Lost in what has been one of the most turbulent weeks of Florida Gators football since 2017, the team still must play a game to end its year, and potentially make a bowl game. At 5-6, the Gators are set to take on the Florida State Seminoles (5-6) to determine which program from Florida will become bowl eligible.
Of course, with head coach Dan Mullen now out of the picture, Florida must look inward for motivation, and perhaps some from interim HC Greg Knox, who is taking on that role for the second time in his career (Mississippi State, 2017).
Knox met with the media on Monday to discuss his plan of action, and what the team must set out to accomplish this week, even given the circumstances that they surround themselves with. Knox has been in this position before, standing in front of the entire team as the special teams coach, now he must do it as the interim HC.
"I think they're ready to go," said Knox. "I think they understand the importance of the game and they understand why they came here and they're going to represent the name on the front of the jersey and the name on the back."
For Florida, having the mindset of defeating your most-hated rival behind perhaps Georgia during the final game of the year, having an opportunity to deny them a bowl game to finish out the season would bring some optimism to a young group of players that look to continue their career at UF regardless of the coaching change.
One thing's for certain, Knox isn't going to be Mullen, he's simply going to be himself, but the changes that will be made in just one short week won't be of the drastic variety.
"I can’t be anything to the players that I haven’t been all year long. So they understand who I am and they understand how I approach everything, and the direction I’m coming from," he said. "I’m going to go out there today and be me. There may be a slight change here and there, but almost unnoticeable.”
A couple of the changes, perhaps simply by virtue of a new coach being in the driver seat, and the play-caller now gone, will be quarterbacks coach Garrick McGee taking over the offensive play-calling duties, while interim defensive coordinator Christian Robinson will continue his role as the play-caller on defense.
The only other change that was made from a coaching-staff standpoint was the elevation of offensive quality control assistant Dean Kennedy being promoted to an on-field role for Saturday's game against the Seminoles.
Still, this week's game against the Seminoles will mean more than just what the staff looks like, or how certain players may be used that is different than how Mullen has done it in the past. This week is about finishing the season with a winning record, and defeating their rival at home, Knox says.
"I think it would mean a lot to these guys, and I know they want to go out the right way," he said. "Again, as I talked to them this morning, I think they’ve got one goal in mind, and that is to win this game.”
So, the Gators will look to finish this season off strong, ending the year with bowl-game eligibility and then look to usher in a new leader to take them even further in the future.
Stay tuned to AllGators for continuous coverage of Florida Gators football, basketball and recruiting. Follow along on social media at @SI_AllGators on Twitter and Florida Gators on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.