Being a double-digit underdog, and coming off consecutive home losses, doesn’t seem to have shaken Florida’s confidence.
If anything, some of the Gators are coming off as maybe a little bit too confident heading into their game against No. 3 Georgia, especially sophomore cornerback Chauncey Gardner Jr.
Gardner doesn’t seem all that impressed with true freshman Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm and star senior tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, the best running back combination in the SEC.
“You say they have a great quarterback. I get it,” Gardner said. “He’s throwing simple passes. I get it. Anybody can throw a slant. I get it. We’re just playing football. If you call him the best quarterback, so be it, but he has to play Saturday.
“We’re going to see what his best attribute is. If he can beat us with his arm, whoopty doo. But we’re not focused on what he can do, what he can’t do. We’re just going to go out and focus on us and just play football like the past three or four weeks.”
Gardner doesn’t seem overwhelmed by the ability of the two talented tailbacks, either. (By the way, they’ve combined to rush for 1,180 yards and 14 touchdowns).
“It’s just another running back crew,” Gardner said. “We’ve just got to do what we have to do, what we’ve been doing all year. They put their pads on, we put our pads on. They’re seniors. I guess that makes them higher up? That makes them the best duo, I guess. But, they’ve got to play football. Just go out there and compete and have fun.”
Gardner and sophomore wide receiver Josh Hammond said the Gators don’t look at themselves as big underdogs Saturday. They expect to compete with the Bulldogs, and win.
“The thing about this team, we have a lot of focus, a lot of mental prep,” Gardner said. “A lot of teams go in there, ‘Oh they have this, have that,’ but our team is not focused on what they have. We are focused on us. This game feels like a championship game to us.
“If they are the best team, so be it, but they have to play Saturday. We’re going to see them Saturday. If you all feel like they are the best team, pick ‘em, do what you’ve got to do. But we’re going to go out there with our defense, with our offense and play this game and win the game.”
Hammond points to the recent history of the rivalry. The Gators have won three in a row and 21 of the last 27.
“Our seniors have never lost to Georgia, so I think that mentality that they bring, being that they’ve never lost to Georgia, that brings a lot of confidence to us, just knowing that Georgia isn’t a team that we lose to,” Hammond said. “I think that’s the message in the locker room right now: They might be the No. 3 team in the country, but they can’t beat Florida. That’s our mentality going forward and we’ll come out and be ready to play.”