory over Tennessee.
I have some other thoughts about how ludicrous it would be to have an indoor facility.
Who would pay for it? Where would they put it? What would the UAA do with it the other 363 or 364 days of the year that it would not be needed? It would just sit there, an empty million-dollar vacant building.
The pro-indoor facility guys like to throw this one back at me: Not having an indoor practice facility hurts recruiting.
That is laughable. In all the years I’ve covered recruiting (again, it’s many), I never once heard a recruit say he didn’t sign with Florida because the Gators were missing an indoor practice facility that he would be practicing in maybe once or twice in his four or five years in Gainesville.
The bottom line is there is no argument for building an indoor practice facility. None. So let’s drop it and take this thing outside (and leave it there).