Chemistry helps UF succeed

The Gators celebrate their 63-5 victory against Kentucky on Oct. 25.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, November 17, 2008 at 9:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 17, 2008 at 9:44 p.m.

The Florida Gators lacked more than just experience last season. They didn't have any chemistry, either.

Put the two combustibles together and it added up to a disappointing four-loss season.

The Gators have a lot more of both now, and the combination has helped put UF smack in the middle of the national championship chase coming down the stretch.

The chemistry problem is one Urban Meyer addressed numerous times back in the spring. He made team chemistry a priority.

Now, chemistry isn't a problem or any issue, it's one of the strengths of this team, Meyer said.

After Saturday's 50-point victory over South Carolina, Meyer said the Gators' chemistry borders on phenomenal. He followed up on that Monday.

"One of the great examples. ... against Kentucky we blocked a field goal and Major Wright ran it back," Meyer said. "The entire team, led by the Pounceys (Michael and Maurkice), mauled him on the sideline. Because they understand the effort, they have an appreciation about what each other does.

"The chemistry is real good. I truly believe they care about each other. You see it in the locker room after the game, you see it at the Tuesday practices. It's one of the better ones I've been around."

Meyer said coaches talk about chemistry all the time, but actually having it is easier said than done.

"There isn't an easy answer, or everyone would build it," he said. "I've been in coaching 25 years and you know how many great chemistry teams I've had? Three or four. It's uncommon to have a team with great chemistry.

"I hear coaches say it and then watch them play, and I think that coach is babbling. There's not great chemistry on that team."

Meyer said the chemistry he sees on this year's UF team is legit.

"It's unselfish play, guys caring about each other, guys that hang out together off the field, guys that have relentless effort and they're not going to fail," Meyer said. "That's great chemistry. They're not going to let each other down.

"It's something you've not seen around here very often. I've been doing this a long time and I can pick only three or four teams off the top of my head that have had great chemistry."

At times last season, the Gators seemed like a team divided. Now, they're all together, a true team, they say.

"We love each other," junior wide receiver Percy Harvin said.

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