It's time to move on. That's the message that's been sent loud and clear from Florida Gators coaches and players as they return from a bye week following the team's worst defensive performance of the season in its 49-42 loss against the LSU Tigers the week prior.
Florida fell victim to a routine run play, a counter, that was run multiple times a couple of weeks ago to gash the Florida defense for a record 321 yards, including a school-record number of yards run by LSU for 287 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries.
That performance, of course, wasn't forgotten simply because the team took a week off prior to its major matchup against the Bulldogs. But, the team at least, must move on, and that's been the message that's been sent by players and coaches alike, to learn and grow, but to move forward.
"If you’re not exact in what you’re doing you’re going to have a bad performance," Gators defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said on Monday when asked about the team's defensive performance against LSU. "With our expectations, the way they were and the way we’ve been playing it was certainly disappointing.
"The guys have rebounded really well. They’re excited about another challenge. In this league you get to play the No. 1 team in the country twice. That’s what we get to do. We’re excited about the opportunities. We really rolled our sleeves up, continued to work, had a great attitude and look forward to playing again Saturday.”
This will be the team's second opportunity to face off against the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. The first, of course, was top-ranked Alabama in Week 3. Since then, Georgia has taken the crown, at least for now. For Florida, preparing for such a rivalry game leaves very little room for further reflection on the LSU game.
For Gators defensive tackle Daquan Newkirk, the issues were simple that week: the team was out-schemed.
“I wouldn’t say it was lack of focus or missed assignments. They kind of just out-schemed in a way schematically," Newkirk said on Monday. "But we were in our gaps, we were fit, but it’s just little stuff, just tiny little things, little adjustments. I would say that.”
The team failed to make those "little adjustments" against LSU, and won't be able to make the same mistakes against a great running attack like Georgia. The team has now looked back and has moved forward. Asked how players can overcome a schematical error, Newkirk said he believes the team has already done so.
"Well, I think we overcame it, we just had to look back at the film and just see what went wrong, and just move on," he said. "You know, it's one game at a time, like 'Tone (Antonio Valentino) it's a 1-0 mindset, so, just gotta keep choppin' at the wood."
The team has no other choice but to move on, too. This is, after all, Florida-Georgia week, perhaps the most important week on the Gators' schedule on a year-to-year basis. The team understands how important this matchup will be, especially in a season that feels lost at the moment.
"It's the second time we're going to play the No. 1 team in the same season. Not many people usually get to do that. That doesn't happen very often, especially in a regular season. I think it'll be a pretty big game for our guys," Gators HC Dan Mullen said on Monday.
"Obviously, the Florida-Georgia game is always a big game for our guys. So I thought they had a pretty good week of practice last week. We've got to see how we come out to today (Monday). Everybody's back practicing today, so you want to see today's response back out there on the field. But I think our guys are pretty excited for the game."
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.