“I’m definitely going to cry,” Michael Pouncey said. “I gave everything to this program, and it’s done so much for me. I know it’s going to be an emotional moment for my parents to see their son accomplish things that he did.”
Pouncey said his entire family will be coming from Lakeland. It’ll be the same group that encouraged him during his four-year career at Florida.
“It’ll be an emotional day,” Pouncey said. “It’s tough for me because I felt like I gave it all for this program. Man, it just sucks to end on a note like this. I just want to end out season out strong with a couple more wins.”
The circumstances for Senior Day aren’t ideal. It comes a week after Florida was blown out by South Carolina for a berth in the SEC Championship game. The emotions leading into the game were high, and with the outcome, the Gators must be focused on not allowing the upset.
Even with the problems, it hasn’t soured Pouncey’s thoughts on his final game in The Swamp.
“In most people’s aspects it probably does, but for the guys who gave their lives to this program, it doesn’t,” Pouncey said. “We obviously accomplished a lot here. This weekend is going to mean the world to me.”
It isn’t the ideal way for Pouncey to go out, though. He never imagined that coming back for his senior year would mean dealing with a season that had at least four losses. Ever since becoming a starter in 2008, he has won meaningful games and earned multiple awards. That’s what he will remember the most about his Florida career.
“I won a national championship, won an SEC championship,” Pouncey said. “I was an All-American and All-SEC player. I made a lot of friendships here I’m going to remember my whole life. The relationships I have with players and coaches are going to stick with me my whole life.”
Even in 2007 when the team lost four games, only one of those came in Gainesville. The team is currently riding a three-game losing streak at home, with only one loss coming on the road.
“The toughest part is losing at home,” Pouncey said. “Our fan base has been amazing during my four-year career here. It sucks sending them out like that, and it’s tough for us to go out like that. That’s the toughest part is just losing at home, especially for the fans who stuck behind us during the good and bad.”
With the race for a spot in the SEC Championship Game now over, it would look on the outside like the Gators have nothing left to play for this season. Pouncey will make sure that doesn’t happen.
The upperclassmen want to go out on a winning note, and a loss of focus from the rest of the team would prevent that from happening.
“I bleed orange and blue,” Pouncey said. “I never give up on this program, this team. Obviously ill be a pro player one day, but we have games left and that’s what we’re focusing on. We want to send our senior class out on the right note, especially for the guys who gave their life for this program.”
The struggles this year have made Pouncey appreciate what special seasons the last two were. The issues this season hasn’t been all on the team. Pouncey struggled with snaps at the beginning of the season but battling through the difficulty only made him stronger.
‘I learned a lot this year, and I’ve been through a lot of adversity,” Pouncey said. “To fight through it during tough moments has made me a better person.”
Coach Meyer believes the team is missing energy that it had in the past. The passion for the game that used to show on the field isn’t there anymore. Pouncey agreed with the statement and said he’s seen it while watching film in recent weeks.
“We have energy givers on this team, but it’s a collective effort,” Pouncey said. “When you only have one or two guys giving energy on the field, it turns out like that.”
The energy level when the game starts isn’t where it should be, but when the team has faced adversity, Pouncey has seen the intensity level drop. That’s the most frustrating part of his senior year.
“You’ve got players that give it their all and want to win,” Pouncey said. “Then you have guys who drift away during the course of the game. You’ve got people who drift away when things don’t go right.”
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