Since the beginning of fall camp in August the Florida Gators football team has been going at it in earnest. Luckily, they’ve remained healthy, for the most part, but they still welcomed the bye week with open arms.
After seven straight games the Gators enjoyed getting a week off and the bye week allowed several players to progress enough to get back on the field. C’yontai Lewis — who hasn’t played since the ECU game — should be back against Georgia. Lewis is tied for third on the team with two touchdowns despite playing in five fewer games than the players ahead of him or tied with him.
Additionally, Joey Ivie (missed the LSU game) will be available this week against Georgia and Case Harrison will also return. Harrison had surgery on his left hand and has missed the last four games of the season.
Bye weeks are important for the players’ mental states as well. Florida practiced twice last week but, for the most part, they were able to just relax, be college students and not worry about football for a week.
“The big thing for us, too, was catching up academically on some things,” Jim McElwain said of his football team. “As I told them, it’s a chance to let your mind relax. What do I mean by that? Get the clutter out. Go be a normal person.”
That’s exactly what the Gators did.
In their first seven games Florida has had just one kickoff before 7 p.m. That means the players are sequestered in a hotel. They have a very tight schedule of meetings, meals and a game to worry about. This Saturday, they were able to just be fans of college football.
“It was kind of weird just sitting at home watching all the college football games,” sophomore receiver Brandon Powell said. “We barely have gotten to watch any games this year because we’re always in the hotel and in meetings or getting ready for the game. It was nice to get down and watch some other games.”
Getting the opportunity to take a week to rest the body is important, but a little thing like being able to relax and just be a college student has the Gators’ minds refreshed and ready to make a run to the SEC Championship game — a road that goes through Jacksonville this weekend and the Georgia Bulldogs.