Donovan Changed Up Florida's Routine

Billy Donovan needed a change of scenery for his team. With three of Florida's four losses coming at home, Donovan was worried about outside distractions. When they are on the road, the team stays in the same hotel and has multiple film sessions. Donovan tried to recreate the road routine before Saturday's win over Arkansas.

The head coach wanted to keep his team close together by having them stay at a hotel on Friday night. It provided film sessions and time for the coaching staff to help the players understand the importance of the game.

It offered an opportunity for the Gators to start 4-1 in conference play. With three of their next four games against Georgia, Vanderbilt and Kentucky, gaining some breathing room before the tough stretch was necessary.

More than anything, it was about focus.

"He felt like on the road we were more focused, but here we were free and he didn't know what we were doing," sophomore guard Kenny Boynton said. "We lost three home games so far this season, so he just wanted us to be focused for this game."

A change of pace during the middle of the season can be just what a team needs. The team mimicked its routine away from home, and the Gators responded with their most complete performance of the season.

"As a coach you're always looking for different things to get your team prepared to play," Donovan said. "It was an important game where we needed everyone's focus. On every college campus there are distractions that go on. I just felt like it was an opportunity with one day of prep that it gave me an opportunity Friday night to get into film and have another film session (Saturday) morning."

PARSONS PROVIDES VERSATILITY: Chandler Parsons didn't have a big shooting night as he has since the start of SEC play, but he made a bigger impact without the ball. The Gators won the rebounding margin 42-31 because of the senior's performance. He had only five points, but his five assists and career-high 15 rebounds made the difference.

Parsons also had two offensive rebounds in the first two minutes of the second half, which kept the Florida offense playing well.

"He didn't know he had it," Macklin said. "I came up to him in the game and told him that he had 15 rebounds, and he didn't even know. It came up on the scoreboard, and he was pretty excited. He did a great job on the boards."

TEAM POTENTIAL: It's usually not a good thing when a team is seeing its potential midway through the season, and this isn't any different. However, the Gators saw how good they can be in Saturday's win over Arkansas. They held back-to-back opponents under 45 points for the first time since 1947.

"It shows us what kind of team and upside we have if we just stayed focused," Boynton said. "We've got to come out and execute our game plan. If we have more games like this, the same results will come."

The frustration comes with a team that starts three seniors and one junior still struggling to find its identity. The Gators returned all five starters this year for the first time since Donovan took the Florida job, and it looks like they might be finding their stride.

Florida now has another opportunity to prove they can handle success.

"There are times where I want to see more fire, passion, energy, excitement and enthusiasm when the game is not going their way," Donovan said. "I'd like to see more of that.

"The one thing this group has done is embrace success."

There have been plenty of frustrations about this Florida team, but they sit tied atop the SEC standings at 4-1 in conference. Before anyone jumps to conclusions that the team has it all figured out, Donovan had a careful warning.

"Don't fall in love," Donovan said, shaking his head.


Fightin Gators Top Stories