As part of a series, Bourbon Meyer will get to know a few of the writers and bloggers who cover Gator athletics. Today, Dan Thompson sat down with Julie Quittner, sports reporter for the Gainesville Television Network to discuss Julie’s thoughts on the upcoming Gators football season, her interview with Chris Rainey and Gators baseball.
DT: Julie, thank you for joining me.
JQ: Thanks for having me…
DT: I am curious, how did you get involved in covering the Gators for the Gainesville Television Network?
JQ: Well, I graduated from the University of Florida last year, was interning at a station in South Florida afterward and the job opened up here in Gainesville. I could not pass up the opportunity to start my career here and cover an athletic program like UF.
DT: What has been your favorite sport to cover? And who are some of your favorite athletes to interact with?
JQ: I played basketball in high school so have always been drawn most to that sport. As a student, the Men’s basketball team was my beat to cover and I enjoyed it so much. As a senior in 2011, I got to travel to New Orleans for the Sweet 16/Elite 8 which was a great experience. I still love covering those guys- I think Patric Young is hilarious so interacting with him is always fun.
DT: The Gators baseball team has had its ups and downs this season. How do you project them to do in the coming weeks and months?
JQ: I feel that great teams play well at the right times (i.e. is this year’s Gator basketball team). I feel the same will happen with the Gator baseball team this season. The SEC has some talented teams so it will be a tight race until the end but I feel that Florida will show up in the post season. Pitching and defense are key and those are two of Florida’s strengths. With its tough schedule they faced all year, they’ll be ready and they’ll go deep.
DT: Switching gears to football, you had the chance to interview Chris Rainey about the Matt Hayes articles about Urban Meyer. What is your take on the situation from information you have collected and gathered?
JQ: I feel that with any interview like the one I did, people are going to take what they want from it (negative or positive). People calling Rainey a “snitch” or whatever is ridiculous. He was being honest and never put down Urban Meyer. Meyer means a lot to him as a former coach and as a person. I do feel that those Gator teams were undisciplined but what does it matter now? They were great teams with great players and they won championships….and now, Florida has a new(ish) coach in Will Muschamp that runs a tight ship. Now Rainey is exactly where he wants to be… In the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
DT: Moving on to this upcoming football season, how do you think the Gators will fare?
JQ: As coach Muschamp said, he is more comfortable than he was at this point last year so I feel the whole team is more comfortable. From 6-6 in the regular season last season, I could see them getting a couple more…I’d say 8-4, 9-3 is a possibility. It’ll be interesting to see how the quarterback battle unfolds because that will determine a lot about the offense which is the question mark going into this season. It’ll obviously be games like home against LSU on October 6th that will show a lot about this year’s team.
DT: Who are some players the Gators should be looking out for that the average fan at home may not know at home?
JQ: I would say any of the wide receivers…because we all know they have been a non factor for a couple of seasons now. New offensive coordinator Brent Pease is definitely trying to get them more involved. So whether it’s freshman Latroy Pittman who fans have already seen stand out (at the Orange and Blue game) or guys who have been here like Andre Debose or Quinton Dunbar. I’d say just look (and hope) for more production from the receivers in general.
DT: If we could play a quick game, who would you choose from these position battles:
DT: Jacoby Brissett or Jeff Driskel?
JQ: Tough call because I really feel Driskel has come a long way but, right now, Brissett…
DT: Chaz Green or Matt Patchan?
JQ: Matt Patchan
DT: Jabari Gorman or Pop Saunders?
JQ: Pop Saunders
DT: Purifoy or Watkins?
DT: What are you most looking forward to this upcoming season covering the Gators?
JQ: I’m looking forward to seeing who will take that first snap at QB on September 1st. There’s just been so much talk about it and I honestly feel that Muschamp is waiting and couldn’t make the decision right now if he wanted to. Then once the starter is named, I’m curious how much the other will play behind him. I didn’t like the offense with multiple quarterbacks that Meyer used in his last season at Florida…can’t imagine most other fans liked it either.
DT: Thanks for sitting down with me Julie, it has been great!