Haden Stunned by D's Showing

FightinGators.com Columnist
Posted Dec 6, 2009

ATLANTA - Florida's defense was the engine driving the team's success all season, holding teams under 10 points per game. Against Alabama, the unit played not only its worst game of this season but possibly the worst of the Urban Meyer era. For cornerback Joe Haden, it was hard to accept that things went so wrong at the Georgia Dome Saturday.

"They were executing and we just couldn't stop them," said Joe Haden.  

Haden didn't feel distractions were an issue for Florida, despite the DUI suspension of defensive end Carlos Dunlap and the ongoing reports about DC Charlie Strong's Louisville head coaching possibility thoughout the week. What he did think might have played a role was Alabama's hunger after last season's loss to Florida in the same building.  

"They seemed like they wanted it a whole lot. We wanted it too, but they just seemed to have a little step ahead of us today."  

Haden didn't feel Alabama came with different things than what the Gators had watched in preparation leading up to the game. He kept coming back to execution as the reason for their success, crediting quarterback Greg McElroy with "doing what he had to do, reading the defense - he did a good job."  

Haden has a big week ahead on an individual level, as he's up for the Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back Thursday. What was on his mind after the game wasn't that, but getting back together for practice as soon as possible.  

"We've got to come out Tuesday and get better."  

Last season Alabama lost the SEC title game and then put on a disinterested performance in New Orleans, losing to Utah. Although Haden's a junior he may well be playing his final college game under the same scenario. He wants to make sure the result isn't like the Crimson Tide's.  

"We're not used to losing," said Haden. "Whoever we play in the bowl game, we've got to take this out on them."  

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