Nelson has Learned the Rivalry

The Florid Gators know how big this game with Florida State is this week. Throw out all the BCS and the SEC talk, this is a huge rivalry and the Gators know that they will get the best from FSU on Saturday. Junior wide receiver David Nelson understands the significance of the game and the importance of staying on task this season.

For David Nelson and his teammates this has been a season with a chip on their shoulder. The Gators finished with four losses last year and on a really bad note losing to Michigan in their bowl game. The entire off-season that chip on their shoulder was motivation to get better. After a shocking loss in the fourth game of the season to Ole Miss, this Gator team has rebounded strongly and many around the country consider them the top team in the nation. So far, it looks as if the hard work has paid off.

"We ended the season last year on a sour note," Nelson told the media Saturday after a 70-19 win over The Citadel. "We came into this season and we thought we had something to prove. Even though we are playing like we are playing we don't feel like we have accomplished what we need to accomplish. There is a lot of work to do and there is a big game this weekend and it will take a total team effort."

That game is one with rival Florida State. It is certainly the nastiest rivalry on the schedule where members of both teams over the years have had not so good things to say about the other leading up to the game. It is a rivalry that has close to home for a lot of Floridians who may have a split Gator and Seminole household. For Nelson, it was a learning experience to see just how tough this rivalry can be.

"To be honest it means a lot more to the guys from Florida," Nelson said. "Me being from Texas, I knew about the Florida-Florida State rivalry before I got here, but I didn't understand how special it was. It's a rivalry to the fullest. We don't like them, they don't like us. It's a fun week, a special week. We have a lot to look forward to."

The Gators have demolished their last six opponents on the way to a 10-1 record. In the last six games they have outscored their opponents an average of 56-13. They have come into every game in a very business like manner and Nelson expects the same this week despite all the recent success.

"What I don't expect to change is our work ethic and the way we handle ourselves this week and our professionalism like Coach Meyer says," Nelson said. "I expect us to come out this week with the intensity to win the game. We don't ever come into a game and expect to blow someone out, we expect to do our job as a team. It's a total team effort."

Certainly the Gators would like to come out and destroy the Noles on Saturday. The hatred is there and the intensity will be up. Urban Meyer refers to Florida State as the "School Out West". The team generally takes the same stance. It is just something to keep the rivalry a little more heated.

"I don't think he's ever told us we can't say it," Nelson said of Meyer and repeating the school's real name. "I just don't like to say it. The "team out west" is the thing we like to do. I think it just adds a little fuel to the fire and gets us a little more motivated."

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For Nelson he has seen his impact in the program increase significantly in recent weeks. He has been used extensively as a blocker all season and been very good at doing so. In the last four games, he has caught all three of his career touchdowns and is far ahead of any season in his previous years. Nelson has waited his time and understands that there are a lot of people that can put points on the board in this offense.

"I always felt like I was someone that can contribute," Nelson said after his three catch, 53-yard, and a touchdown performance Saturday. "I'm not saying the coaches didn't feel that way, I just hadn't proved it. We have a lot of play makers out there. Six receivers that can take it to the house, four running backs who can do it on any given play, the best quarterback in the country. I just have to to make the most of my opportunities whenever the ball is thrown to me or when I get a chance to do when I can do."


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