Can’t let season go to waste, UF’s Hammond says

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Florida wide receiver Josh Hammond is brought down by Kentucky safety Mike Edwards (7) in the first half. At the end of the first half Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Cyndi Chambers/Gainesville Sun Correspondent]

The result — a 27-16 loss — was a stunner for a program that was hoping for its 32nd straight win against Kentucky.

But the key, said UF receiver Josh Hammond, is letting it go like an old pair of shoes.

“It’s over with. There’s nothing we can do about it right now,” said Hammond. “Nobody can have their heads down. We can’t let our season go to waste kind of like we did last year.”

You remember last year.

Florida beat Kentucky in 2017, but lost six of its last seven to go 4-7 and miss a bowl game for the second time in five seasons.

Suddenly this season, just going to a bowl game feels like a lofty goal for a team that struggled to run the ball and couldn’t stop the run.

Coach Dan Mullen’s message to the Gators after the loss was simple — the rest of the season starts Monday with practice.

“We have to get back to work,” Mullen said. “We’ve got to practice with an intensity level that’s going to allow you to perform on Saturday.

“We’ve got to find a way to get better.”

Against Kentucky, Florida’s running backs only ran the ball 15 times for 74 yards.

“We probably weren’t patient enough,” Mullen said.

And one reason for that was Florida’s inability to get Kentucky off the field. The Wildcats never had a three-and-out in the game and rushed for 303 yards against the Florida defense. As a result, Kentucky had 31:10 of possession time despite Florida running 10 more plays.

And because they were struggling to run the ball, the Gators basically abandoned it.

“It’s real tough,” Hammond said. “Give Kentucky credit. We have to come out to practice and execute and be more physical.

“One thing Coach Mullen points out was that teams that won the national championship weren’t undefeated.”

Anybody thinking national championships right now?

“We have to be ready to work, grind, come out Monday ready to work,” Hammond said. “The biggest thing is we can’t dwell on the past too long. That happened last year. We lost, we lost again, then lost again. It got to a point where everybody was hanging their heads.”

20 COMMENTS

  1. Did anyone teach the D line this summer or did they go fishing and drink beer? Did anyone on the team this summer work out or did they just get weaker? Who was supposed to teach the D line? Who taught tackling drills? Who taught linebackers to to play? One of them missed every tackle? Who taught a D back to loose his man and let them become be wide open? Were any adjustments made at halftime or did they just eat milk and cookies? Reference leg cramps just after halftime.
    The O line was taught by Who? They were pathetic, again! Overall Gardner needs to be quiet! The O line and D lines need a demerit, they were bad boys and can not play! The entire team needs to know how to be aggressive and how to play football. How do the leading O line players forget their assignments? This is a bad way to begin SEC play. Oh yea, why did CECE decide to come back, for what???

    • Are you serious? Did you see our product st all last year? Did you think Mullen would come in, wave a wand and… poof, the Gators of ole would come back?
      Of course our lines are bad, our linebackers are weak, and our QB situation, is well, the same. It’s gonna take Coach Mullen a few years to sort it out, I just hope he doesn’t get chased out of town early by unrealistic fans

  2. ”We have to come out to practice and execute and be more physical.” -Hammond.
    And perhaps run harder (Scarlett and Davis, esp. since the nice looking freshman R.B., Pierce, is ”transferring” now.) And block with better technique (whole damn O-line), tackle with more fundamentals Gator ‘D’ (not grab the guy, swing him to the ground, like you 2 are dancing, but opps, he didn’t go down, no, he ran to the 1st DOWN MARKER).
    And the Q.B. can’t ”bird-dog” receivers (stare them down). But look at the WIDE OPEN ones, and THROW IT (see Malik Davis for 2 points? Didn’t think so, Felipe). Damn, Gators, records breaking all over the place the last 8 years, and NOT the kind that matter. I am 50 years old, I was 11 years old and in middle school the last time U.K. won in Gainesville, FL. It was the 0-10-1 year, enough said! If you’re going be bad, be real bad, like 1-11. But IF YOU REALLY WANT TO WIN GAMES, TRY MUCH HARDER! It isn’t that damn hard, it isn’t NUCLEAR ENGINEERING, it’s FOOTBALL! Most of you have been playing your whole damn lives! ”Come on Gators, get up and go!” I waited ’till morning to comment, cause… well, figure it out!

  3. After this performance I can tell that this season is already lost. I had my doubts after that first game, after their inability to dominate a clearly out classed opponent, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt. It was the first game. Let’s see what they have when they play a “real” team. The only “problem” is that Kentucky is “good” but not “great”. What is going to happen when this team plays a “great” team? They will get destroyed. This team looked pathetic. Georgia or Alabama would score 100 points on this defense and our offense will not score a point. Wait, I think their running back just broke another tackle and scored. Wait, I think the OL just missed another assignment and let another rusher run free. Wow! I never saw a Florida team play and look so bad. Do you think these kids are going to change who they are in a few practices and over the course of a few games? No!

  4. And yea, I saw it. It isn’t Pierce transferring (thank God!), it’s Lemons, who did look like a stud R.B. at the end of last year. Best wishes to him. He’ll probably end up starting somewhere else. But the thing about ”some kids” today, who grew up with a purple dinosaur, is they ”want it now”, or else it’s, ”WHAAA!” Put a ”binki” (pacifier) in that mouth, practice harder, learn the playbook, and maybe you’ll play one day! Damn, I’m disappointed in Florida Football! U.K. better win the East, or else U.F. is in desperate need of all new players.

  5. What an overreaction. It’s a loss to a well coached, determined opponent that’s lived with an historic embarrassment for three decades. Sooner or later Kentucky was going to end the streak. This game was a gauge for Dan Mullen’s first team as well as his program building at Florida. Well, there’s lots of work to be done. Should that really surprise anyone? Steve Spurrier, appearing on the SEC broadcast, said that while our current team has some very good players what it will take is a succession of Top 5 recruiting classes for us to compete at the highest level.

    Before this season Mullen declared this team would be better by the end of the year, would improve as time goes on. He’s leading a roster mostly constructed by a weak predecessor and has an long underachieving offensive line and an interior defensive line led by sophomores. We are similarly young st linebacker and in our secondary. This team will improve over the course of this schedule, will win plenty, grab a good bowl invitation and welcome a real good class of recruits this winter.

    I badly missed on my prediction for the Kentucky game. We’re all learning what kind of team we have. So is Dan Mullen.

    Patience.

    • I don’t like to make predictions but I’ll have a hunch one way or another. I either feel good about our chances or I am worried. And I was very worried about this game because it had too much the make up of a trap game. There was too much cool aid flying around about how good these guys were going to be when we should expect them to have growing pains. We should not forget that these players were running a pro-style offense that struggled and the spread is completely different. The defense is sort of in the same boat having to adapt to a new system. So, we need to give this team time.

  6. IMHO scarlet should not play. At best he is 4 yards and cloud of dust type of guy. Maybe he will go into a great nfl career but at UF he’s done next to nothing.
    I’d like to support Franks but man that two pt play! I can’t understand what he was thinking there that doesn’t get any easier. No one covering on primary receiver!

    Line can’t block, defense doesn’t tackle. I can’t see a conference game where UF will be favored right now. Even Vandy looks good compared to UF. Even the dysfunctional Vols look like a tough physical opponent.

  7. Good post Clyde. At least we know what needs to be worked on. Everything. I hope we come out and practice hard and then play hard on Saturday. Go Gators. I’ve been on the band wagon since 1979 and will be ’til the end. I just love the Gators, win or lose.

  8. Three things that stand out like a sore thumb. Not one three and out from the defense??? Also defense looked like they never faced a mobile QB. And O-Line WOW there are no words. Also Muschamp left Mac a great defense and Will Grier. Mac left a total mess. I know Mullen is the man for the job, but thanks Mac for what you left.

  9. On 3 or 4 occasions when an injured UK player was down, some UF fans not only embarrassed themselves with their ignorance of the game (the stopped play clock did not benefit UK and was not intentional by UK players) but they actually booed hurt UK players.

    What happened to clapping when an injured players gets back on his feet? Disgraceful, along with only 80-85% of capacity on hand. As fan for over 40 years and a player, I was sickened. Couldn’t imagine laying on the field and being booed when I got back to my feet!