Chip on their shoulders

The Florida Gators warm up before the team's second day of Bowl Championship Series practices at Scottsdale Community College in Scottsdale, Arizona

DOUG FINGER/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, January 4, 2007 at 9:41 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 4, 2007 at 9:41 a.m.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. The Florida Gators were definitely downplaying the lack of respect angle when they were practicing back in Gainesville. Now that they've arrived in the desert and the national title game is fast approaching, the UF players have started making it an issue.

In their first head-to-head meeting with the national media on Wednesday, several players said the Gators are highly motivated by the lack of respect they are receiving across the nation.

The usually soft-spoken Joe Cohen, the senior defensive tackle from Melbourne, said the Gators are getting the vibe from across the country that they don't belong in Monday night's game.

Other players expressed a similar view after Wednesday's practice at Scottsdale Community College.

Junior defensive Jarvis Moss, who has been tearing it up in bowl practices, said the Gators will prove everyone wrong in Monday night's game.

Like he's been saying since he blocked the field goal on the final play to give the Gators a victory over South Carolina, Moss reiterated that he thinks this is a team of destiny.

"So many things had to happen for us to end up here and they all happened," Moss said. "I've been around some special teams and this is a very special team. I think you'll see that Monday night."

Moss said the players love the fact they are the underdogs in this game.

The fight for respect certainly is a strong motivator, one the Gators apparently have embraced.

That's all fine and good, but maybe they should have kept this to themselves until after the game.

Now, their comments are going to get out and only serve as motivation for Ohio State.

Cohen said the Gators were going to put on a show Monday night. That quote certainly is going to get the attention of the No. 1 team in the nation.

Of course, all this talk usually means little or nothing once the game starts.

But it's obvious the Gators are carrying a considerable chip on their shoulder heading into this one.

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