Davis hopes to build off of BCS game glory
Published: Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 11:06 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 11:06 a.m.
Two tackles is all defensive lineman Torrey Davis needed to cement himself in Florida's national championship lore.
Four plays after Tim Tebow‘s second interception of the first half, and with the score knotted at 7, Oklahoma found itself one yard away from putting the Gators down a touchdown midway through the second quarter.
Punch it in and all the momentum swings OU’s way.
To no one’s surprise, Brown, who had all 25 of the Sooners’ yards on the drive, took the handoff from quarterback Sam Bradford, but as he looked to cut outside, Davis stopped him for no gain. OU used a quick snap to try and catch UF off guard, but as Brown took the ball, the 6-foot-3, 298-pound Davis tore through the line and met the running back two yards behind the line.
“I said, ‘I’m not going to get defeated this play,’ ” Davis said of the fourth-down stop. “I know they’re big, I know they have two All-Americans on their team, but I felt like that didn’t make any difference. I’m going to come off and do what I’m known for doing.”
Davis skipped all the way to UF’s sideline and player after player congratulated him on the biggest play of his two-year career.
But even after the game when a blizzard of multicolored victory confetti showered over Davis while he stood at the 6-yard line just in front of UF’s orange-and-blue end zone at Dolphin Stadium, he still couldn’t fathom his first national championship.
As he tugged at his grey championship hat and looked to his left at a scoreboard that read ‘Florida 24, Oklahoma 14,’ Davis admitted that just two months ago he didn’t expect to be in a Gator uniform.
“To be honest with you, I thought I was going to be back in Tampa,” the Seffner Armwood graduate said. “It was the things I was doing and I didn’t really make up my mind on what I wanted to do, like be the team player and do the college thing.”
Multiple suspensions and academic troubles have plagued Davis’ career since he settled in Gainesville in July of 2007.
Was he on the team? What he off it? Not even UF coach Urban Meyer knew. One thing that was certain, Davis was slowly ruining what began as such a promising college career.
“I was going through complete hell,” Davis said of his life off the field, “but I was putting myself through it. It wasn’t anybody but me doing that.”
Not until his last suspension in November did Davis realize he had to get his act together or his football days would be over.
He pushed harder in practice and stayed on top of his school work. Finally, Davis was back in the good graces of not only his teammates but his coaches.
“Wow ... where he is right now," Meyer said of Davis’ progress. "We walked out on the field four minutes before game time. We were kind of squeezed in that tunnel, and he looks over and says, 'Coach, I appreciate you.' That's about the best conversation we've had since he's been here. It's not been very pleasant. I think he's changed and really sincerely interested in getting an education from Florida. If that happens you can have a great player.”
Davis said he hopes to keep his momentum going after his BCS performance and hopes it will help to destroy the negative image he’s created.
“I felt like I needed that to shut all the haters up,” he said. “Even in high school, I was always getting doubted for doing something (wrong), but I know I can do this and if I put my mind and effort into it, I’m just going to do it.”
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