It would be a easy for the defensive players to hang their heads after Saturday’s output. The Gators allowed Alabama to put up 645 yards, the most a Florida defense has ever allowed. The Crimson Tide moved the ball on the ground or through the air. Whichever play offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin dialed up, Alabama continued to destroy the Florida defense, totaling 7.4 yards per play.
“A lot of guys are down, that’s how it is after any loss,” Jarrad Davis said. “I tried to go around and make sure everybody keeps their head up because this is only one game out of however many we play this season. We can’t take this as something that’s detrimental to the Florida Gators’ success this year.
“I feel like a lot of guys were down, and it kind of reminded me a little bit of last year. That’s why I went around and said, ‘hey, this is a ride and every ride is not smooth. There’s going to be some bumps in the road.’ We need to keep our head up.”
It also means the Gators have to mentally regroup this week with the bye before going on the road to face Tennessee. In Davis’ mind, the key is not to forget what the team learned in the offseason. The team was fractured and grew frustrated in 2013 because of the offensive struggles, but they learned about coming together and playing together during the offseason.
That can’t be forgotten because of one road loss.
“We’re a lot better team than we were last year,” Davis said. “We had our hopes up and felt like we could come in this game and win. This is Alabama, but they’re not Alabama of old. We’re a better Florida team and had a lot more tools to come at these guys with and beat them. We had them down in situations, knocking on the door for a win. We just couldn’t pull through.”
The problem for the Florida defense was an inability to get off the field. Alabama went 12-16 on third downs and ran a total of 87 plays. The Florida offense couldn’t stay on the field and sustain drives, forcing the defense to be back on the field.
“It’s hard at any time for any defense at any level. If you want to be a great defense or a team that wins a lot of games, you have to step up when your number is called. Whenever our defense has to go out there, we have to be able to make plays and get stops. We get tired, of course, but we’ve got enough guys to come in and make stops we need.
“(The offensive struggles) are definitely is frustrating, but we have to answer when the number is called.”