Fowler proud of effort with the distractions

I am not anyone that understands what a college football player that gives up so much of his time and energy to his sport goes through during a five game losing streak. When things seem like they are so stacked against you and you still have to work so hard, only to fall just short of winning some games, it is hard to hold your head high. But these Gators on Saturday were valiant in defeat.

Florida starting BUCK Dante Fowler continues to play well for the Gators and they had more than their fair share of challenges to deal with Saturday night. Facing the number 11 team in the country, with seven starters and 10 total players out for the season, including your top two quarterbacks and playing with their 4th and 5th best offensive tackles, and without their top defensive player on the field… well we all know the rest, these Gators had a lead for most of the game Saturday only to see it fade away in the end.

The gut wrenching loss was tough on all that follow the orange and blue, but amidst that we saw a team that came to play, a team that was ready to stand up to the challenge at hand and do everything they possibly could to change the course of history. They fell short, but they may have grown closer as a team through the adversity.

"It's frustrating, but honestly I want to take my hat off to the team," Dante Fowler said following the game. "For us to go through this adversity, we are always fighting. We kept fighting and we went 60 minutes and gave it our all. At the end of the day I am proud of my team."

The defense allowed South Carolina in the end zone just once all night. It was a great play and call by a terrific offense led by South Carolina star quarterback Conner Shaw. The Gamecocks had two other opportunities where they reached the two yard-line and the Gator defense bowed their backs and kept them out.

They know they need a little bit more out of everyone in a game like this, but they know they fought hard.

"We can take how we did in this game and take it to the next game in terms of intensity, the juice, and keep fighting until we get double zeroes (on the clock)," he said.

They knew they had their hands full with Shaw. They knew they had to keep Shaw from getting yards with his feet which he is very capable of doing, so they rushed him hard up the middle and contained the outside. The plan was effective for the most part.

"He's a dual threat quarterback and good with his legs," Whenever we can constrict the pocket, keep him on his feet, rattle him a little bit, that is always better for us. We have to respect his legs, and that is basically what we did."

Fowler was asked about the public persona of this team and all of the heat coming down from media and fans on the program. It is something the players definitely hear and have to fight through.

"There is a lot of negativity outside," he said. "You can't stand but not hear it. You don't pay attention to it. We are just going to have to do what we have to do to win these last two games."

And then there is the head coach. Will Muschamp and his staff have come under fire as of late and that is a great deal of the media stuff that the players are hearing. Fowler knows where Muschamp's loyalties lie and where he stands with the players.

"I just know he is with us and is family," Fowler said. "Everybody is with each other and we will just keep fighting."

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