Great Season Still Provides Hunger

The Florida Gators defied most of the odds this year by winning 11 regular season games. A fumble into the endzone was a possible single moment that kept this team from playing for it all. As much as they overachieved, the team is hungry for next season and believes they have the parts to make 2013 even better.

While junior Dominique Easley hasn't publicly made up his mind yet whether he will return for his senior year or opt for a fast start to a career in the NFL, he offers some hope for next year's team and says so with the thought of him being a part of it.

"We are hungry," Easley told the media shortly after the 33-23 loss to Louisville in the Sugar bowl. "We didn't get what we wanted to get and finish the season off like we wanted to. We will be a hungry team."

Florida only lost two games all year, but that was enough to put a fire in the belly of the squad.

"Every loss is a fuel for us," Easley said.

For Easley next year would be one where the team would lean heavily on him. Florida loses both starters at defensive tackle and Easley, with supreme size, would be a nice fit to play a great deal if not start in the interior where he did so as a sophomore. He sounds like he is ready for the challenge of next season.

"Next year is a whole new year," Easley said. "We will have a whole new off-season. We will have all new personnel and will be hungry."

Senior defensive lineman Earl Okine is on his way out and had a year that turned out to be very productive when he was in the game. Okine believes the season will allow him a chance to possibly play professionally.

"This has by far been my favorite season," he said. "I had so much fun this year. I love everyone, my teammates and couldn't say this a couple of years ago. I love all these coaches. I just thank God for the senior year I had and I wouldn't have any future in this game if I didn't have a year like this."

Okine also believes there is some great talent waiting in the wings for next season and some others that matured a lot and will continue to grow in the off-season.

"I think with this team the sky is the limit," he said. "We have a lot of young guys like Dante Fowler and Jonathan Bullard. Alex McCalister red-shirted this year is going to be a freak next year. We have a lot of very physical guys on the defensive line. Jeff Driskel will be a year older Matt Jones will step in and Mack Brown.

Okine believes the young guys are a step ahead of most because of the way that the staff pushed the veterans to help them along.

"Coach pretty much made us teach the young guys early on," Okine said. "The young guys like Bullard and Fowler, I feel like they are seasoned vets now. I feel like they didn't even play like freshmen toward the middle of the season because they just learned so much from Dan Quinn. It is so easy to learn from him. We all learned from each other and that will help them prepare for next year."

Fightin Gators Top Stories