LEXINGTON, Ky. — The first win of the season felt good and the Florida Gators relished in the satisfaction, perhaps for too long.
Jim McElwain admonished his team for not practicing the right way following their first win of the season. Players showed up to meetings on Monday without having already gotten their ankles taped, the mood at practice was light and all of that added up to a too close for comfort win over East Carolina.
The Gators moved to 3-0 on the season but don’t expect them to savor this win for very long.
“I want to apologize a little bit,” an antsy McElwain said in his post game press conference. “My focus right now is probably on Tennessee. We won the game. I’m excited.”
Even in his heated post game press conference following the win over ECU McElwain was already mentioning the next game. He’s quick to turn his attention to the next opponent. For the head coach, there is not time to revel in past accomplishments. The task at hand is too daunting to pat yourself on the back. Three down and six more regular season games to go.
The players will allow themselves slightly more time.
Jake McGee and Bryan Cox both said they would allow themselves to savor in the win on the trip back and until they went to sleep. McGee turned 24 on Saturday, so the old man on the roster probably had a handful of hard candies to celebrate a win and his birthday. Brandon Powell, on the other hand, echoed his coaches’ sentiments.
“The same as him. The game is over, we’re not thinking about it anymore,” said Powell. “It happened 10 minutes ago, the game is over and I’m not thinking about that anymore. We’re moving on to the next opponent.”
That doesn’t mean that Florida isn’t feeling good about their 3-0 record and 1-0 record in conference play. They believe that they beat a good opponent on Saturday night and they know that more quality opponents await.
“They knew that this was a quality opponent,” McElwain said of his team. “As I said, [Kentucky’s] going to win games in this conference. To come in here on such a big night, I don’t know but it looked full… looked like it and it wasn’t even basketball season, right? They’ve done a heck of a job here at Kentucky.”