Parental Perspective: Florida Football Parental RoundTable III

Florida Football RoundTable

by Alyssa Britton-Harr
1 comment

Please Read: Welcome to the new-look Inside the Gators

Inside the Gators, Alyssa Britton-Harr spoke with offensive lineman Austin Barber’s father, Mike Barber and Trevor Etienne’s mother Donna Etienne.

Here are their responses:

While there is a point where parents have to let their children go, you obviously still want to be updated on what is going on with him. What is the interaction like with the Florida staff and you as a parent of a player?

Barber: “I don’t talk to them much, but I talk to Rob Sale. He keeps me informed of things that are going on with Austin. I get emails from him about what’s going on.”

Etienne: “My role is more as the inspiration of the whole operation, and I’m the inspiration and the leader. I’m the biggest critic; I send him inspirational texts before every game and pour into them that God has anointed them with God-given talents to perform the task at hand. Go be great, write your legacy, and see what God has for you today.”

Speaking of interactions, what has your experience been like dealing with the Gator Nation either in person at games or online? Not only as far as your son goes, but the overall impression of how Florida fans are toward the team as well.

Barber: “I think that Florida fans at games are behind the team 100 percent. Twitter is slightly different, but at the end of the day, it’s a win-now situation for Florida.”

Etienne: “The Swamp is wonderful, and I love it. I have seen more love, and the culture has shifted to more positivity and more support. I stand up at the Gator walk and hug way more kids than just my kid; the parents have mixers and get to know each other and each other’s kids; it’s just more family.”

What is like, how do you deal with any sort of negative reactions from fans online or even from the media?

Barber: “At the end of the day, I let it go in one ear and out the other. I mean, fans are going to be fans and be critical. They have to let Billy get his players in there, and I think he has done a phenomenal job so far.”

Etienne: “I have never had any, and if it’s any negative online media about anything, it’s about the Gators in relation to other teams. Florida fans have gotten better, and they won’t be down on a person; they will be down on the team as a whole. Florida has been in this losing slump for a minute, so it’s hard for them to see and think ahead that they can come out of this. You can’t come out of it if you’re still looking backward.”

What is your perception of NIL at Florida and college football in general? While only the very top players are making huge money, how do you feel about how your son is doing NIL wise? How much of a factor is NIL?

Barber: “NIL lays the landscape of football, but am I a big proponent of it, no. I think these kids get an education, and do I think these kids need to make millions of dollars, no. I think it has changed the landscape of football forever. They should get paid something, but that type of money, no.”

Etienne: “It’s a blessing, but anything can be a blessing and a curse. Trevor takes some of his money, puts it up, the money sits there and invests, so when he gets drafted, he will have the money he was paid while in college.”

There’s one ‘free’ available transfer per player. How do you think that has changed the way coaches have dealt with players in general and your son in particular?

Barber: “I think it has been tough for the coaches. I think to be able to transfer it should be a certain circumstance. I mean, the transfer portal has also changed the landscape of football.”

Etienne: “Everyone knows that we are Etienne’s; where we start, we finish. You can’t say it’s a bad thing because look at Graham Mertz; we haven’t had a bad experience with him. I can’t speak on the negative side of it because the transfers we have are good people. Everybody doesn’t have the same story and talent to go all the way, but everybody has the same journey and dream.”

What is your impression of Billy Napier, your son’s position coach and the UF staff in general?

Barber: “I am all for Billy Napier and Rob Sale. They are changing the culture, which I think has been pretty good. Billy wants to win, and he is doing everything right, so I am a big fan of Billy Napier.”

Etienne: “I knew Billy Napier from when he was in Louisiana and a Ragin Cajun. He recruited Trevor heavily when he was there, so Trevor went to his game and watched the changes Billy Napier made for the kids there. We had a guy on our high school football team, Coach Nate, who told him to come to a tryout and gave him a position on the team. Coach Napier then told us to be in his office Monday morning if he was serious about his career. That is what taught me the character of Coach Napier.”

Florida is off to a 5-2 start heading into the bye week. How closely does your family follow the team at this point? What do you think of where UF stands right now?

Barber: “I follow the team day in and day out. I think it’s good for them to be 5-2; that win at South Carolina was a big boost for them. They needed that on the road. They have a bye week to get these guys healthy, and I think they got a shot with Georgia.”

Etienne: “They are a very young team, and they’re bonding and meshing. I think when they go on a run and win, they shock themselves with their ability. They face different opponents, so you learn and grow as we continue through the season. That’s the same with life, Graham Mertz is a wonderful quarterback, and next year, they have DJ Lagway coming in. I see Florida going up.”

Is there an unshared or not widely known instance, funny story, anecdote or anything you would like to share?

Barber: “This is where we wanted Austin to go; he is a Gator; we are Gators.”

Etienne: “They have an event every week for the top players, so Trevor got the top player after the Tennessee game. For me, I don’t know what’s happening, but he came from practice and took a shower. He had just enough time to get there. I don’t remember who the guys were, but they were sitting across from us, and one guy asked, “Man, did you even get to take a shower,” and Trevor said that’s all I did. I said thank God because we all know he wouldn’t, and everyone busted out laughing. That was Gator Nation being very accepting to us, being very friendly, and just taking care of us.”

Go to discussion...

Related Articles

1 comment

Leave a comment

Please log in to your forum account to comment

Community platform by XenForo® © 2010-2022 XenForo Ltd. Style and add-ons by ThemeHouse