CI's Return a Positive for the Gators

After last year's loss to Michigan in the Capital One Bowl, Cornelius Ingram was faced with the difficult decision of foregoing his senior season at Florida or entering the NFL Draft. After initial reports stated the later, the first came to fruition.

It turned out to be a good decision for both Cornelius Ingram and the Gators. For Ingram, it gives the 6-4, 245-pound tight end another year to develop at the position, which will likely be his future at the next level. For the Gators, it brings back an impressive leader to a squad that has only nine seniors on scholarship.

"I'm just trying to work and get better at it," Ingram said. "I just feel good about the whole situation especially the whole team. Everyone came out with a lot of energy, and we're looking forward to having a pretty good season."

Ingram had an incredibly productive season in 2007, which was only his second season after being moved from quarterback. He pulled in 34 catches for 508 yards and was on the receiving end of seven touchdowns. He earned All-SEC second team honors after last season and is a first team preseason selection this year.

As a senior leader, it will be one of Ingram's responsibilities to improve team chemistry. Urban Meyer pointed to chemistry as being an issue for last year's 9-4 squad, and even though the head coach said it's too soon to tell if it's any better this season, Ingram's already seen a difference.

"We put a stamp on it over the summer," he said. "Most of the guys went to the movies with each other. It pretty much started during the spring, and you could tell that it carried over to today. The team chemistry is there, we just have to execute and make plays and stay healthy."

Ingram's second best career effort came in the Georgia Dome against Arkansas for the SEC Championship in 2006, and he said that's the main goal of the team this season. But he respects the talent in the SEC East and believes Georgia is deserving of their No. 1 ranking in the Coaches Poll.

"I have to go out on a limb and say yes, talent-wise," Ingram said. "There are a lot of teams out there with a lot of talent. We know that our goal is to get to Atlanta and everything after that will take care of itself. The team chemistry and everyone coming out today with a great attitude is just going to carry over throughout the entire two-a-days and bring another one home."

At SEC Media Days, everyone was talking about last year's Florida/Georgia game and "the celebration." Ingram said it's been motivation for the Gators all summer long.

"It's extra motivation," he said. "We have that circled on our calendar. We know what happened last year with them rushing onto the field. All through our summer workouts, the strength coaches were telling us that the Georgia players were working out harder than us. It gave us some extra motivation."

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski


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