This past weekend has been one of the loudest non football weekends in Gator history.
Florida was supposed to play LSU. A hurricane postponed the game. Florida was accused of avoiding the game. LSU was too. Rumors and speculation about if and then when the game would ever be played flew wildly. Oh, and the hurricane that postponed the game damaged the homes of several Gator players.
Through it all, it would be easy for the Gators to lose focus. The key for them is to not.
In case anybody has somehow forgotten, Florida is very much alive in the SEC East race. The Gators are a Tennessee loss to Alabama away from controlling their own destiny- and with only one really tough game remaining (at Arkansas) they can’t afford to forget that.
Getting their quarterback back to full health should help. Luke Del Rio has missed the last month with a bruised knee, and the outlook is bright with him returning. After all, the Gators’ offense flourished with him- granted, against lower level competition- but his dependability and instincts proved to make him a good fit for Jim McElwain’s offense.
But the rest of the team has work to do, and they know it. Talent isn’t an issue. Florida’s defense is littered with first rounds draft picks across the board, they have a budding star tailback in Jordan Scarlett and several young but extremely promising receivers. A little work on route running and sharpening cuts could make all the difference in creating a window to throw the ball into. The offensive line… well, could improve in pass protection, but it’s still better than anything Mac has had to work with so far. (A certain position coach has taken the heat for that, but that’s another story for another day.)
So really, the message to this team has to be simple. Go play football, guys. I know this team is capable of tremendous things. I also know that this team is capable of suffering horrible collapses when a few things don’t go right, which knocks my confidence down a few pegs. But I still very much believe that this team is an Atlanta-caliber team. And now they have to go out and play their way back toward it.
Actually, let’s just shorten that last sentence down by just using the sixth and ninth words of it.