Frustrated Gators looking to regroup vs. Aggies

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Florida freshman defensive end Zachary Carter leaves the field Saturday after the Gators lost to LSU at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

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 robbie.andreu@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.

 


Saturday

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

TV: ESPN2

Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850


16 COMMENTS

  1. Yea, we’re ”frustrated” Gator Football fans, and for years now. These young guys on this team, right or wrong, are hearing more than their ”fair share” of the ”fan frustration”. In fact, they’re hearing 7 1/2 years of ”frustration”. And since we’re told by other Gator fans on talk shows, and commenters, etc.. to be ”patient”, I will be ”patient”. But you can’t expect us to be happy, too! I am angry, sad, then even befuddled that my lifelong, hometown, college team is ”average”!
    I will hope for the best, and expect the worst. That’s the best I can do after 7 and half years of being ”average”. Oh, there was ‘1’ Sugar Bowl appearance with Muschamp… no, they played ”average”, too, and lost!

  2. Saturday’s game was painful to watch the first half. The long square out is about our best play. The off tackle dives on 1st & 10 become a little predictable. We’re playing not to lose & it’s ugly. Hope the offensive game plan improves. I certainly like Coach Mac & want him to be successful at UF. Can’t blame an extra point or a defense which holds LSU under 20. We should be scoring 30 plus a game imo.

  3. UGA year 2 under Smart: 6-0, top 5, true freshman QB ans blowing out opponents by 25 to 30 points a game.

    USCe Year 2 under Muschump: 4 – 2, just hung 48 points on an Arkansas teamntnat blew our doors off last Year.

    Miami Year 2 under Right: Young QB, less to equal talent as UF, currently undefeated and just beat fsu, who is on a 4 game win streak against UF.

    UF year 3 under McElwain: 3 – 2, blowout loss, homecoming loss, ofdense not in the top 100 AGAIN. Defense can’t defend same play over and over. Offense has zero identity.

    I think that pretty much says it all.

  4. Like in the hard cruel business world, we must go with bottom line results. We will know even before this season ends, if Mac’s performance is good enough. Except for GA, the rest of our games could go either way. If we beat everyone but GA, is that not good enough for a wounded young team? BUT, I’m more concerned there is no LEADERSHIP! Why did 9 guys get arrested for violating school card policy??? Did they have orientation to make it obvious to them what breaking the rules means or were they left to just do whatever, which on the surface, appears to be Mac’s natural attitude: “whatever mind set wearing flip flop shoes at he Gainesville airport”…I’m telling everyone personal appearance is a sign of what’s inside…mark may word and ask my wife, she is right! I hope I’m wrong.

  5. Run his a** off! This is an elite program that should settle for nothing less than top 5. He’s a poor recruiter, a yuk-yuk ah shucks coach with no seriousness or passion for the game. Compare him to Saban — night and day.