Notebook: Gators out to win out
Published: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 10:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 10:09 p.m.
With the sour taste of a four-game losing streak washed from their mouths, the Florida Gators have emerged with a new goal — win ‘em all.
“We're hungry for another SEC victory,” said offensive lineman Kyle Koehne on Tuesday, “we want to win out and finish this thing right for the seniors.”
Said wide receiver Andre Debose: “You come to Florida to win, and we just pretty much want to win out, win all the games. That's my only goal, just to win.”
Florida (5-4, 3-4 in the Southeastern Conference) travels to South Carolina, followed by games against Furman and Florida State at home.
What's at stake, many of the players say, is whether this season is a success or failure.
“If we do win out, I feel it's a very successful season,” Debose said. “We accomplished a lot of things this year. We didn't get the ultimate goal of going to Atlanta, but for the team we have, that's a pretty good season.”
And one more loss?
“It would be kind of a failure for us, the young guys,” he said. “We're all for the seniors. We're trying to send them out the right way.”
Running back Jeff Demps is a member of UF's small senior class. As a veteran leader, he provides his teammates with some perspective.
“Well, you know, it's not the best season, but it's been pretty good,” he said. “We've got a couple losses, but it happens. So we're just going to move forward and try to win out from here.
“You know our goal every season is to get to the SEC Championship. But we can't this year. But hopefully next year they'll be able to.”
Tuesday's practice gave Florida offensive coordinator Charlie Weis a bit of a lift to see starting quarterback John Brantley moving well.
“Actually John looked pretty good,” Weis said afterward. “He could have practiced (Monday). We got two things out of that — he got more rest and the other guys got more work. That worked out for everyone. But he got almost all of the reps (Tuesday).”
Florida running backs Chris Rainey and Mike Gillislee, who have dealt with sprained ankles recently, also appear ready to play on Saturday.
“Like everyone else, they're banged up,” Weis said. “Chris was out there practicing (Tuesday). … It doesn't look like a game-time decision. He didn't practice (Tuesday) hoping for a game-time decision, I don't think.”
Fourth-year junior Sam Robey took first-team reps at center in practice on Monday, according to Koehne. Weis said Florida would “not stand pat” as far as personnel changes on the offensive line.
Robey replaced third-year sophomore Jonotthan Harrison early in the second half after Harrison struggled with high shotgun snaps. Weis called the impact of those snaps on the offense “significant.”
Koehne said he noticed Harrison, his roommate, go through some ups and downs after being pulled.
“We all went to help him out and pick him up,” Koehne said. “But it's up to him to decide how he responds.”
Koehne, who replaced starting guard Dan Wenger in the second half last week, expects to go back to the bench.
“I won't be starting this week, most likely,” Koehne said. “They'll decide later in the week.”
Wenger has battled through an ankle injury suffered against Auburn, but Weis expects him to be available at South Carolina.
“Danny's always whining about something,” Weis said.
Spurrier's plan to win
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier has a pretty blunt assessment of his Gamecocks and how they have to play if they want to beat Florida on Saturday.
“Florida is probably the best in the country in special teams play. We have to be careful that that doesn't cost us the game,” he said Tuesday. “They haven't been real great offensively. They had some injuries to their quarterback. For us to win, our defense needs to play well.
“Offensively if we can get two to three touchdowns driving the ball, that's about what we're good for. That's just where we are, as most people know.”
Contact Jeff Barlis at (352) 374-5066 or email@example.com and follow at http://Twitter.com/JeffBarlis