UF finding leaders, Addazio says

Published: Friday, October 29, 2010 at 9:56 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 29, 2010 at 9:56 a.m.

Although Florida can still reach Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game, the adversity the Gators have faced this season could have easily erased confidence and replaced it with doubt and disinterest.

That has not happened to the Gators, UF coaches say.

“I’ve seen teams at other placers in the past where the demeanor drops (during a losing streak) and there’s a lot of noise and they listen to it,”UF offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said on Gator Hotline Thursday night. “I don’t see that at all. What I see is a hungry football team with an unbelievably great attitude and a great work ethic. The morale of our team is excellent.”

Early in the year, leadership was something lacking on and off the field. Many key veterans from 2009 moved on to the NFL, and identifying new players with the proper leadership qualities was a slow process.

But after a third consecutive loss and bye week, Addazio said those leaders have begun to emerge.

“We had a lot of personalities that were (leading our team last year),” he said. “Those guys have gone on and they’re having unprecedented success at the next level. So there’s a new group of guys trying to foster chemistry and leadership, and I think that’s been ongoing. But in the bye week we saw some of that growing and that’s really important (for this team). We feel the guys we have are developing those characteristics and it’s coming.”

Part of being a leader is getting your teammates to gel and focus on the task at hand, especially during times of adversity.

Rather than dwelling on the past, making excuses and placing blame, Addazio said the Gators went at it during the past two weeks of practice.

They expect their efforts to show this weekend, Addazio said.

“We don’t really waste a lot of time thinking about what was,” he said. “Obviously you want to evaluate and learn from the mistakes you’re making, but you’ve got to get ready because the future’s coming right at you. Every ounce of energy, every fiber, everything is all about winning this game on Saturday.”

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