Change of coach, whatever, Florida Gators are ready for the bowl game


Photo: Greg Knox: Credit: Alex Shepherd

It took the 24-21 victory in their regular season final against Florida State to hit the record books before the Florida Gators were bowl eligible for their 2021 season.

Despite the program being in the midst of its search for a new head coach as its former boss Dan Mullen was sacked last Sunday and ends a disappointing campaign, make no mistake: the Gators are ready to go. and looking forward to the opportunity to play in a bowl.

“A great victory in a rivalry game. What a big, big performance today,” said interim head coach Greg Knox. “It was our best? No. But it was a win, and it was a great win. And I’m excited for this senior class, the big start for the senior class.

“And we get one more game. We’re still talking about the fact that we’re guaranteed 12, and everything after that, we have to go to work. We have one more game. We’re headed for a bowl game… I got it. pledge to these players and i pledge to go to a bowl game. “

Knox shared that while defending The Swamp and defeating a rival in the Seminoles was the # 1 goal this week, the idea of ​​paving the way for a bowl game was important to players and became a tactic. motivation as the team prepared to face FSU. This gives UF a chance to send its seniors on a high note.

“They are excited. This is what we talked about last night. Who knows where it’s going to be or when, but I can tell you this: they’re excited about it, ”Knox said. “They were excited to win this game, a rivalry game, and they knew it meant going to a bowling alley. . This final year class wanted it.

An argument could be made both ways as to Florida’s logic in accepting a bowl offer. Without a doubt, the players want to play and the coaches want to coach on national television to end the season, and a free trip filled with goodies and activities is icing on the cake.

However, as mentioned earlier, Florida is currently on the hunt for a new head coach and it seems the best candidate for the job would be Billy Napier from Louisiana. Whether it’s Napier or someone else, the next coach will be hired before Florida enters the field in a bowling game, and such an event could serve as a distraction as the new coach lays the groundwork for its program.

And, in 2020, the Washington Examiner reported that 10 to 20 programs lose money on bowls each year, usually due to coverage of unsold tickets. In the event that the Florida worshipers don’t make it to a lower level bowl, UF ends up with the check, on top of the buyout funds he owes Mullen and his staff for their layoffs this year.

These theories do not seem to bother the contributors to the Florida list. They want to play.

“I’ve never heard of that. All I know is they’re going to tell us where we’re going and we’re going,” said the defensive tackle. Antonio Valentino. “If I have something to say, if they give me a choice, I would go. I don’t care who it is, where it is, it doesn’t matter. We go.”

Tight end Kemore’s bet followed Valentino with the same sentiment: It wouldn’t matter if Florida were 12-0 going into college football playoffs or, as they are now, 6-6 going into a lower level championship . Bowling games are special times for the programs and players intend to use the event to cap off an otherwise disappointing year.

“You see, I like to play football. I could be the first pick in the draft and I’m still going to play no matter what bowling game we play, ”said Gamble. “I’m just that type of player who doesn’t care if it’s a gamer, I love to play football.

Stay tuned to AllGators for ongoing coverage of Florida Gators football, basketball and scouting. Follow us on social media at @SI_AllGators on Twitter and Florida Gators on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.

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