Gators' Justin Trattou has survived injury and pain, now preparing for leadership role
Trattou tore a tendon in his bicep in the third quarter of the Oct. 17 game against Arkansas. He missed one game, then played the remainder of the season - in considerable pain.
But he's back working out in pre-spring drills, and said he feels stronger than ever. The only difference is he now has just one tendon in his left shoulder.
"The one I had is ripped off and now it's just basically starting over,'' Trattou said. "I got stronger. The whole key was just giving it time to get stronger. It was kind of hard to get stronger playing every other day, basically using it to get into a fight every two seconds. And now that I've had time to let it heal its actually back to stronger than it was. I'm stronger this time than I was last year.''
Trattou is one of several players, including OL Mike Pouncey who have already been named captains for next season. With the loss of so many key defensive players - and former defensive coaches Charlie Strong and Vance Bedford - Trattou knows his leadership will be important for the Gators, especially in this offseason.
The toughness he showed last season has earned him even more respect from his teammates.
"Any time you play through injuries it always gets respect, that's for sure,'' he said.
It's going to be like that forever.''
Pouncey believes he's just what the defense needs.
"He is a hard worker,'' Pouncey said. "He's going to lead that defense this year. He's the most experienced and he's a great player.''
As for the injury, Trattou said he's completely healed as the Gators prepare to open spring practice March 17. In fact, he's stronger than ever, in his opinion.
"My bench and pullups are stronger than they were this time last year,'' he said. "It's not
that the muscle doesn't work any more. It's scared over and doesn't have the same appearance.''