Unfamiliar Territory for Hicks

The Florida locker room feels like unfamiliar territory to Brandon Hicks. Distraught faces and frustrated looks aren't anything he is used to inside the football facility. Since Hicks came to campus in 2007, the Gators have lost back-to-back games once before the current skid. The success of the program since then makes the past seem like a distant memory.

"It's a stressful time," Brandon Hicks said. "It's been almost a complete two years since we lost an in-season game. You set a lot of goals before the season, and no matter what people think about us, we felt like we could've picked the young guys up and took them with us. Some things don't go as you want."

The progression of this team isn't where the Florida players or coaches would like it. Since starting out slow against Miami (OH) in the season opener, the team was expected to continue growing and improving as the season went on. Instead, the win over Kentucky was the only game that didn't seem to raise more questions.

"Sometimes it's not as fast as previous years," Hicks said. "From 2007 to 2008, it was a big turnaround. Hopefully we'll keep it in the same perspective. We'll be in the perspective that we'll be a great team in the future, and hopefully that's the near future."

The frustration from the weekend's loss to LSU was still evident on players' faces Monday morning. It's a difficult game for them to look back at and not wonder how it could have been different with only one play.

The defense gave up 357 yards to an offense that came into the game searching for any momentum possible.

"We felt like we played a good game in the second half. In the first half, we didn't feel like we made the plays we were supposed to," Hicks said. "Once we fixed the big plays like missed assignments, then you'll see what we've been working on."

The problem wasn't connected to being out of position or unprepared. Hicks acknowledged that the defense just didn't execute correctly. They didn't wrap up on tackles or swarm to the football as the coaches preached.

"We knew what they were doing," Hicks said. "The problem was that we just didn't stop it. We felt like we were in the right positions, it was just tackling. We missed a good amount of tackles, and you can't be successful without making tackles."

The defense missed only six tackles against Alabama, despite being blown out by 25 points. They lost by four to LSU and kept the game closer, even though the defense missed multiple key tackles on third downs that could have stopped a key drive. The lack of sure tackling allowed LSU to convert on 7-of-15 third downs.

"Anybody watching could see we had a lot of missed tackles," Hicks said. "That's something we take pride in, not having a lot of missed tackles. That's one thing we failed to do on Saturday, and we took a hit."
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