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Florida Gators football team insists it hasn't lost focus after end of SEC season

GAINESVILLE — Just because the SEC season is over, don't expect the Gators to approach the final two home games against Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State any differently than they have the previous nine games. There's too much at stake.

The Gators are No. 7 in both the AP and USA Today Coaches polls, with an 8-1 record and No. 6 spot in the BCS standings. They want to finish undefeated at home and have their starters sharp when they play at Florida State on Nov. 24.

Coach Will Muschamp said the Gators will continue to focus on each opponent as it comes and won't be using the next two weeks strictly as a tuneup for FSU. All the focus this week is on Louisiana.

"This is a good football team coming in here," Muschamp said. "Having recruited in the state of Louisiana, where most of their players are from and south Mississippi, they've got really good skilled people who can run and play. The offense that they have creates issues for us defensively. If you look at the numbers they're putting up, our total concentration is on them completely."

NO CONTROL: Florida's hopes of making it to Atlanta for the SEC title game rest on the very, very slim chance that struggling Auburn (2-7, 0-6) will defeat Georgia (8-1, 6-1) on Saturday. The Gators said it's tough to have their fate rest in someone else's hands, which is why they will focus on themselves.

"We're Gator fans, we're definitely going to watch the game like we did last week," QB Jeff Driskel said. "But you've got to worry about what you can control."

DB Jaylen Watkins said the Gators' season doesn't end if Georgia wins.

"If it happens, it happens, but we've still got a lot to play for," he said. "I wouldn't say we're any fan of any other SEC team, but it would be nice to see them (Auburn) get a win."

NUMBERS DON'T MATTER: During a preseason meeting with the media, senior RB Mike Gillislee said he'd like to rush for 1,500 yards and 24 touchdowns. He most likely won't hit the 1,500 mark, but Gillislee does have a chance to become Florida's first 1,000-yard rusher since Ciatrick Fason in 2004 (1,267). He currently has 797 yards.

Gillislee said Monday he was injured last week when he was hit in the lower back but feels fine for Saturday's game. As for accomplishing those lofty goals, Gillislee said, "I'm just focusing on finishing the season."

STURGIS STILL IN HUNT: Florida senior Caleb Sturgis is a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award for the nation's best kicker for the third consecutive season. Sturgis was a finalist for the award last season and a semifinalist in 2009. He leads the Gators in scoring with 68 points and is 15-for-18 in field goals, including 3-for-3 from 50-plus yards, and 23-for-24 in PAT's.

INJURY UPDATE: RB Mack Brown (ankle) is questionable this week. WR/KR Andre Debose (knee), Sturgis (ankle), OL Xavier Nixon (knee), OL James Wilson (knee) and OL Jon Halapio (ankle) did not practice Monday but are probable for the game.

MANN OUT: DL Jafar Mann has decided to transfer. "He and I talked and agreed it was time for him to move on," Muschamp said.

NCAA BOUND: After winning both the SEC regular-season and tournament titles over the past week, the Florida women's soccer team (17-4-1) earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and will host Florida Gulf Coast in the first round at 3 p.m. Friday.

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com.

Florida Gators football team insists it hasn't lost focus after end of SEC season 11/05/12 [Last modified: Monday, November 5, 2012 10:05pm]
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