It’s there, it happened and it’s not going away.
The 29-30 record from a season ago is a small stain on what has otherwise been an abundantly successful career at Florida for head coach Kevin O’Sullivan. It was the worst record that the Gators have produced in the seven seasons that O’Sullivan has managed the orange and blue. Nothing will erase that sub .500 record from the books — O’Sullivan and the Gators know that — but they’re ready to move past it.
“Obviously, we fell short of expectations last year,” junior infielder Josh Tobias said. “But we put it behind us now and this is a new year. We have a lot of chemistry this year and we want to show what we can do.”
It’s one thing to just forget about the season, something fans certainly have tried to do this past year but the team doesn’t want to forget. They’ve used the disappointment as a driving force and a motivator through the offseason.
Sully, who frankly stated that he’d prefer to focus on this season, rather than rehash 2013, echoed those sentiments but hopes that the team keeps the disappointment in the back of their mind and uses it to fuel a successful 2014 campaign.
“I don’t know if we have to continue to talk about it,” he said. “It has been used as motivation, but I’m hoping the players are competitive enough where their memories aren’t that short and they remember what happened last year.”
Junior catcher Taylor Gushue has emerged as a leader for the young Gators. He’s been through a lot at Florida; a trip to Omaha as a freshman and then last season’s struggles. Gushue was quick to put last season in the past but he has let it become a motivating factor.
“I put it behind me the second after we lost; it was not good. As a baseball player, you don’t really want to dwell on the past too much, you want to learn from it,” Gushue said that is exactly what the team did, learn from it. “I think that we’ve all done a really good job of not dwelling on that, but learning our lesson from it, and letting it be a little bit of a chip on our shoulder coming into this year and letting that manifest itself on how we work out in practice.”
The Maryland Terrapins don’t care about what the Gators did in 2013. Nor does Miami, Florida State, LSU, Vanderbilt or the rest of the scheduled opponents that comprise one of the toughest schedules in the country. O’Sullivan’s Gators are ready to open the book on the 2014 season and make it a good one.
“We definitely want to get that taste of last year out of our mouths so we want to come out of the gates hopefully playing good baseball and getting back to where this program should be,” redshirt junior pitcher Karsten Whitson said. “It’s definitely not a .500 team. We know that and we have a lot of good ballplayers on this team. We are looking forward to having a big year.”