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Saturday, Apr 19, 2014

Gators aren't looking too far ahead

Florida Today
Published:   |   Updated: March 13, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Fourth-ranked Florida continues to climb up the polls after an eight-game winning streak and a 6-0 start in Southeastern Conference play.

So, are the Gators contenders for a league title or just warming up for the toughest part of the schedule?

"I think every game gets your attention," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "You realize, as competitive as this league is it doesn't make a difference."

UF (16-2, 6-0 SEC) plays South Carolina (12-7, 2-4) tonight, a game the Gators could be tempted to overlook. The Gamecocks are in transition under first-year coach Frank Martin.

"Frank has done a great job with his team," Donovan said. "So, I'm not surprised at all when you watch them on film that, every game, whether it's been Mississippi State or Missouri, at home against Arkansas, they really put themselves in a position to win every single game."

With each win, however, the Gators' reputation and ranking grows. Keeping players focused could get tougher.

"I almost liken it to driving a car," Donovan said. "You go out and drive in a country field and there's nothing to look at. You're looking at the road. Then all of a sudden, you get into the city and all of a sudden there's a bunch of sights and sounds and things you start looking at.

"You're not paying attention to what's in front of you We can't do that, and our guys have got to understand that. We've got to drive our car with two hands on the wheel inside the lane and looking at what's in front. And what's in front of us right now is South Carolina."

A plus for Florida is playing four of the next five at home after starting the SEC schedule with four of six on the road.

Over a 61-day span, Florida had three home games.

Center Patric Young is a little plane-weary. He also is a little poll-weary.

"It's nice to be recognized for the hard work we've been putting in," Young said of the No. 4 ranking. "It lets us know that we're doing the right thing so far, that we need to keep improving.

"I know coach Donovan's going to humble us. He's going to find something to make sure we don't get too lifted up on this attention that we're getting now."


Tonight: 8 p.m. TV: WTTA, Ch. 38