Daily Football Fix: UF players working on goals

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The Georgia Dome before for the SEC Championship Game, in Atlanta on Dec. 3, 2016. (Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun)

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.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Seems like the same bravado year after year. For once it would be great to say little and prove it on the field. Now I would be shocked if this team didn’t do better than last year’s team. How could it not? The bar is low. Last year’s coaches were the pits. Everything from conditioning to schemes to play calling was atrocious I think anything less than 8 wins would be a disappointment. But enough with the talk, work hard and prove it on the field.

  2. If we develop some true leaders for the future then it will be our best season since tebow left by far. If not the record won’t matter but hopefully we can find some the next year.

    Thanks to the newspaper for no clickbait on the QB situation unlike yesterday!

  3. A team that doesn’t believe that it can win every game is not going to win every game. I want them to wake up every Saturday morning and think: We are going to win today.

  4. The football team has been underachieving, and Gator Nation knows it! If the Gators had a great QB, eight wins would be sub-par. The fans know the Gators are a championship caliber team, and we are one QB away from being there again!!!

    • Even above average quarterback play would get us back in the mix, doc. We’ve got the running backs and receivers for sure, the only question would be the OL. The defense should be on fire again c the new scheme. But I’ll sure as hell take some great quarterbacking if it’s available!

  5. Been following the Gators since the sixties and I agree the team must have the attitude that they can win every game. That said, this kind of talk seems false bravado rather than true confidence. Hope I am wrong but we have heard the same thing for the last 10 years with basically the same result. We

  6. Confidence and hope have been forever linked to success in spurts and other spheres of life. After suffering through a miserably disappointing season in 2017 this team is understandably optimistic. New coach, new staff with track records of success, a very different looking offense and defense, and a sea change in culture are providing impetus for these players to achieve. They’ll get better week to week in the fall, then finish off an FSU team facing a serious transition with a head coach who always needs time. Time, and lots of time to get his program moving.

  7. David, my friend, I started following in 1960, probably shared some of the same ballgames with you. We’ve had two I’ll-prepared head coaches the last eight years. I don’t know for sure, but doesn’t it seem as though we’ve struck coaching gold again?

    • It does to me, Clyde….it sure does. I am so glad we passed on that prima donna Kelly, sometimes I just want to shout GO GATORS in the middle of a crowded room!

  8. And I’m dreaming it Rob – I know we haven’t played a down yet, but CDM has already worked wonders pulling a fragmented team and Gator Nation together with strong, positive leadership, confidence and aggressiveness towards improvement. This HBC and staff know how to coach up winning SEC football. Dis gonna be good.

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