Florida linebacker David Reese called out some of his teammates for essentially quitting during the Gators' blowout loss to Missouri on Saturday.
"It's sometimes disappointing when everybody doesn't want to come together and just play for each other," Reese said after the 45-16 shellacking. "That's sad to see. We've still got a lot to play for. Me personally and our defense, we want to play for those guys. We can't have appearances like we just had today. That's unacceptable."
Florida's blowout loss came less than a week after head coach Jim McElwain and the university mutually decided to part ways following a week of controversy surrounding McElwain's claims of family members and players receiving death threats.
Defensive coordinator Randy Shannon was named interim coach, and Notre Dame graduate transfer Malik Zaire replaced embattled starter Feleipe Franks at quarterback, but little changed for the Gators.
"I don't think anybody coming to this university is going to accept losing," Shannon said. "I don't think anyone going to compete is going to accept losing. It's our job that those guys don't accept it and play hard.
"Never have to worry about guys checking out. Somebody wants to play in the game. If a guy's going to check out, just go to the next guy. You've just got to keep playing, keep coaching. Now if you check out as a coach? That'll go down to the players."
Against a struggling Mizzou defense that was allowing 453 yards and 35.8 points per game, Florida registered just 349 yards and 17 first downs. Defensively, the Gators surrendered 455 yards, including 227 on the ground.
Mizzou entered the day averaging 143.5 rushing yards per game.
"I just want to say one thing: We loved every single one of our coaches that's been through here," Reese said. "It's unfortunate what's happened to them. I hate the way we represented our coaches like that today with this game. Those guys are really care for us and gave us a real good game plan to do what we had to do."
With the loss, the Gators have lost four straight and dropped to 3-5 on the season. It marked the fourth straight game in which the Gators scored fewer than 20 points, their longest such streak since 1988. The 29-point loss was its largest against a team that entered with a losing record since 1946 (Mizzou was 3-5).
"It wasn't as personal for us as it should have been," Reese said.
Even the team's verified Twitter account and the one belonging to the Florida marching band tried to make light of the embarrassing loss.
November 4, 2017
November 4, 2017
Florida, which won back-to-back SEC Eastern Division titles under McElwain, is in danger of missing the postseason for the second time in five seasons. The Gators travel to South Carolina next week and finish the regular season with home games against UAB and Florida State.
Said Shannon: "Our mind set is that we're going to go in next week, go up to Columbia and beat South Carolina."