Gators look to send seniors out with two victories

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Florida defensive players Joseph Putu (35), David Reese (33), Vosean Joseph (11), and Jeawon Taylor (29) react after a play during the second half Saturday against South Carolina in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina defeated Florida 28-20. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

Based on how they fought back throughout Saturday’s loss to South Carolina, the Florida Gators showed they’re not ready to quit with two games remaining in what will be a losing season.

Now, they’re asking their fans to hang in there, too, and not give up on them.

“Definitely,” sophomore linebacker David Reese said. “I feel like guys realize we’ve got to come together, we’ve still got a lot to play for, we still want Gator Nation to support us and have our back even though we’re going through this rough time. I feel like our future is still bright. So we just want to go 2-0 these next two games. Just looking forward, we’ve just got to do our best, got to do our best for the program.”

The 28-20 loss to South Carolina was Florida’s fifth in a row and dropped the Gators to 3-6 on the season. Heading into the game, the goal was to win out over the final three games to become bowl eligible.

That isn’t going to happen. The new goal is to go 2-0 over the final two games in The Swamp to send the seniors out the right way and put the young Gators on the right path for the new head coach and for the future.

The fans need to play a role in it, quarterback Feleipe Franks said.

“I’m worried about sending these seniors out the right way,” Franks said. “They work so hard and they don’t deserve to go out there and get two losses. We’re going to fight. And they deserve to go out the right way.

“A big part of it is having our fans out there supporting us. It’s always great when they support us and they’re not head banging us and all that kind of stuff. So it’s really great when they’re supportive and send these seniors out the right way. That’s what I think we’re playing for these last two games.”

In the 45-16 loss to Missouri two weeks ago, it looked like some of the players had given up. It was so obvious that Reese called his teammates out after the game, saying the Gators needed to bond and start playing for one another.

The response was a much more determined effort in the 28-20 loss to the Gamecocks. The Gators fought to the end and had a chance to possibly send the game into overtime in the final minutes before a tipped Franks pass was intercepted with 1:06 to play.

The Gators are vowing to keep fighting against UAB and arch-rival Florida State, which also sports a 3-6 record.

They say there’s still a lot to play for over the next two weeks.

“Just looking forward and trying to finish strong for these seniors, trying to go 2-0 for those guys,” Reese said. “Also our future. I feel like we have a young team and I feel like there’s better things coming in the future. I just want everyone to support us in our last two games in The Swamp. We’re happy to be playing back in the Swamp.”

Franks said the way the Gators hung in there in the loss to South Carolina is an indication that the players are going to continue to fight for the remainder of the season.

“We’ve got a lot to hold our heads high about and a bunch of great players on the team, a bunch of great leaders,” he said. “Ultimately, we didn’t get the outcome that we wanted, but we’re definitely going to finish these two games strong and get prepared for next year. We have a lot to hold our heads high about.

“I’m just going to come back and try to improve every single day. And with a room full of great leaders like we’ve got, I think we’re going to be just fine. We’re going to go out here and be 2-0 in the Swamp. We’ve got the greatest fans in the nation, and they’re just going to come out there and support us. We should be fine.”

Notes: The Gators finish SEC play with a losing record (3-5) for the third time since 2011. … UF is 7-6 when playing against a former head coach since 1999 — 5-5 against Steve Spurrier, 1-1 against Will Muschamp and 1-0 against Gary Darnell. … CJ Henderson’s four interceptions are tied for the most in the nation among all true freshmen, and ranks eighth in the NCAA overall.

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or robbie.andreu@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.


Up next

Who: University of Alabama at Birmingham (7-3) vs. Florida (3-6)

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

TV: SEC Network

Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850


17 COMMENTS

  1. A nice sentiment, but if Coach Shannon doeant replace Nussmeier as OC and promotes from within the staff or one of the quality control coaching assistants, we wont beat fsu…. Period.

    Not that rain is any sort of scary threat, as they are absolutely horrible, but if they can score 14 or 17 points, they’ll win.

  2. The Gators didn’t quit against SC, despite all the negatives. They started slowly but they found some fire as the game progressed. Hopefully the recruits (our commits and those still available) understand the team is undermanned at present, but they are still fighting. When the numbers are strong again next year and when great coaching is in place, there will be much to look forward to, for all Gators. Especially if the new head coach understands that Florida won manychampionships without trying to imitate Alabama.

  3. OK, so if the Gators, every one of them that’s left, give it their individual and collective best in the next two games…..and they still lose…….does that mean we have lousy players or lousy coaches? Or both? Remember, we fall pretty much right, smack, dab in the middle of the SEC on recruiting….and have basically played to that SEC mid-level team position for approximately the last three years. Until now, that is. Just curious as to what other fans think, don’t accuse me of no te hagas pedo here.

  4. Our team needs encouragement and then some because this will help them much for the next two games! When you are a Gator Fan support them all the way! GO GATORS!!!

  5. Maybe we win UAB but sadly that’s it. Love to see Nuss demoted but won’t happen so the good news is just 2 more games and he and this staff is gone.

  6. I think Charlie Strong was interim HC for a bowl game. He later beat Florida as HC of Louisville. That would make us 7-7 against former head coaches.

  7. Well, I for one wont be a negative Nancy because it serves no purpose now. Im for supporting these players with all we have these last 2 games. They really need the 12th man right now to pull out wins and they are playing hard again so they deserve us having their backs! Go Gators!

    • If I were still living in Hogtown I wouldn’t bother going to the UAB game. In most years, it’s at best beating up on a weak sister; this year it could be an embarrassment. I know all the reasoning about money games being a chance to rest, heal, we play a tough SEC schedule, blah and blah…its still boring and either way, much better football on TV that day.

  8. We love you #33 ! You are a joy to watch play the game the way it is supposed to be played, 110% every down, start to finish. We love your guts and grit and appreciate the effort even when your offensive teammates are still struggling the way they are to contribute to a winning effort. MAN, I wish we 21 more just like you. Please ignore the lunatic fringe and their hateful insults and realize that every fan base has them. They ALWAYS come out of the woodwork when the chips are down and their opinions aren’t worthy of you or your teammates attention. Keep honing your craft and you will go down with Brantley and Marshall and Bates as the latest in a long line of Gator LB’s.. All REAL gators are behind you guys 110%…

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