Donovan Works to Fix Florida Effort

The possible excuses are endless for the lack of energy Florida played with Saturday against Tennessee. Maybe it was the 11 a.m. tipoff. Maybe it was that the Gators were playing a Volunteers that came into the game with a 7-7 record. Whatever it was, Florida head coach Billy Donovan is doing his best to make sure the Gators don't take the court with that type of effort again.

"Whatever word you want to use-- flat, uninspired, a step slow-- whatever the word is, we were that team," Donovan said Monday morning. "We all need to take responsibility for that and do the things necessary to get that corrected."

In Donovan's mind, the way to get it corrected was to force effort from the team on Sunday. The Gators watched a "good amount of film" early Sunday morning to see and correct their errors. After that, they hit the court for practice. Instead of practicing just once like usually, and especially with only two days off before Georgia comes to town for game two of the SEC schedule, Donovan called the team back for a second practice Sunday afternoon.

If they weren't going to give effort on the court during a game, he would force it out during practice.

"It was tough," freshman guard Brad Beal said. "(The two practices) were real physical. Those were probably the best practices we've had all year from an intensity standpoint. Everybody was into it and focused."

Donovan wanted to check the drive of the Gators. He didn't see much of it on Saturday, but he wanted to judge them by how they responded to the performance. Donovan spoke about the good teams that he has been around having "an ability to be self-reflective" and respond accordingly.

WIth the response of his players during Sunday practices, it made him feel better after the loss at Tennessee.

However, that doesn't take away the sting of the loss. Donovan wasn't happy with the effort or execution on either end of the floor. The Florida defense was slowed by screens Tennessee set on the interior, allowing easy baskets in the paint. The Florida big men got caught trying to get around them, and it created easy shots and caught the Gators out of position. The guards got caught by the Tennessee screens, too.

"I didn't feel like we were a step ahead, but a step behind," Donovan said. "They were the aggressor. As a coach, you always are disappointed when you have to admit this, but I really thought they played a whole heck of a lot harder than we did. My job and responsibility as a coach is to get those guys ready to play at the level they need to. We did not play with the level of energy we needed to. What ends up happening is you are a step behind and the other team does look more athletic and more alert. That was disappointing."

INJURY REPORT: Casey Prather hurt his ankle late in the fourth quarter against Tennessee. He needed help to get off the court and Donovan wasn't optimistic after the game.

His tune didn't change much Monday.

"We're going to try and throw him into practice today to see what he can get done," Donovan said. "The trainer isn't very optimistic that he'll be able to be 100%. It's tough to expect him to play, but we'll see how he does. My expectation is that he's probably not going to play."

IMPROVING YOUNG'S OFFENSE: Patric Young is fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 12.1 points per game, but the Gators want more. Donovan thinks Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton have improved recently at getting the ball to Young in the post, but the issue has transferred from number of touches to where those touches occur.

"They recognize that Patric is a force inside and needs to get it, but he's getting the ball enough," Donovan said. "In the UAB, he touched the ball 23 times and 13 times in the first half against Tennessee. He's touching the ball enough. It's the recognition of getting it to him in positions to score. That's something we have to get better at.

"I can always call a play for him, but when you call a play, sometimes it's not going to always get him deep like you want him to catch it. In the Tennessee game, a lot of his touches weren't in the paint. He's got to do a better job of not accepting and taking a path of least resistance and go battle to catch it close to the basket."


Fightin Gators Top Stories