Were the mighty Gators too full of themselves?


NEW ORLEANS — Riding a 22-game winning streak and feeling no one could beat them, the Florida Gators got knocked down a huge notch in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama humbled and embarrassed the No. 1 team in the nation. That’s why the Gators are here now instead of getting ready to go to Pasadena for theBCS Championship Game against Texas.

Clearly, for some strange reason, the Gators did not appear ready to play in the SEC title game. Mentally and physically, they didn’t seem themselves. There was

no juice, no passion, no sense of urgency. As a result, they were splattered 32-13 by a hungry Alabama team looking for atonement for the 2008 SEC Championship Game loss to Florida.

If you listen to senior outside linebacker tell it, the Gators went up to Atlanta a little to full of themselves.

“I feel like we played poorly because we were up on that high throne and felt like we couldn’t get beat,” Ryan Stamper said. “Things went our way every time on the football field all season. We always came out winning the football game. We thought teams would lie down for us.

“Alabama came out and took it to us and we couldn’t get in the flow of the game. Everyone had it in their head, ‘We’ll score and be all right. We’ll come back.’ Even when we were down late in the game. But it didn’t happen. We didn’t make it happen.”

The Sugar Bowl is not where this team wanted to end the season. But now that they’re hear, the Gators say they’re using it to regain their hunger.
Based on what happened to Alabama here last year (a loss to Utah) after falling at the SEC title game, the Gators know if they don’t come ready to play they’ll end their season with a two-game losing streak.

“We can’t let that happen,” Stamper said. “We’re going to prepare and be ready to play. We’ve got that hunger again.”


  1. It seemed to me we played not to lose, rather than to win all year. The team seemed tight on both sides of the ball. Look at 2008- the defense was all over the field. This year, where were the blocked punts, the sacks? What happened to the full-out offense. I think that caught up to us in Atlanta. You could see the pressure on everybody throughout the season. Now, we know about the full toll. No matter- I’m really proud to be a Gator- of the class, dignity and “team” our guys put out every week! Good luck in New Orleans- GO GATORS!!

  2. That’s interesting that Stamper said that. I remember watching an interview with Tim, some time during the last three games of the season and he said “We’re just enjoying being #1 right now.”

    Ok…..I love Tim Tebow and all and think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, but that tells me a lot about the prevailing attitude of that team if their biggest leader is saying we are “enjoying being #1” before the season is even over. Why? Because being #1 during the season DOES NOT AMOUNT TO A HILL OF BEANS!!!!! It’s where you FINISH the season that matters.

    But we already knew that, didn’t we?.

    Come to think of it, I can’t remember any player expressing feelings similar to my previous point all season. It may have been expressed by someone but it wasn’t expressed enough in player interviews where I would remember it and I watched the majority of them. “Enjoying being #1” DURING THE SEASON has a an immense potential to lead to complacency. And it looks like that’s what happened, according to Ryan Stamper.

    Oh well….I know Meyer had them working hard and all during the summer however it just seems that during the season they may have bought into it a little bit. Who knows??

    Anyways, you can’t win SEC’s and Natty’s with mediocre receivers, an average O-line, and backs that don’t get more than 6 touches a game, especially if you’re running the spread-O where the right personnel is so critical. P.S…..please don’t respond to this if you think Riley Cooper is gonna make it in the NFL.

  3. Certainly fits, in retrospect…SOMETHING like that was going on, as far as team ethos is concerned. I can’t count how many times this season I found myself muttering the same kind of sentiment regarding our O, even games we won handily: “Can’t just avoid losing”, “Gotta go all out, THAT’S Gator ball”, “Stretch the field, damnit”, and “Too many points left on the field”. Finally, “Gonna catch up to us when everything’s on the line”, did.

  4. The team, minus 2 starters on D and Spikes injured, showed up flat on both sides of the ball and with a very questionable offensive game plan, got hammered by a bama team that was 10 times more focused and angry about the 2008 loss. Florida wasn’t good enough to just “show up” and win, evidenced by poor performances in several games (Tennessee, Arkansas, Miss State, South Carolina…)

  5. The gators did not have the talent to beat bama in any phase of the game. Just try to match julio jones ,mark ingram ,trent richardson, mount cody javier arenas etc. The fans were more in the dark about the lack of talent than the players. Just look at arkansas game , the gators needed the officials to win that game. Bama slaughtered arkansas.

  6. On MARTA after the game an Alabama fan told me ” you can thank Auburn for that game. The really gave us the wakle up call we needed.” to which a Florida Fan responded, “And our guys watched how poorly you guys played against Auburn and thought, ‘These guys are nothing, we got them beat already’, no wonder we got out butts kicked.”

    Meyer said all year we take this one game at a time, Saban has been working on this game plan for 364 days.

  7. I really believe that the Carlos Dunlap situation was the final straw in a year of soap operas for the team. We needed all hands on deck and complete focus for that game against an extremely talented opponet in Alabama. I’m not suggestiing here that just the fact that if Dunlap had played that we could have won, it was just the situation itself that I think put our team in a funk, especially the defense who had played so well during the entire season. It was the final straw that broke the camels back and the focus of the entire football team in what Pat Dooley refers to as the “season of the weird”.

  8. Jeeze, maybe we should let all the “experts” leaving comments here run the program, if they know so damned much about football.

    Bottom line is that Robbie’s assessment is pretty much spot-on. They were too full of themselves. But they learned, and performed admirably in the Sugar.

    Give these kids a break. They’re the winningest class in SEC history, and they just went 13-1.

    Stop being so spoiled, all you armchair coaches.

  9. What a great victory over Cincy in the Sugar Bowl. I’m sure a lot of Buckeye fans are breathing a sigh of relief not to be the only BCS losers to the Gators from Ohio. The Gators may have a small silver lining around this cloud: TCU lost, Gators beat Cincy, maybe if Alabama throttles Texas we have a shot at number two. Regardless, it’s been a great four year run. To Tebow, Spikes and company, thanks for the memories. You guys are the greatest and I look forward to watching you play on Sundays; especially Timmy at quarterback. Yes, #15 will get a good shot at quarterback somewhere in the league. (Jer. 29:11), En agape

  10. “BUY-IN” (strength of inspiration) + “STAY-IN” (strength of body & will) = “PAY-OFF” (result: victory or defeat).
    The Gators were lacking in both, especially the “STAY-IN.”
    The defense was visibly “gassed” midway thru the 3rd (THIRD!!) quarter!
    Some blame it on Time of Possession (TOP) [our offense’ inability to stay on the field], BUT, even though by the end of the game the “TOP” favored Alabama approx. 2 to 1 (~39.5 min. to ~ 20.5 min.), at the midpoint of the THIRD (!) quarter the Gators were only about 5 min. behind ‘Bama in “TOP” (~21 min. to ~ 16 min.).
    Time-wise, that hardly indicates domination, though clearly we were being dominated at that point – but, on DEFENSE, ironically!!!
    Amazingly, from that point on, the Gators’ offense possessed the ball a mere ~5 min. of the remaining ~23 min..
    It’s like we gave up! [Unlike Texas’ valliant defensive effort in the second half of their NC game against ‘Bama. Though they were being dominated early, THEY didn’t “give up” – they HAD a second wind].
    In the Spurrier era, the Gators’ offense rarely possessed the ball more than their opponent! Yeah, they were scoring points, but Spurrier’s defensive squads REGULARLY were on the field more than half the game! [in hind-sight, he must’ve had to have put an unsung premium of defensive conditioning back in the day!].
    Our lack of a “second wind” against “Bama was a lack of “BUY-IN” (inspiration) & “STAY-IN” (conditioning and will).
    Those are the COACHES’ responsibilities!! [even the “will” is subject to inspiration].
    The Gators’ loss to Alabama in the 2009 SEC Championship game was NOT the players’ fault (they’re young, inexperienced kids!). That lies squarely at the feet of the coaches! (experienced, adult MENTORS!)!!!!!!!
    Therefore, I for one am glad to see an overhaul of the coaching staff. New blood means new inspiration!
    And if Urban Meyer is able to delegate more, then that would dove-tail nicely, because…
    …added responsibility = increased accountability = higher motivation!
    PS: Listen to Nick Saban’s POST-game comments after both the SEC Championship game against the Gators and the NC game against the Texas Longhorns. I’m from South Florida and hate him for what he did with & to the Miami Dolphins (and I only superficially follow them!), BUT THAT MAN IS A MOTIVATOR-EXTRAORDINAIRE!!!
    Incredibly, EVEN Urban Meyer WILL have to UP his game, OR ELSE Saban WILL do to him what Bobby Bowden did to Spurrier – that is, REGULARLY beat (read: humiliate, humble) him!!! [not to mention Gator Nation!].
    That said, we NEED NOT fear him (not to mention Kiffin, as so many sound like on these forum threads)!
    He’s good for college football (Saban, not Kiffin) and the SEC in particular, and if Meyer (and any subsequent coach) can rise to the challenge, then the Gators will get even better! [pardon the pun, but “a rising tide lifts all boats” (some more than others, if you catch my drift?!)].