Nelson Looking to Finish Career Off Right
David Nelson
David Nelson

Posted Dec 16, 2009


After suffering the hardest loss of his career, the Florida Gators wide receiver David Nelson is looking to finish his college career with a win. Nelson and the Gators started preparing for the Jan. 1 first game against Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl, but it won’t be an easy one. Like the rest of its season, Florida’s road leading up to the matchup has already been filled with distractions.

While much attention was giving to the defensive coordinator leaving to take the head coaching job at Louisville, the Gators also loss wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales who bolted to take over as the passing coordinator at rival LSU.

David Nelson was blindsided by his position coach’s departure.

“He told us many times that he was happy here and he loved it here. He and coach (Urban) Meyer had a special relationship, and I was completely shocked, I had no idea especially for a place like LSU,” Nelson said.

The redshirt senior found out about he rumors through friends before confirming it with Meyer. He then received a text message from Gonzales telling him the news.

Gonzales has already been replaced by Central Michigan’s Zach Azzanni. Nelson said he has not met the new coach yet but has only heard good things about him.

The coaching changes have not been the only distractions for the Gators since their 32-13 loss to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game. They have also had some of their juniors beginning to test the NFL Draft waters to help decide whether to come back for their senior year or head to the pros.

“A lot of guys appealed to the NFL to see their draft status. For the most part, there are a couple guys considering that I know for sure. It just depends on what the paper comes back and says,” Nelson said.

Although practices have started up again, the Gators have not gotten into the full swing of game preparations with some of the coaches still away on recruiting trips.

Nelson expects the distraction to be put on the back burner once Meyer returns to Gainesville.

“There has been a couple of distractions the past week or two just because of the coaching situations and all the NFL talk and coaches being gone for recruiting,” Nelson said. “But come this weekend, when coach comes back, it will be time to really get focused on the game.”

The first step to getting ready for the Bearcats is getting over the loss to the Crimson Tide, which is something Nelson has struggled to do.

“It was a hard loss to swallow, and it took awhile to get over that. It was hard just coming back and having to seeing everybody again,” Nelson said.

He has not watched the tape of the SEC Championship Game, and although he knows it will help the team learn, he is still dreading the time when he will have to see it.

“I haven’t. I don’t want to. It will make me sick to my stomach,” Nelson said.

Even watching the game film probably won’t help the receiver cope with the loss, but he knows he has to dedicate his attention to the upcoming game.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. That was probably the hardest loss I have ever had to go through in my life just because of how long we had been training for that game and how bad we wanted it and how much that meant to us,” Nelson said. “I don’t think I’ll ever get over it, but a win in the Sugar Bowl definitely would help.”

Despite the two national titles and two SEC titles, the senior class is treating their final college game as if it will define their careers.

As part of the winningest class in SEC history, the senior wants one more win to finish his time as a Gator.

“Our mindset right now is to get our 13th win and finish this thing our right. We have had a great ride, a great four years, and we have to finish off it off right,” Nelson said.



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