October 27, 2004
Gainesville, Fl. - It has been a roller coaster week for the Florida football team with the firing of Ron Zook and the waiting to see if Steve Spurrier will return to the Swamp.
The question Georgia fans have about Saturday's game with Florida is: how motivated will the Gators be after Ron Zook's firing on Monday?
Several seniors on the team said that several underclassmen are talking about transferring, and that the team meeting where Athletic Director Jeremy Foley informed the team of Zook's dismissal was anything but easy.
Senior offensive guard Mo Mitchell of Albany says what hurt the most is that the players heard their coach was gone well before their meeting with Foley. "You should at least inform the players before you make a move like that," Mitchell said. " It was something that was done under the table and we can't doing anything about it. All we have to do right now is work hard and just work to finishing out the season and winning these final four games."
It has not been a good year for the Florida football team but Mitchell is having a good season on the Gators offensive line. Spurrier was the Gators coach when former Dougherty star Maurice "Mo" Mitchell picked Florida over Georgia.
Mo Mitchell's final season in a Florida Gator uniform will also be the last for his head coach, and the former Dougherty High standout like his teammates believes it shouldn't be. "I just want to send him out with a bang by winning these last four games."
One wise move Ron Zook did make this year was moving Mitchell from defense back to offense where the 6'7", 360 pounder has started six of seven games at offensive guard this season. After having a few run-ins with his head coach early in his collegiate career, Mo Mitchell is having fun this season running into and sometimes over opposing defensive lineman. Mo is finally playing at the level all the college recruiters thought when they were all drooling for his signature five years ago.
Florida offensive line coach Joe Wickline said "I think he has got a lot of upside and he hasn't reached it yet, and I think he is trying to do that. And as these games go along, he has got a lot football left ahead of him right now and he is getting better and better every week."
Mitchell said "I make the best of opportunities on the field this year and being real opportunistic, getting on the field and trying to go above and beyond to please this team, the fans and the coaches."
Mo may be back on the Florida offensive line but the Gators still take advantage of his big physical presence on defense in goal line situations. "Wherever I have to be to help us win I am going to be there," he said.
Florida players hope the firing of their coach this week will does not distract them as they prepare for their game with Georgia. For seniors like Mo Mitchell the one thing he would like to do after his playing days are over is come back to south Georgia and say he never lost to the Bulldogs.
Mitchell said, "It is a game where you want to win, I mean you have to got to win. You feel like you have got to win in our situation and it is just a fun game for us."
And after seeing all of your coaches loose their jobs to start the week, a win over Georgia would make football seem fun to Mo and his Gator teammates.
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