With just two more home games in The Swamp, the seniors are starting to think about what stepping onto Florida Field for the last time will be like. Florida Gators wide receiver David Nelson has been at Florida for five years but is amazed at how fast this season has gone by. At the same time, he still has a lot left he wants to do before his time as a Gator is over.
“It’s funny because before the season started, my dad told me to enjoy the moment, enjoy every game you have, every opportunity you have because before you know it, you will be on a plane headed to South Carolina. That week has come and gone,” Nelson said. “Its just amazing how fast this whole year has gone.”
As the end grows closer, emotions have been building up, and the Gators are playing with more energy than they did earlier in the year.
“We’re a very energetic team, we’re a very emotional team. Coach Meyer always says, ‘Play with enthusiasm, with energy and with passion,’ and that’s definitely evident through the film,” Nelson said.
To keep the energy level up, the team is finding new ways to bring out players’ competitive sides including bringing back a drill that has been on hiatus since the start of fall practice.
The older players did not participate in the drill, but it was a time to reflect for Nelson.
“Today we did the circle drill, the Circle of Life. We haven’t done that since two-a-days. The young guys got in there, got to hit each other a bit,” Nelson said. “That’s a good change for the older guys to watch them and just enjoy it. It’s good to see guys hit each other.”
Every game is being made into senior Tim Tebow’s last something whether it is last time playing Tennessee, his last time playing Jacksonville, etc. Nelson said this whole season has felt like Tebow’s farewell tour.
Even with all the different lasts for Tebow, Nelson expects the quarterback’s last game in The Swamp to be extra special.
“It’s going to be special just because he has done a lot for the university, this team and this program. It’s fun to watch how fans interact with him. They realize their time with him is limited now. The first three years you kind of take for granted because you know you have him for another year. Now, it’s two games left in The Swamp, and I think it’s going to be special,” Nelson said.
“It’s going to be nice to run out into the stadium one last time and to see the crowd get up and give him a standing ovation one last time as he runs out to The Swamp.”
But the season is not over yet, and Nelson and the Gators still have goals to accomplish this year.
Nelson knows that the receivers need to do a better job of breaking off big plays for the Gators to repeat as SEC and national champions.
He said the receivers have to do a better job of making people miss and turning a short throw into a long play.
“That’s how it is in this offense. They give you the ball in space, and you got to take care of the ball and you got to do something when you have the ball in your hands,” Nelson said. “That’s the one thing we really need to do.”
It is even more important for the receivers to step up because defenses have been scheming to take away the outside runs, limiting the Gators big-play threats in the run game.
“It’s huge. It’s one of those things if they are playing the run, we need to start beating them with the pass. We need to start beating them with the pass and with big plays in the passing game,” Nelson said. “We are going to throw the ball down the field deep down to Cooper and Hernandez. Cooper is going to make those catches 99 percent of the time. At the same time, we are going to throw the ball 10-yard passes, and the receiver is got to be able to catch the ball and make something happen with it. Last year, the majority of our big plays were yards after the catch, guys catching the ball five yards and making a big play.”
Whether the Gators reach their goals or not, Nelson expects his last game in Gainesville to be emotional for him.
When he was asked if he thought Tebow would cry at the last home game, Nelson responded with, “I will.”