Florida’s football team is not satisfied with its early-season success.
The No. 11 Gators will take a 6-1 record (4-1 SEC) into their bye week and will fix the little things that plagued them through the first part of their season.
Three tough games preceded the Gators’ bye week, including two upsets of ranked opponents LSU and Mississippi State and two wins against SEC East rivals in Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
Despite defeating the Commodores 37-27 on the road last week, UF coach Dan Mullen said after the game that the Gators’ slow start to the contest could be attributed to their poor week of preparation.
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“We didn’t have the best week of practice cause we had three really emotional games in a row,” Mullen told reporters after the game, “and that is physically and mentally exhausting and draining for everybody on the team.”
When members of the team spoke to media Tuesday, most of them stressed the importance of the week off after that tough stretch to mentally recharge, especially heading into a matchup against Georgia on Oct. 27.
For quarterback Feleipe Franks, making those little corrections will be simple.
“I think you just go back to the basics of you’re not game-planning right now,” he said. “We’re just coming out here and running a base offense and giving other guys chances to come out here and earn their spot again and kind of get more playing time on special teams and stuff like that. It’s kind of just going back to the basics and get everything corrected that’s been going wrong throughout the season.”
Franks is coming off a career-high outing against Vanderbilt in which he went 19 for 29 with 284 yards, and in his redshirt-sophomore season, he’s shown his ability to adjust as the game goes on and make the necessary plays when his team needs them.
While it’s easy to be satisfied with their progress so far, the Gators want to avoid complacency. And they’ve emphasized that they want much more more out of their first season under Mullen.
“I think the coaches do a good job, but at the same time these guys on our team, I mean they have drive,” Franks said. “They have motivation to go out there every day and they’re not satisfied with 6-1. I mean you want to win every game. I mean we want to go to the playoff, we want to do those kind of things. We don’t want to be just ‘win eight game and OK that’s better than last season.’”
To ensure that happens, they’ll work on every aspect top to bottom, letting the younger guys get more reps so that veterans get the chance to focus on their bodies.
It’s something that linebacker Rayshad Jackson feels will prove beneficial for the team down the road.
“We’re just prepping for the young guys to get their reps in,” he said. “So in the future they can be their absolute best when they’re on the field.”