Defense Becoming Hardened to Deficits

Taking games one play at a time has allowed the Florida defense not to worry about the score. The Gators have come from behind in four of their five SEC wins this season and they have complete of them in a businesslike manner. When the time comes to do work, they have taken in all of what the learned about the opponent during the game and have done what they needed to do to win the game.

Senior linebacker Jon Bostic Is part of a steady defense that has absolutely been un-rattled this year and when faced with adversity, they have stood up to the challenge each and every time.

Down in every SEC game except Kentucky so far this year, the defense keeps chopping wood until things settle down and the gators eventually claim the lead. Bostic says nothing is breaking his guys this year.

"Just stay with it… it's nothing we haven't been in before," Bostic said after the Gators won 31-17 Saturday, but quickly trailed 7-0 in the first quarter of the contest. "We've been down before this season and the game isn't won in the first quarter. It's won throughout the whole 60 minutes. We said on the sideline we have to stay together, keep playing, play by our rules… for the whole 60 minutes."

Florida took a four point lead into halftime and couldn't shake the Commodores through most of the third quarter before Bostic forced a fumble on a blitz and teammate Neiron Ball landed on the ball to give the gators possession at the Vanderbilt 14 yard line. The Gators also blocked a kick and both plays helped create space in the score column and help the gators finish off the win.

"We needed to create a turnover and get the ball back to the offense as much as possible," Bostic said. "…We say it on the sideline, nonstop… ‘we have to create a turnover' we have to get the ball back to the offense and if we do that, it's points."

Penalties were an issue in the first two games and lately have poppe back up as a problem for this team. On defense they are getting a lot of penalties of aggression, which head coach Will Muschamp can often live with. However, the number of penalties popping can be alarming and the Gators finished the night with 10 penalties for 80 yards.

"We have to cut down on penalties," Bostic said. "There were a lot of plays we could have had except for penalties. We have to make sure we get those things situated.

Florida had several injuries in the game and a few layers that were missing from the line up before the game even started. However, Muschamp and company hav been steadily adding players in to the lineup n both sides of the ball creating depth, even with youth, that has allowed the starters and others to be refreshed at the end of the game.

The other thing it has done is allow the players to get used to playing with more than just their starting partners.

"We are a lot more comfortable," Bostic said. "We have a lot of guys step in. Sometimes when a guy goes down, we might not realize someone actually went down, we think someone just rotated in for them. We have a lot of guys that can play a lot of different positions."

With the win Saturday, Florida is bowl eligible already in their 6th game of the season, a feat that wasn‘t matched until the 11th game of the season a year ago. They have already matched the regular season win total from a year ago.

"That is good for us," Bostic said when it was pointed out. "Going into the offseason we weren't happy with the results from last year. Penalties and all kinds of mistakes hurt us. This year we have been playing a lot smarter but we still have to keep improving."

With the first BCS polls coming out on Sunday, the Gators could very well be in the top three given the teams they have played and having three road wins early in the SEC season. Bostic said they could care less about that poll right now.

"We are just trying to take one week at a time," he said. "We don't pay much attention to it. Our main goal is to get to Atlanta."

Bostic and his defensive mates are also witnessing the growth of Florida's rookie starting quarterback. The sophomore only threw for 77 yards on Saturday, but he ran for a whopping 177 yards and three touchdowns as well.

Driskel did it in dramatic fashion with a 76 yard touchdown run near the end of the game that showcased his speed as he outran everyone on the Vanderbilt defense. "The boy can run," Bostic said with a smile. "He definitely surprises. I know a lot of people know he can run a bit, but tonight he really showed it."

It isn't a real surprise for the defense who often times had to change plans when Driskel was inserted in two-minute drills in the offseason practices.

"I knew he could run, I didn't know he was that fast," Bostic said when asked about his long run. "We found out in two-minute when he kept running all over the field. It will be hard with other teams. They are going to have to deal with it."

Next week the Gators host South Carolina. The Gamecocks will be licking their wounds after falling just short on the road at LSU this weekend, but will come in to The Swamp with both a steady offense and big time defense.

The Gators remember last year well when they lost a heartbreaker to South Carolina 17-12.

"It's a big week… another SEC opponent and another game at home," Bostic said.

"We don't want to lose at home or lose to an SEC opponent.

"We lost to them last year and fought hard.

"We will enjoy the win tonight and have fun. Tomorrow we will get in the film room, make sure (we) are healthy and it will be full ahead on Monday."-

Fightin Gators Top Stories