Evans Improving With Every Game

Josh Evans admits that he got off to a slow start this season. A hamstring injury bothered him near the end of fall camp and held him back on the field once the season started. The injury held him back less every game, and the junior safety's play has improved now that he is at full health.

"I started off the season a little slow because I was dealing with some injuries from camp, so it took me a minute to get back on pace," Josh Evans said. "Now, I'm trying to play the role that everybody wants me to play."

Every member of the secondary has to improve its play for the rest of the season, as the Gators will be without freshman cornerback Marcus Roberson because of a neck injury. Roberson has been matched up with the opponent's top wide receiver almost every week this season and held his own. He is expected to be back for spring practice.

"It's a loss because he's pretty talented, but everybody else should be good to go," Evans said. "He was playing pretty well for a freshman. Not too many guys come in and do the things that he did."

Jaylen Watkins locked up the second cornerback position in recent weeks, but Cody Riggs, Moses Jenkins and freshman Loucheiz Purifoy will all battle for the open cornerback position previously occupied by Roberson.

"We've got some guys that will fill in and give us that energy," Evans said. "One of them will step up and be in that spot."

Even with the injury to Roberson and the Gators five losses this season, Evans hasn't seen the team lose focus. They've spent the week watching film of times this season where self-inflicted errors are the ones that hurt the team the most.

"When you look at stuff like that, it's pretty much us hurting ourselves," Evans said. "It's not that the team is just that much better than us. It's little stuff that we can fix where if we eliminate the mental errors, we should be good. It takes time. People have to get together and take stuff more seriously."

The team has spent the week focusing on correcting those errors and preparing for Furman this weekend. That's usually an opportunity for the team to catch its breath against a smaller opponent, but with the Gators still searching for bowl eligibility, Evans said they won't look past the Paladins.

"We're treating this like a regular team," Evans said. "We aren't doubting them or anything like that. We're coming in with the same momentum that we'd come in with any other team. We're treating them just like it was Florida State.

"At a time like this, we've been struggling. We're just coming in hungry for a win. That's what we've been trying to do is just do that."

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