Gators Look to Rebound from First Loss

Coming off the Gators' first loss of the season, head coach Billy Donovan was upbeat about the way his team has responded to their first experience with adversity. The team struggled with several aspects of the game, but Donovan emphasized their lack of toughness and intensity against Florida State.

"I thought we were soft," Donovan said. "We didn't have physical toughness and I thought we let things affect the level of toughness we need to play for us to be successful."

Those kinds of words are something that competitive athletes hate to hear. During Saturday's practice, they players were set on trying to change Donovan's opinion.

"Practice was really competitive," Dan Werner said. "We got after each other, tried to really hit the boards, really battle underneath."

Perhaps more than any player, Donovan was critical of Nick Calathes, who it seemed could do no wrong in his previous games.

"When you're dealing with a lot of these guys and someone like Nick that's as talented and as gifted as he is, I think a lot of times those guys think they can just go in there and take over games and do different things," Donovan said. "Against a senior orientated group of guards like Florida State has, it doesn't work like that."

Donovan had an individual film session with Calathes over the weekend and the two talked about the things that he needs to improve. The Gators will need better play from their most dynamic offensive threat if they're going to get back to their winning ways.

The Gators continue the non-conference schedule this evening against the Stetson Hatters, a team that played well in the O-Dome a season ago.

"Stetson has always played us very tough. [Garfield] Blair, I think, went off for 16 in the first half," Donovan said. "We didn't really have an answer for him. [Sheldon] Oliver, another guy, is a gifted, talented player. I think we'll have our hands full trying to guard them. There were two teams last year that shot 50 percent from the field against our defense. One was Kansas and the other was Stetson."

Questions or comments? Contact's Blake Bonsack

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