After Florida coach Dan Mullen addressed the team following Saturday’s 38-17 loss to Missouri, redshirt senior tight end R.J. Raymond stood up.
Raymond, who has taken a vocal leadership role inside the tight end unit this season, wished to impart a message to the Gators who had begun to hang their heads in defeat.
Raymond implored his teammates to attack every aspect of the game. Mullen did the same, stressing the Gators often struggled when it came to playing with consistent energy on every play.
Still emotional after the contest, Raymond reiterated his postgame message to the assembled media. For the third time in his career at Florida, Raymond had felt defeat at the hands of the Tigers, and it all seemed to come out at once.
“At the end of the day it comes down to our preparation. We didn’t execute and that’s really the bottom line. We got to make the plays when the plays are there. We got to hit the receivers. We got to protect. We got to block the right run plays,” Raymond said. “It comes down to 100-percent execution and that’s it. It’s not like we haven’t put up points before this season so it’s all execution and that comes down to what you do Monday through Friday.”
The execution aspect is one that’s come under scrutiny before from both Mullen and the team — although it would be tough for someone to argue the Gators have improved in said execution this season, especially after a three-possession defeat.
Mullen has used the term “details” to describe the aspects in which Florida is currently lacking. For one of the first times this season, the first-year UF head coach elaborated on several areas in which UF can improve in practice.
“I talk to our guys about the sense of urgency they have to have in every detail. This is where your toughness is challenged, the coaches, everyone. When you get into November, I’m tired, I’m beat up, I’m sore, I’m exhausted, the season’s going on and it’s been wearing down,” Mullen said. “Do I have the intensity every single day? Make sure every detail, you know, is my toe behind the line in stretching? I mean, every detail. Or are we kind of, hey, let’s go, we’re good. That doesn’t work. As coaches that’s a lot on us.”
From the way Mullen tells it, the current crop of Gators are a program accustomed to a drop off if the jackpot at the end of the season isn’t as appealing. Mullen labeled them “details”, which can carry the connotation that they’re not as important as other aspects; Raymond doesn’t concur with that sentiment. In his eyes, every aspect is equally important, and Florida won’t peak until it treats the details as if they’re determining factors in UF’s success moving forward.
“There’s no such thing as little details, in my opinion. Every single thing matters. Because, you might think that when you’re holding the ball, when you got the ball secured, but if that ball is not completely secured when you’re running and you’re holding that ball low, you might think ‘oh that’s just a little detail’, but if it’s fourth and one, the game’s on the line and you’re holding that ball low and somebody punches it out? No, it becomes a huge detail, and you lose the game,” Raymond said. “So, every little thing has to be brought to the highest level. I think it just comes down to the want to, and wanting to do it every single play and being locked in every single play, every single day.”