Heading into Gainesville, I didn't know what to expect and what a great experience it was, the crowd is always involved in the game, can't wait till we can have that type of atmosphere for our home games.
The Owls did not get off to a good start getting down rather quickly by 21 points and I remember looking at the score board and noticed the amount of time left and we where still in the first quarter, yikes! First thoughts that went through my mind, this is going to be a long day in the swamp, but the boys fought back and showed that they want to belong and dance on the same stage with the Gators.
Great plays where being made on both sides of the balls, still too many mistakes being made and a team like the Gators will make you pay for them and did. From the block punt for another special teams blunder, the fumble by Rusty in an effort of trying to do too much instead of just throwing the ball away, the unnecessary unsportsmanlike penalty on the defense, just when the defense was stringing together a great defensive effort where we had the Gators offense disjointed and making mistakes and then there was the fumbled snap on 4th and short to turn the ball over on downs, these are just a few highlighted ones that happen at critical moments in the game and are self inflicted.
Playing in the Swamp can be a hard place to play and add National Champions on top of that, the Owls players just are not used to playing in these type of games or environment, but are taking their lessons with their heads held high and should not be ashamed of their effort. In the first half, we where able to put pressure on Tebow getting some good licks on him, but the guy is such a great athlete that he still finds ways to make plays under duress and hurt us with his arm all day with his accuracy and athleticism. Playing the Gators does add an extra boost of adrenaline and that is one thing our players will have to learn to control and how they can channel that energy on the field and playing these type of advance training games will help them to find that balance that you wouldn't normally get if you continued to play at the current level the Owls currently play. The mistakes being made are all correctable and the players should be able to learn from these experiences and grow as players. We will have to learn to convert our chances when we have them, and one thing is for sure we are not that far off as the score would indicate, many of the mistakes that where made effect the outcome in many ways and if we can limit them and keep them to a minimum, it will give ourselves a chance to not only stay competitive in these games, but steal a victory in the future.
With two very important games left, there is still plenty of work to be done and battles to be fought. We still control our own destiny, and a statement to make, that the Owls are ready for the big time.