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Q&A: Troupe discusses speaking to Gators, state of Florida football

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Former Gators tight end Ben Troupe and his daughter with Florida head coach Jim McElwain
Courtesy of Ben Troupe

Ben Troupe made a name for himself in his four seasons as a Gator at the tight end position, earning numerous national first-team honors during his senior season in 2003 and finishing his collegiate career with 958 yards and seven touchdowns on 64 catches.

After being selected in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans, Troupe played five seasons in the league and gained a wealth of experience and knowledge from his time in the pros.

Earlier in July, Troupe visited his old stomping grounds and spoke to the Florida Gators football team about a number of topics, with the big focus being about player discipline.

Troupe caught up with Inside the Gators to share how his recent trip to Gainesville went.

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What did you speak to the team about earlier this month?

Troupe: “I was there representing the NFL Ambassadors’ College Outreach Program. Through the NFL operations department, I reached out to George Wynn and I talked to Coach Mac about just coming to speak to the team and talking about taking full advantage of their opportunities. Obviously, me being an NFL ambassador, people will think that I’m going to be talking about the NFL. But, let’s face it. You’re at the University of Florida. If you’re good enough, they will come.”

What was your message to the team during that meeting?

Troupe: “The outline was really just taking full advantage of the opportunity. I was telling them like you’ve got to see the fact that the Clemson Tigers won it all in the national championship against the same team that beat y’all in the SEC championship. Neither one of those teams are more talented. The fact that the University of Florida doesn’t get the respect that it deserves, because of last year - (Antonio) Callaway, which I didn't call him by name, but you can't separate the two from last year and this year. Teez Tabor and C’yontai Lewis are both going to miss the first game. Callaway misses the first game of last year.

"I go, ‘We keep winning the East, but we’re not representing the East how we’re supposed to in the SEC Championship Game. We have a lot of off-the-field problems. That’s why Florida doesn’t get the recognition that it deserves because there are so many things to pull from.’ I’m like, ‘You guys have to decide what you guys want to be, because we’re too good of a team to keep being average.’”

What did the coaching staff think about your message to the team?

Troupe: "They enjoyed it. Coach Mac said he appreciated me being authentic, because when you have people come in as speakers, you don’t know what they’re going to say but they can sound very, very robotic. Not to offend anybody, but they try to stay out of things and stay politically correct. At the same time, if you never get your point across – you need to say what you need to say – then it won’t matter what I said. Coach Mac, he appreciated that, because I spoke directly to them.

"I live in New York City. I know how the NFL – Roger Goddell and these guys. These players, they think they’re privileged, they think they’re spoiled. They think they get too many chances. They don’t think they deserve these opportunities. I’m trying to tell them that they need to make better decisions, even if they are 17-24 years old."


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IN THE ALLEY TROUPE ANSWERS THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

What’s your impression of Jim McElwain and the coaching staff?

What do you think of the three new assistant coaches on staff: JaJuan Seider, Brad Davis and Corey Bell?

What are your thoughts on Florida’s current facilities?

Where do you they stand, as compared to some other programs you've maybe seen?

What are your thoughts on Florida's current tight end group?

You mentioned Gamble. What are your impressions of him?

*** ALLEY: BEN TROUPE ON THE STATE OF FLORIDA FOOTBALL ***

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