Gators not interested in moral victories, don't want props for hanging with Alabama, Elam says

Graham Hall
Special to The Sun
Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam (5) breaks up a pass Saturday against Alabama at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Florida junior cornerback Kaiir Elam doesn’t want sympathy. 

Not when it comes to Florida’s 31-29 loss to the top-ranked Crimson Tide — after all, the Gators felt as if they should have won the game — and certainly not when it comes to the specifics, namely his questionable first-quarter defensive pass interference penalty, the defense’s miscues or any of the missed tackles. 

“I feel like last week is over with. Can’t dwell on it anymore, so I'm not gonna speak about that call,” Elam said. “But, you know, it is what it is.”

His head coach wasn’t keen on diving into the past either when asked if the Gators had sought answers from the league office regarding the third-down penalty on Elam that extended Alabama’s drive and ultimately set up a first-quarter touchdown. 

“I'm not going to get into any of those,” Mullen said.

Florida is simply focused on moving forward, starting with Monday afternoon’s practice session, and the only reason for Elam and his fellow defensive playmakers to give the recent defeat further consideration is if it enables the team’s improvement process.

“I just have to go compete my behind off in practice and make sure all my teammates are juiced up and ready to go,” he said, “and I feel like treat practice like a game, like we’re playing Alabama all over again.”

Though Elam’s comments Monday weren’t his first bits of wisdom he’d shared that day. 

Elam, possibly sensing some complacency both internally and externally, sent out a word of warning for those patting the Gators on the back for hanging with the Crimson Tide: moral victories and Monopoly money are closely akin around here.

Take your commiseration and get lost.

“Losing (is) NOT acceptable, especially in the Swamp! I have to step it up as a leader but I still love this team over Anybody Every Saturday,” tweeted Elam. 

Elam later elaborated on his early-morning message, saying his tweet wasn’t directed at anyone specifically, but rather anyone commending Florida for its effort level in spite of defeat. 

With the Gators having trimmed the margin from six points to two when it came to the team’s recent losses to the Crimson Tide, Elam simply wanted to put to rest the notion Florida was in any way satisfied with defeat.

“I feel like we shouldn't have any sympathy just because we lost by fewer points,” he said. “Even though we were projected to get mopped or whatever, but I feel like, I'm just telling the guys, like ‘listen, like what we did last week is over with, like, we have to play a lot better’.”

However, despite wanting to avoid a pity party of sorts, Elam has no issue putting the game in context; the Gators did show considerable improvement on both ends despite missing key contributors in quarterback Anthony Richardson and linebacker Ventrell Miller, and the contest further reinforced the players’ belief in the game plan, the coaching staff and their current trajectory of development, said Elam. 

Nonetheless, Florida’s starting cornerback still took to Twitter to let fans and his teammates know the end result is all that matters. 

“I just really wanted to make a statement to not only Gator Nation, but to my team that a loss is unacceptable,” Elam said. “I just didn't feel good about us just being proud of that. I just feel like we just need to focus on winning. That’s all I want to do, I just want to win and help my team win.”