The Florida Gators are coming off one of their worst performances of the season, and there have been some bad ones.
Saturday’s home loss to a Georgia team that came in with just one SEC win really put a damper on the positive direction this team looked to be headed. Florida has two opportunities to set things straight this week against LSU and Kentucky, but it will have to come out with a completely different mindset than last time, or both games could get ugly.
“I feel like we are responding well to it,” said senior guard Jalen Hudson. “There may be some positive in it if we come out with even more energy, more effort and more grit tomorrow. So, hopefully we can get something good out of it, but that was a bad loss for us.”
While his team battles late-season adversity, it’s a balancing act for Mike White as he tries to prepare the right way.
The Gators had to take Sunday off (per NCAA rules), which White didn’t seem pleased about following Saturday night’s performance. He was ready to get back out there and put his guys through a midnight workout.
After he had some time to mull it over, White decided to give the team an extra day to recover. The college basketball season is long and grueling, and so many of Florida’s key players are experiencing that for the first time.
The Gators came in and watched film on Monday with a somber attitude then went out for a short walk-through style practice. While it was far from the toughest day Florida has had this season, White said he liked the team’s focus.
“I thought it might help us regain some focus to be very, very light yesterday,” he said. “Today, we’re going to get after it, so I’ll know a lot more in a few hours. You would hope that our mindset would be terrific. A lot to play for, a great opponent coming in, coming off a home loss and Senior Night. It’s the last go-round for these three seniors, last opportunity to play in this arena in front of Gator Nation. Hopefully we play our best.”
The seniors are taking it upon their shoulders to be sure the other guys are ready for Wednesday’s home finale. Hudson said he and Kevarrius Hayes have been texting each other before practices and team meetings to discuss what their message is going to be to the team that day.
They don’t have many chances left to get it right, but they’re hoping it’s enough to get back on track.
“I’d be surprised if we weren’t on it today and we didn’t have edge, and if we didn’t have edge tomorrow,” White said. “That said, though, sometimes habits take over in games and those habits are created over the course of time. Some of the bad habits you create when you’re playing at an average intensity and focus level can come out when you’re playing really, really hard. That’s why the goal for all these guys, for all of us, is to approach each game and each practice like it’s the Super Bowl.”