Gators taking more serious approach to Alabama game this time
Even though many of the players who are making an impact on the 2010 Florida football team so far this season were not on the team or didn't have significant roles the last time Florida and Alabama met in the 2009 SEC Championship game, the veteran players are making sure they understand just how things need to be this week.
“We got to have a great week of practice,'' senior center Mike Pouncey said. "We have to prepare all the right ways and do all the right things and be the most prepared team on the field on Saturday.”
That seems to be the theme among the Gators this week, be prepared.
Many admit that last season's loss to the Tide was not only a product of how good Alabama was, but also the Gators' lack of preparation and execution on game day.
"That game hurt so bad because we felt that we were good enough, we had the team to win it, but we didn’t execute everything we were supposed to,'' LB Brandon Hicks said.
Last year, Florida was the No. 1 team and defending national champions heading into that title game. A win would have sent the Gators to their second consecutive BCS title game.
“We just had too many distractions,'' Pouncey said. "We got too busy with all the hype and everything instead of just going out and doing what we needed to do and being the program that we are. And this week we got to have one of our best weeks of practice and go out there with the right mindset.”
Florida coach Urban Meyer said he disagrees somewhat with players saying the Gators weren't fully prepared, but he does believe they didn't handle the pressure well. He and the coaching staff are trying to ensure that doesn't happen this time around.
“I saw obviously a big distraction, I saw rock star status and I saw all of this stuff that probably a lot of guys saw, but that’s all fine,'' Meyer said. "What I didn’t see was execution on Saturday (championship game). We got the game to 12-10, I believe, right before halftime and they have a big screen pass for 70-plus yards and we just didn’t execute well. It was painful to watch that game; we watched it again (Monday) morning. Two years ago, you saw a team that was very well-focused, executed on a very high level, especially in the fourth quarter. Best fourth quarter I think I have ever seen. We just have to do our best. This is a completely different team – I can talk all you want about me, but in 2008, they were juniors in high school, so we have to get this team ready to go.”