GAINESVILLE -- After two straight shoddy seasons, good times are rolling in Gainesville.
Florida is ranked just outside the top 10, is already bowl eligible and sits just one conference victory away from securing a spot in the SEC Championship Game.
All-American cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III recently explained Florida's formula for success, saying players bought into first-year coach Jim McElwain’s message of accountability and confidence on Day 1.
“He didn’t come in and try to put his foot down on anybody and say how it was,” Hargreaves said.
“He told us what we had to do to be great. The guys listened. It’s working for us.”
So is playing for each other.
Hargreaves’ tag-team partner Jalen Tabor, a fellow potential All-American cornerback this season, said selflessness, togetherness and team chemistry has been at an all-time high this season.
"Last year, a lot of times a lot of the seniors were like, ‘I wanted to leave college. I’m done with it.’ It kind of showed on the field,” Tabor explained.
“But now that we’re playing for each other, we became more of a unit than we did in past years and I feel like that’s showing on the field.”
Winning obviously helps, but Tabor wasn’t finished, either.
“Just playing together and playing for each other has done a lot for us this season,” he continued.
“We’ve been losing. We’ve see where individualism takes us. We made a change. We don’t want to keep doing that. If you won’t change, you’re going to keep getting the same results. So as a team, we just buckled down and started playing for each other. Who cares who get the interception? Who cares who makes the tackle? Before the season, we said if we win, everybody’s going to eat.
“If we win, everybody’s going to get where they need to go [in the NFL Draft]. If we keep doing what we’re doing and end up in Atlanta and make the playoffs, some of those who weren’t high projected are going to go because the team is doing good. Team success breeds individual success.”
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