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It didn't take long Saturday to realize Florida had not yet corrected the mistakes and weaknesses first noticed the week before at Ole Miss. Despite an impressive second-half comeback against Auburn, the Gators couldn't finish the job and get a win. Instead, the Tigers made plays late and put themselves in position for a dramatic last-second field goal to hand Florida its first home loss under Urban Meyer.

No big deal, right? Last year's team also lost to Auburn, then turned it around and won SEC and national titles. Well, this is not last year's Florida Gators.  It remains to be seen if this group of talented but inexperienced players have what it takes to overcome such a disappointing setback.

And the schedule won't exactly make it easy to get back on track: LSU, now ranked the top team in the AP poll, is waiting in Baton Rouge hoping to put another hurting on these Gators.  A loss won't end Florida's hopes in the SEC East, but it would further bruise what could be a fragile team psyche. 

A second loss in a row might lead to second-guessing, maybe even panic. To avoid that potential, UF's coaching staff must find a way to correct the mistakes that led to a 17-point deficit to Auburn.

But a win over LSU might signal a team that's not only capable of overcoming adversity, but also overcoming their own faults.  Beating a top-ranked LSU team would give them the confidence to take on any team left on their schedule knowing they can win.

One thing's clear: Tim Tebow can't do it by himself. Florida will need its playmakers to step up and start making plays. The defense will have to shed its "young" label and rise up to the challenge of competing against the best teams in the SEC.

If they can't, Florida could find itself in a big hole in the race for the SEC title. But if they can, there's nothing they can't accomplish this year.

You have to love games with so much on the line. There's no better time or opportunity to prove the mettle of young men who want to be the next great Gator team.

FLORIDA GATOR NATION PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Percy Harvin
(119 receiving yards, 17 rushing yards)
Brandon James (105 return yards)
Brandon Spikes (10 tackles, 6 solo, .5 sack)

 

 

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