Based on the reaction — wait, make that overreaction — on social media from Gator fans and others, Florida lost more than just a game in Dallas last Saturday. They lost all hope for the season.
The players and coaches, of course, see it much differently.
It was just one game.
Granted, it was a bad one, but only one.
That was the post-practice theme among some of the players Tuesday.
“It’s only one game at the end of the day,” senior slot receiver Brandon Powell said. “We’ve got, what, about 12 more games to go. That’s nothing to us.
“We went through it last year. We lose a game and everybody is down on us. We’re not worried about everybody. We’re ready for the next opponent, that’s all there is.”
While fans seem content to let the humbling 33-17 loss to Michigan linger, the Gators apparently have already moved on. They’ve studied the tape, have identified their many mistakes and are now working on trying to correct them in time for the next game.
Yes, there are offensive issues.
And while Gator Nation continues to grouse about the lack of imagination, the play-calling of coordinator Doug Nussmeier and the general overall offensive ineptitude, starting with the line, the Gators have put that loss in their rearview mirror.
The season isn’t over. It’s just getting started.
“We’re not going to dwell on the past,” sophomore outside linebacker Kylan Johnson said. “We’re just fixing the mistakes and moving on and just moving forward.”
If their fans want to continue bemoaning all that they think is wrong with the offense, why Nussmeier needs to go, why coach Jim McElwain’s program suddenly has no future, that’s perfectly OK with the Gators.
They’re not listening. Or reading.
“We’re not worried about anybody, but the people on our team,” Powell said. “Everybody is confident. That’s all we really care about. Everybody can say what they want to say. It doesn’t matter to us.
“I don’t pay attention to outside stuff, I just worry about my team, whatever coach Mac tells us we need to work on. We watch film, we see what we need to work on. That’s all we really care about.
“As you can see, we’ve been out there grinding. Everybody is still positive, everybody knows it’s only one game. We’ve got a long season to go. We’re just trying to take it game by game. Northern Colorado is next up on the schedule, so just focus on them.”
The Gators are just like their fans in one respect. They too were disappointed in their opening-day performance on a national stage and experienced a deep hurt because of it.
“It’s the first game, everybody is expecting a better outcome,” Powell said. “You just take it game by game. Some days you don’t have your day. That was one of our days where we didn’t have our day. That’s why we’re at practice, trying to get better.”
Unlike the fans, the players are ready to walk away from the loss.
They have no choice, really. There’s another game Saturday (weather permitting) and there are at least 10 more after that, maybe even more.
“I just know our guys have got to go out and play again,” McElwain said. “We’ve got to have a good week of practice. In doing that, you can’t feel sorry for yourselves. Sometimes when you go through whatever it is you do it doesn’t work out the way you want it, you’ve got a choice to sit there and pout and cry about it or you’ve got a choice to sit there and go do something about it. I’m excited to get back on the field.”
There’s no reason to let the last game effect the next one.
“It ain’t like we haven’t been through something like this before,” Powell said. “We’re not concerned about anything. It’s only one game. We have a long season ahead of us.”
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.