Editorial: Losing with class

Published: Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 4, 2013 at 11:34 p.m.

The Gators surpassed expectations this football season, so it's unfortunate the way it ended.

It's not that Florida lost its final game. In every game, somebody wins and somebody loses.

No, it's the way the Gators lost that raises cause for concern. At the very least it indicates that this up-and-coming team is badly in need of an attitude adjustment before its players take the field again next season.

Nobody predicted that the Gators' season would be so spectacular. After ranking 23rd in preseason polls, the Gators had just one regular season loss and finished with a resounding victory against the archrival Seminoles.

Losing against Louisville in the Sugar Bowl still means the Gators finished with a commendable 11-2 record. But undisciplined play in the game revealed problems that must be addressed.

A low point was the onside kick during which Gator players committed two personal fouls and one was ejected.

The Gators committed 16 personal fouls, three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and three roughing the passer penalties during the season, according to a tally by Sun sports reporter Kevin Brockway. Those numbers reflect poorly on the team.

Defensive players who celebrate after big hits, even when the team is down by a significant margin, do the same. But criticism has to start with head coach Will Muschamp, whose sideline tirades set an unfortunate tone.

The Gators should be lauded for the season, but must resolve to better represent the University of Florida with their behavior on the field.

The old saying still goes: It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.

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