When things aren’t going great and you lose a game you’re expecting to win, there is going to be frustration, anger and some discontent.
It’s natural, it’s OK, it’s acceptable.
As long as it doesn’t seep into the locker room.
Losing a game. … you can recover from that. Losing the locker room. … well, that could invite disaster.
In Florida’s case, coming off the emotional one-point loss to LSU, the locker room seems fine for now, UF coach Jim McElwain said.
“I know our guys are ready to get going again,” he said. “You could feel that at the team dinner (Sunday night), the disappointment yet the excitement to really move forward and still go get after it.
“I’m sure they are (frustrated). They want to win as badly as anybody. Ultimately, it’s about winning and we didn’t win this last game.”
Despite the loss and the frustrating lack of production on offense, the Gators appear to be sticking together and standing behind their coaches, ready to play on this season.
“Just being a player (is how you deal with it),” sophomore wide receiver Freddie Swain said. “Being a man about what happened and taking the loss, and hopefully bouncing back next week and correcting our mistakes. “You’re going to have some downs. It’s what happens. But you’ve got to rally around each other and come back stronger.”
A tough loss like Saturday’s can ignite emotions in its immediate aftermath, and that was the case Saturday night with one former Florida player and two current players who took to Twitter to vent.
Former defensive end Bryan Cox Jr., who played for McElwain the past two seasons, and is now with the Carolina Panthers of the NFL, lashed out after yet another poor offensive performance by the Gators and coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
“Time is running out on Florida’s predictable high school offense….trash,” Cox posted on Twitter.
He followed up with this tweet: “Tired of it…can’t even tell you how many talented offensive players I have seen come through UF during my time…not a personnel issue.”
McElwain seemed fine with his former player’s right to express himself.
“I was told about those comments,” McElwain said. “That’s Bryan, man. I love him. He’s a Gator.”
Two current Gators — Notre Dame graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire and true freshmen defensive end Zachary Carter — took to Twitter to express their apparent frustration over a lack of playing time.
“Smh! What. A. Shame,” Zaire posted.
“Free 94,” Tweeted Carter, who wears No. 94.
Given those two tweets, McElwain was asked about the team’s mentality in the locker room.
“I think this is a tight-knit group that’s been through a bunch,” McElwain said. “It doesn’t matter what field you’re in, there will be frustration if you’re not getting a bunch of snaps. It’s natural, the reaction piece to it, but as a whole, when you look at it, this team is pretty close.
“They were hurt. We have the same thing when you go win. So it’s no different. And usually you can probably predict the guys that are disgruntled.”
If Zaire is unhappy, it’s not been apparent around his teammates, Swain said.
“He keeps everybody up. He still has energy,” Swain said. “Still brings a lot of that to the game. It’s just his number doesn’t get called on, but he keeps everybody up. He doesn’t get down. Or he doesn’t show it towards us.”
Junior offensive guard Tyler Jordan said he did not see Zaire’s post on Twitter, but that the Gators remain close as a team despite the loss.
“After games, especially that game, I just stay off of Twitter,” Jordan said. “I try and keep all the negative stuff away. But, I didn’t really have a chance to talk to him yet. I think we’re still a tight knit group, we’re focused on Texas A&M this week and we’ve got to win.”
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.
Who: Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1) vs. Florida (3-2, 3-1)
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850