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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Markings of a champion
By Antonya English
Published August 31, 2007
As if being 6 feet 6 and 298 pounds isn't enough to draw attention to yourself, senior offensive lineman Phil Trautwein has added another dimension to his body that is sure to garner onlookers: a tattoo commemorating the Gators' 2006 national championship. ¶ Trautwein, a low-key senior from Voorhees, N.J., had the tattoo done in April, and it has been a conversation piece ever since. ¶ The tattoo, which covers most of his massive upper left arm, has an alligator wrapped around a national championship trophy. The Swamp is set in the background. ¶ "People seem to really like it," he said. ¶ Like anybody would actually tell him if they didn't.
Football, MTV style
Considering the fact that his players are mostly between 18 and 21 years old, it should come as no surprise that videos play a big part in Urban Meyer's motivational tools. Brian Voltolini, left, UF's director of video/software operations, has been on Meyer's staff for years and has become a master of mixing big games, big hits - and of course, music - that inspires and motivates players.
"When I hired Brian at Bowling Green is when I saw the players really (respond)," Meyer said. "He's been with me forever and he does as fine a job as there is in the country. The kids love it and we put it to music."
With the video comes a message, directly from Meyer.
"Usually during the week, we have a highlight video every week and he always asks me what the message is and we tie that into it," Meyer said. "And I'm real active. I always watch it before and give my opinions and add stuff. That's an enjoyable part of the job."
Did you know?:
- In high school, sophomore cornerback Markihe Anderson's nickname was "Number 1 Stunna." He wore the No.1.
- Eight Gators were members of the same Class 5A state championship team at Lakeland High: Ahmad Black, John Brown, Justin Burdette, Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Pouncey, Chris Rainey, Steven Wilks and Paul Wilson.
- Senior receiver Andre Caldwell hopes to one day open his own clothing or shoe store.
- Defensive lineman Javier Estopinan has been deemed the strongest man on the team: he can leg press more than 1,500 pounds and squat 600 pounds.
- Junior receiver Louis Murphy is a Boy Scout who is close to earning Eagle Scout honors. His final project is to plan and help construct a community center.
- Quarterback Tim Tebow drives a 1995 green Ford Thunderbird, a gift from his parents before his senior year of high school.
Do I look fat?
It appears it's not only college women who are worried about their weight. Football players have their concerns, too. Senior offensive lineman Drew Miller admits that when he arrived four years ago, he wasn't Men's Health magazine material. And while he's not thin by any stretch of the imagination, he's much better off today.
"When I got here, I was 330 pounds and that was nasty," he said. "I didn't like that at all. Now I'm at 285 pounds. My body fat went from 30 percent to about 18 percent. I changed the way I ate, started working out more and just bought into the program. It has come out to make me a better player and a better person."