For a team that still has questions at quarterback and is coming off a 4-7 season and a coaching change, a reasonable and attainable goal for 2018 would be, let’s say six or seven wins, right?
Maybe eight or nine, although nine might be stretching it.
But don’t tell that to Dan Mullen’s first Florida football team.
The Gators are aiming high. Even higher than Atlanta, where reaching the SEC Championship Game would be good, but not good enough.
I know, crazy talk.
But that’s the mindset of the players as they continue summer workouts with an eye on the start of preseason camp in August.
Mullen has been stressing that this is going to be a championship program again. So, why not now, the players are saying.
“Yes, definitely,” junior middle linebacker David Reese said. “We’ve got the talent to do it.
“Yes, sir, (we can be a playoff team). We’ve got a long way to go. The summer is just a stepping stone to that. We just have to keep on working.”
It’s certainly a lofty goal, one that the analysts would say is way too high for this team to reach.
But the players seem OK with that, OK with the critics.
“That’s fine,” junior wide receiver Freddie Swain said. “Hey, when the pads come on, it’s go time.
“I believe we can be a playoff contender. You’ve got to believe and we’ve got to put in the work. The work comes with it. We have to apply it on the field and just go from there.”
Senior defensive tackle Khairi Clark said reaching Atlanta is a goal. But not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to win a championship and restore the Florida standard that Mullen keeps talking about.
“Most definitely,” Clark said. “I would definitely say we can be way better than we were last year. You could just sense the vibe, the coaches, the workouts that we’re going. It’s going to be a different year for us.”
Winning a championship certainly would be different — and unexpected — but the players plan to shoot for it.