Florida Gators dig a hole to bury the past and move on to 2014
Every college football season is full of ups and downs for teams.
For the Florida Gators in 2013, “down” doesn’t even begin to describe it. The injury-ridden, offensively anemic Gators stumbled into the offseason with a 4-8 record, just one year after reaching the Sugar Bowl. It was the first time since 1990 that the Gators failed to reach a bowl game and the team’s worst record since 1979.
With the start of fall practices the Gators are just a few weeks away from being able to prove last year was just a fluke. You can’t blame Will Muschamp and his players for wanting to move on from last year as quickly as possible.
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But since they can’t settle it on the field until the end of August, how can they possibly put the 2013 season in the rearview mirror?
By burying it, of course. Most players and coaches would bury the past metaphorically speaking, but not the Gators. They physically dug a hole in the middle of the field and buried the 2013 season.
“We went out to the practice field and dug a hole. We talked about it prior to it, dug a hole, buried it. Coaches and players. We wrote it on a piece of paper and buried it,” said safety Keanu Neal.
Literally burying last year’s troubles won’t earn you a successful season in 2014, but for a team where things went horribly wrong, it’s certainly a good start.
“Things that affected us last year that we didn’t want to bleed into this year,” Neal said. “Mental toughness, like a woe-is-me attitude, selfishness, things like that.”
Divisions in the locker room can doom a team’s chances of succeeding on the football field, but the burial ceremony looks to have helped heal the internal issues that plagued the Gators last season. According to Dante Fowler Jr., the ceremony also provided the players an opportunity to be truthful with one another about and to “get what they wanted off their chest.” Through all of this, along with various outdoor team-building activities during the off season, Florida players claim the team is closer than ever.
And with the struggles and conflict of the 2013 season buried under the practice field, the Gators will look to use last year’s setback as motivation to return back to their status of one of the top teams in the SEC.