Rebel junior DE Greg Hardy is abundantly confident. He never thinks the Rebels are going to lose, even after a pattern of losing had developed his first two seasons at Ole Miss.
But even the unflappable Hardy knew the urgency to finally win a game like the 31-30 victory over Florida in The Swamp.
"Nobody wanted to say we were down, but it's easy to get bogged down in the season when you lose a couple of close games you feel you should have won," Greg said. "Winning over Florida gives us a boost and picks us back up where we are supposed to be in terms of being excited."
Hardy said he knew it was coming, but even he started wondering when.
"We always expect to win. We expected to win Saturday in Gainesville, but it hadn't happened for us in a while, at least in a game of this magnitude, and we didn't really know until it happened," he explained. "It's really tough to go to Wake and have a chance to win only to lose and then come back home and lose a game we should have won against Vandy except for us shooting ourselves in the foot, but we kept our heads up. We really did. We got rejuvenated heading into Gainesville.
"I felt we would play a good game. That's easy to say after the fact, but I really felt we were prepared and tuned in."
Now the Rebs have to deal with a new feeling - a modicum of prosperity.
"There's a danger in a letdown if you aren't careful. Coach (Houston) Nutt is already preaching to us about staying focused and consistent," Greg stated. "Whether you win or lose, you have to put it in the past and get ready for the next one. Florida is Florida. We did it, we're proud, but we have to move on in a hurry.
"South Carolina is a typical SEC team. If you aren't at the top of your game, they will beat you. It's fairly simple for us to grasp that, but now it will depend on how we react to it. That can sometimes be more complicated."
Hardy played "a lot" of snaps against the Gators and was very effective, creating havoc with the Florida offensive line, consistently in the Gatort backfield and registering one QB sack.
"It's a miracle I'm back this quickly after the operation on my foot," he said. "(Trainer) Tim (Mullins) and his staff did a great job rehabbing me and I got back a lot quicker than I anticipated. They wrap me up pretty good and the combination of the foot being secure and my adrenaline pumping, I have not felt any pain at all."
Hardy had Florida Right Tackle Jason Watkins, a fifth-year senior, so frustrated that Watkins would shake his head every time #86 for the Rebels came on the field.
"I didn't notice his demeanor much. I was just trying to give him different moves and get to (Tim) Tebow. You can tell when someone is frustrated and I think we had Florida frustrated," he added. "I think we were in their head. I sensed they didn't think they could block us.
"Peria Jerry, Kentrell Lockett, Ted (Laurent), Chris Bowers - we were all in their backfield most of the day. They were getting tired, worn down, bogged down and frustrated. They played confused, I thought."
DL Coach Tracy Rocker is rotating 10 players on the front four. Hardy is all for it, even though it cuts back on his number of snaps in a game.
"It keeps everybody fresh and we can play to the best of our ability every snap we are in there. I think it makes all of us more effective," Hardy noted.
Hardy is playing this year, despite having to sit out with the foot injury, with more weapons this year. Last season, he played at 238 pounds. Right now, he is at a solid 272 pounds.
"It's good weight and that is the key. I can move as fast as I could last year and now I'm stronger and can be more physical," he said. "My whole goal for this year was to just get better. I think this extra weight helps me accomplish that.
"In general, I feel like I will be a better player this year than I was last year. I'm just glad I got healthy in time to help my team with the Florida win."
Greg expects the Rebels to take a long look in the mirror and remember what got them to the Florida win.
"We are not going to get complacent or satisfied," he ended. "One big win is not enough to satisfy us and Coach Nutt is reminding us of that daily."
Greg Hardy -
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