Fowler: We still have a chance

Of the few bright spots in the Florida Gators recent play, one has been starting BUCK Dante Fowler. On a team riddled with injury and bad performance almost all around, Fowler played very well against Missouri two weeks ago and helped keep the Gators close going into the fourth quarter. He knows there is a lot to work on, but glad they still have a chance of getting to Atlanta.

Florida gave up 36 points to a very explosive and capable Missouri team, it is something this defense is just not used to doing. Watching the film with the coaches following the game doesn't set well with guys like Dante Fowler, who is part of a defense that prides itself on being much better.

"It's really uncomfortable watching film… (because) they're not supposed to put that many points up on us like that," Fowler told the Florida media on Monday. "We had a couple of busts in a couple of areas and things like that. It's hard to watch a loss like that."

Missouri running back Henry Josey ripped off 136 yards as the Tigers netted 205 on the ground. For a unit that was ranked tops in the country in rush defense just two games ago, the Gators were shredded, especially late in the game.

Fowler believes there are simple things that can be done to correct the issues and the Gators worked on them last week during their bye week.

"We just have to win the line of scrimmage," Fowler said. "We didn't win it for the past two games and, you know, that's something that we worked on last week. When we had our off week we just focused on us. We went back to technique and the fundamentals and things like that, just getting back right as a Florida defense and as a Florida front."

It is a proud defense under Florida head coach Will Muschamp. Acording to Fowler, the guys on his ball want to win the game by themselves and don't get caught up in what is happening on the offensive side of the ball.

"Our job is to get off the field, so our offense can get back on the field and score," he said. "You know we just have to do a better job at that. It's no pressure on us at all. If we have to score on defense we can do that. We want to score on defense and things like that. We just have to do a better job at getting off the field and getting the offense back on the field."

They spent last week working a lot on fundamentals and the things that have gotten away from them in the last two games.

"Just get better as a team as a whole," Fowler said. "We have a one-day rule to get over the game. So it's not like we were still sad over the loss and things like that. We bounced back like any other team would do. We just want to get better.

"You could tell that a lot of people were very focused on our off week. A lot of people want to work on their technique. A lot of people stayed after practice to do better things cause you know during the weeks that we do play we really don't have time to work on things like that because we have to go to the next opponent.

"Once we get those off weeks, we always try to work on our craft and things we can get better on.

"We went over a lot of things, a lot of corrections. It was like camp. The first week of camp, going back to the basics, techniques and things like that. So I'm pretty sure we're ready."

Fowler still believes there is a lot to play for and now the defense has something to prove.

"I feel like our defense is still a great defense," he said. "Once you lose a game or two you kind of lose your confidence. And all we've got to do is just get our swagger back. I feel like once we get our swagger back, and get our confidence back up, we're going to be back to how we were at the beginning of the season."

The Gators are still mathematically alive in the SEC East to be able to represent their division in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. It kind of hit them last weekend when South Carolina (a future opponent) beat Missouri.

"I was like I feel like we still have a chance," Fowler said. "I just thought about our team and was like we're still in this. We can still win the East. We just have to do what we have to do."

With that in mind the game with Georgia this weekend takes on extra significance once again. The Bulldogs are always a heated rival of Florida and come into the game with a two game losing streak as well. The winner has only one loss in the eastern division this year and remains in the hunt. The loser is out.

"I'm pretty sure it's a big emphasis, especially we have to win all our SEC games in order to still be in the contender to still go to the SEC championship," Fowler said. "So, it's really big. That's what we're focusing on, just winning all the games from here on out and, you know, just playing Gator football and basically just winning the East."

"One thing about my team and my teammates we're going to keep fighting no matter what it is. Just because we lost two or three games. We're not going to put our head down. We're not going to give up. We're going to keep fighting."

If Florida is going to win, they will have to make it a rough day for Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray holds several SEC records and is a big time talent.

"We just going to have to get in his face," Fowler said. "Get better pass rush, you know, things like that. Whenever we can get pressure on the quarterback that's good for us. That's a win for us. That's positive for us. Their technique and things start to drop and things like that. Whenever we can do that with a great quarterback, which he is, it's always good to do that and get pressure on him."

The Gators are on a two game losing streak to Georgia as well. Something that isn't underplayed in the locker room.

"We talk about it a lot," Fowler said of beating Georgia. "Actually in our weight room, we still have the score up there. I think it was 17-9, I guess or something like that. We just look at it and it makes us want to do better. I know my teammates can't wait until Saturday to play."

Muschamp is also a Georgia grad, this series is very important to him, but Fowler isn't one to put words in Muschamp's mouth.

"He wants every game," Fowler said of his coach. "He wants to win every game. I know Champ. He's a winner. All he likes to do is just win. Everybody else wants to win, too. I'm pretty sure he's going to be ready for this game. You know, it's not like he can go out there and play for us, we have to get the 'W' for him and that's what we're going to try to do."

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