Lorenzo Lingard primed for his time to shine.
There is no question that Florida Gator fans across the country have been jonesing to see Lorenzo Lingard take the field in a Florida Gator uniform, but Lorenzo's journey did not come without hardship. When Lorenzo first suited up in pads to play at a collegiate level was at the University of Miami where he averaged 8 yards per carry for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns in the 2018 season before having a setback with a season-ending knee injury.
"I had a great physical therapist Jeffery Reeves at Miami. He was on me everyday, we worked from sun up to sundown. I give thanks to him for getting me back to 100 percent."
Lorenzo would then come back in 2019 after a coaching change, but only played on special teams for a short stint before a medical hardship in his family would occur and he would make the ultimate decision to transfer to the University of Florida and to be closer to his father.
"I knew that it was going to be a tough school to come to, and it's a lot of pressure being a Gator. I am going to go there, it's not going to be easy, but I know with it not being easy, I am going to be the best player that I can be, and I will get better every day."
Tough is the correct terminology for Lorenzo's situation as he would come into a loaded running back room with current NFL Draft pick Dameon Pierce who seemingly had a hot hand averaging over 5 yards per carry, 46 runs of 10 yards or more, and catching 100 percent of his receptions in the backfield. Malik Davis was also drafted in the NFL by the Dallas Cowboys, and Nay'Quan Wright showed flashes of his run capabilities and his ability to bust big runs after the catch in the backfield. But now, with Pierce and Davis showcasing their talents in the NFL and Nay'Quan still recovering from an ankle injury he sustained against Florida State, Lingard leaves the door open to prove himself to his coaches and his other teammates, the fans, but more importantly himself.
"I just knew that with the work I've been putting in every day at practice, even though I didn't get my shot, I would be bettering myself as a player, so when I do get my shot, I will be ready."
Patience is a virtue, and Lingard has proven that throughout his collegiate career, but physical work isn't the only work Lingard has put into his game. Mentally he has been putting in work as well. In Episode 13 of the Gettin Swamped Podcast, I asked Lingard what it was like meeting head coach Billy Napier and the rest of the coaching staff and he said that they came in humble but didn't lie about the work they had to put in. He then elaborated that he recently went to see coach Napier in his office during their Phase 3 overview and always wanted to read what the coaches read and asked coach Napier what he reads, and coach Napier introduced him to a book, "The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for improving your skills by Daniel Coyle."
"Over the years, I have seen this book, but I never got to it. It is kind of crazy that this year Coach Napier hands me this book, and I am actually learning a lot from it."
That isn't the only book that head coach Billy Napier introduced him to; Lorenzo sent me a photo of another book entitled "Make Today Count by John C. Maxwell"
It is safe to say that Lorenzo Lingard has worked on himself physically and mentally in his time as a collegiate athlete, and that is an immeasurable formula for success not just on the field but off the field too. This also shows the type of character he has as a person and he has not been shy to Florida Gator fans as he has made numerous appearances across social media and has put in the work and has the fortitude to succeed as the number one running back in the rotation.