Gilbert Ready for Emotions to Flow

The Gator class of 2010 isn't going to go out as champions, but they would like to finish strong and especially in The Swamp on Saturday. Marcus Gilbert has been an integral part of two national championship teams at Florida and his career is dotted with lasting memories as a Gator. On senior day, look for Gilbert to be emotional as he trots out to see his parents at the middle of the field.

Offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert spoke to the Florida media on Tuesday and talked about his time as a Florida Gator football player that is now drawing to a close. There were some very special times in Gilbert's career at Florida.

"It's crazy to look back," Gilbert said. "Five years ago I was only 18 years old and now I'm a grown man (and about to finish) college and all the great memories I have had here. I am just going to cherish it, especially my last game in The Swamp. I'm not really (emotional), but when it comes to this last game being in The Swamp, I will be pretty emotional."

This hasn't been the best of seasons for Gilbert and company, but in all, this Saturday will be a special moment to look back and reflect on a period of Gator history that will always be cherished by players, coaches, and fans alike.

"We couldn't get the job done and our goals weren't met," Gilbert said about the 2010 season where the Gators stand at 6-4. "I think we just have to push through and make the best of it…our last go around. I had a great career here. Two national championship rings and SECs."

The Gators had a chance to make something of the season on Saturday. South Carolina came to town and the Gators and Gamecocks squared off for the right to play in the SEC Championship Game. The Gators had a great week of practice leading up to the contest and felt like they were ready. Things just didn't turn out as planned.

"We were going to no huddle, up-tempo, try and get them tired and knock them out of the game," Gilbert said. "When we got the penalties, it set us back initially. It's hard to get the big plays when you are third and long. We hurt ourselves throughout the game and didn't have a lot of plays. When you keep the defense on the field, it will hurt us even more."

Now the team goes against a lower division football powerhouse in Appalachian State. The Mountaineers stunned the college football world a couple of years ago when they went into Michigan and upset the Wolverines. Gilbert says that game has no bearing on the game the Gators play on Saturday.

"We aren't worried about that, we are just focused on what is at hand and trying to go out and win this game," he said. "It was a crazy victory, but I'm not worried about that. That was 2010, a different year and a different team. We're very confident, I think we will come out and handle business. A lot of guys, especially seniors, have chips on their shoulders. We won't let this be our last loss at The Swamp, so I think we are going to come out with a lot of energy."

A common theme among the media as this season winds down is the apparent discord between the older and younger guys on the team. As Brandon Hicks told us on Monday, there was an issue early in the season, but Gilbert sees the young guys really coming around late in the year.

"That was the senior's fault, I guess we should have come together with the younger dudes and try and make something happen," Gilbert said of the apparent strain in the locker room early in the season. "I don't want to say it is too late, but I think those younger guys have a bright future. I think a lot of things are fixed now."

Gilbert said the supposed entrenched veterans were a little caustic towards the younger guys that felt like they were entitled to be at the top of the totem pole when they arrived. As the season progresses, a lot of the younger guys started to get the team concept.

"We were kind of too hard," Gilbert said. "But, when you are a freshman and the number one recruiting class you can't avoid it. They took a different approach. All those guys started to realize, it's not about individuals and you win as a team.

"I think it is different now. Most of us just wanted to win. There wasn't finger pointing at the teammates. But I think those guys learned and bought in to what we were trying to do."
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