If there is a team and fan base dying for the 2014 season to start, it’s the Florida Gators. Will Muschamp’s squad stumbled to a 4-8 record last year, the worst season for UF since 1979. In addition to their abysmal campaign, the Gators also had to watch bitter-rival Florida State hoist the national championship trophy.
It’s safe to say the past eight months have been rock bottom for the once-proud program, but the offseason is almost over. The Gators have already taken the practice field, and will kickoff a fresh slate in less than three weeks.
In order to help the team move beyond the 4-8 debacle, and focus solely on the mission ahead, players held a meeting on the practice field to bury the past. According to ESPN’s Jeff Barlis, the Gators wrote down their thoughts from last season on paper, tossed it in a hole on the field, and covered it, never to be seen again.
“That’s something we sort of buried to start the summer,” Muschamp said.
“We physically buried it,” safety Keanu Neal said. “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.”
“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.”
“It was a symbolic ceremony,” defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. said. “Everybody was able to vent and got what they wanted off their chest and were able to talk to each other.”
“Then Florida State goes and wins the national title,” Fowler recalled. “It couldn’t get any worse.”
The drive to put last year as far as possible in the rear view mirror appears to be there for the Gators. Now all that’s left to do is back up the talk by walking the walk.
Florida will kickoff the season on August 30 against Idaho at 7:00 p.m. ET.