Former Player Feedback: Florida's post-game locker room celebration

Nov 15, 2021 | 0 comments

A lockerroom video of Dan Mullen dancing in the middle of a group of players made the rounds after Florida's come from behind 70-52 victory over Samford. 

While fans in the Gator Nation were torn over whether or not it was appropriate to celebrate a poor outing over an FCS caliber opponent, seven former Florida football players shared what the lockerroom experience was like after they won games.

  • Former fullback Chris Bilkie (Steve Spurrier)

We celebrated every win but never, whether it was a lesser team or for the SEC Championship, celebrated that intensely.  We were always pretty professional-esque. Unless it was for a championship but that celebration was all on the field.  Coach Spurrier was more, ‘Alright we won.  Didn't play our best, but God was smiling on the Gators today.  We’ll celebrate tonight and get back to work on Monday.’

Coach Spurrier got on my ass pretty good in ‘94 after we, as the #1 ranked team, were upset by Auburn.  I had a little breakdown. 

But have to say this, we were never battling for our lives like this, never had coaches let go mid-season, and had extreme low emotions like this.  I trust CDM’s judgment on knowing his locker room and if the team needed that celebration for morale.

  • Former offensive lineman Nick Buchanan (Jim McElwain and Dan Mullen)

The mood was always electric after a win no matter what. Winning is hard and winning is fun. One can’t ever forget that. Of course, the celebrations are larger when the game sends you to the SEC Championship or if it’s 3:30 on CBS, but there was never a game that we won where we were mad about winning. You win you celebrate, you lose, you focus on why you lost, what we could have done better. Either way, 24 hours later it’s a new week and you have to clear your mind to focus on your next opponent.

  • Former running back Ciatrick Fason (Ron Zook)

The day I walked in the locker room I knew when we played the goal was to get the win, but also the average teams were supposed to be blown out. When we played UAB, FAMU, Eastern Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, or whoever, when we won we never danced, because beating them wasn't surprising to us. 

What I saw Saturday was terrible with the celebrating, because we looked like a team who just upset a great team, and we all know that game should have been a blowout and definitely not a 70-52 game. 

I hope this isn't the culture that we have come to within Gator Football

  • Former wide receiver Jacquez Green (Steve Spurrier)

It's hard for me to answer that, because we rarely lost when I played. So all of them were disappointing. I could see the player’s excitement from the other night, considering all the negativity from the media. And the fact they stayed resilient despite the score.

  • Former tight end Kalif Jackson (Jim McElwain)

The only time I vividly remember celebrating was when we beat LSU in Baton Rouge. Typically when we won we’d kinda just go back in jump around for a second if that. Talk a little bit about it and go home. There was no music allowed in the locker room on game days –  and anytime someone would play something that could be heard beyond their locker they would get chastised by a member of the staff. So from my recollection, we only really really celebrated when we beat LSU. I think every win should be celebrated especially when you take a step back and see what these young men have gone through this season where they just lost their defensive coordinator and their offensive line coach. That’s tough in season. Hell, my head coach got fired in the middle of the season and I saw that fire leave a lot of players’ eyes when he packed his bags. But these kids kept that fire. Yea the game was sloppy. Yea they gave up an absurd amount of points. But, they WON the game. So I’m not gonna be upset when these kids celebrate with a head coach they undoubtedly love and want to play for. Sometimes it ain’t pretty, sometimes you don’t meet everyone’s expectations. But I haven’t lost faith in this remaining staff and I think the kids showed the same in that locker room after the game.

  • Former center TJ McCoy (Jim McElwain and Dan Mullen)

Of course, when you beat LSU it’s obviously more exciting. But it’s awesome just to win period, that’s why we play the game – to win. Whether we beat a big-time SEC opponent or a lower-caliber team, we were always excited to win because we worked hard all week to get the win! My personal opinion on this past week's win was, I am happy for the PLAYERS. The players showed that they cared and fought hard to win. We as players do what the coaches ask. That goes for defense and offense. Our job is to make plays and the coach’s job is to put us in the position to make the plays. But with all that being said when I was with the Gators we celebrated every win like it was a great win and then on Monday we got chewed out for our performance in certain areas of the game.

  • Former tight end Clifford Taylor (Dan Mullen)

Whenever we won against an outmanned opponent, we used to dance all the time. Coach Mullen would dance sometimes depending, like if it was a shutout. When we beat the likes of an Auburn, Missouri (after the halftime fight), best believe the whole locker room was jumping. Coach used to always remind us how important each chapter of the season is no matter who we play. He always said embrace the new challenges and always think about how much we grind in the offseason to get to this point. So it just so happened this game was a battle, so winning a game like that, I understand why they celebrated. Especially with the way things have been going the last couple of weeks.

We always embrace a win no matter if it was clean or bad football against a rival or FCS team. We correct all the miscues in our meetings on Monday. Coach Mullen does a great job of breaking down everything. I think what a lot of people, especially those who just use Twitter fingers and would die to don the Orange and Blue on Saturdays gotta realize is that these guys care a lot about this game because it could be a game-changer for them and their families. They don’t understand the grind and they don’t know what it’s like to get up at five in the morning and grind. So honestly I just ignore people on Twitter. I express how I feel cause imma always defend my brothers and coaches no matter what they say. I’ll always go to war for these guys even being 2,000+ miles away.

Tags: Sport

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