Gators are Moving On

It was a tough loss on the biggest stage of the year in college football. Most of all their goals were washed away by one loss in 22 games, but these Florida Gators must live on to fight another day. Florida running back coach Kenny Carter has been coaching up his troops since the Gators lost to Alabama, and he believes they are ready to get back on track.

It was one tough pill to swallow. A lot of pride and machismo were taken away in Atlanta in the 32-13 loss to Alabama for the SEC Championship. But, the Florida Gators are still a 12-1 team and have a chance to be ranked as high as No. 2 in the final polls.

This team seems ready to get after it again according to Kenny Carter.

"I think they have regrouped," Carter said Tuesday. "They are ready to play. I like the way they are going about their business. They are handling their business and doing things the right way. They are competing. It has been a lot of fun and they have gotten over it. When you lose two games in two years, you want to succeed all the time. So, it hurts when you lose. They are looking forward to getting another victory."

Carter isn't worried about the lasting taste of a bitter and hard fought defeat. He has been around the business to know that players are capable of focusing ahead and not dwelling on the negative.

"Young people are pretty resilient," Carter said. "They move forward pretty quick."

Carter also knows that the expectations were really high for this version of the Gator team, but it comes with the territory of recruiting players to live up to those expectations.

"I think the expectation level here is so high, and that it is what you want," Carter said. "Quite frankly when we are recruiting like we are now, we eliminate the people that we don't think can handle that pressure. These kids can handle it. Is it realistic to think you can win every game? No it's not. But, is it realistic to think you can keep the expectation level very high? Yes. That is our standard."

Moving forward to the big bowl game in New Orleans. The Sugar Bowl has pitted the Gators against third ranked Cincinnati. Carter is looking forward to helping coach up the winningest senior class in Gator history on that night.

"I think it is going to be a great game for the seniors," Carter said. "Any time you get to end your season with a BCS level bowl, that is tremendous. There is another one we would have loved to be participating in, but this is going to be a great Bowl and we are excited about it."

Carter fended off a couple of rumors that surfaced in the last week. With defensive coordinator Charlie Strong off to Louisville and receiver coach Billy Gonzales surprisingly taking a similar role at LSU, rumors have circulated about Carter. He pretty much put those rumors to rest.

"I am not looking for anything and have not been approached by anyone," Carter said about a job. "The good thing about it is if you are doing your job there will be rumors. If there weren't rumors, you would be worried."

The rumors have been hot and heavy on the recruiting circuit, but Carter just deals with them when they come up.

"You don't approach them because I'm not going anywhere," he said about rumors to recruits brought on by other coaching staffs. "It's a non-issue and if they ask about it, I tell them what the deal is. I am a Gator and I'm not going any place."

He also was as surprised as anyone that Gonzales moved on. There was never any hint that Gonzales was not happy at Florida.

"Absolutely not," Carter said about Gonzales' apparent unhappiness. "He was fine. He is a great friend and was doing his job and his players played well. He said nothing and it was a shock to me too."

It is all part of the business according to Carter.

"The receivers coach was hired the next day and we moved forward," he said. "Billy is a great friend. But, we have another receiver coach and we moved forward. In this profession you are going to have transition. There is a long line of people that want to work at Florida. So we just move along."

Carter is also dealing with the rumors flying around that sophomore running back Chris Rainey is considering making his name available for the NFL. Carter doesn't expect it to happen.

"That is a non issue to me," he said of Rainey and his thought of turning pro. "When he exhausts his eligibility, then he and I can talk about that...I know when he and I had that conversation, we were only interested in playing in this game and next year."

If it does happen which Carter denied again, he will wish Rainey good luck and move on.

"I have a bunch of good players in my room," he said. "I'm not worried about that. If something happens and we have a player that goes someplace else, I want him to be successful. I am never disappointed about a player having the opportunity to better himself. I just want him to improve."

Fightin Gators Top Stories