The players were still in their meeting room. The coach had left, but Jordan Sherit knew this issue needed to be addressed. He felt responsible: Florida has caused five turnovers this season, tied for 104th in the nation.
“We gotta find a way to change the game,” Sherit said after practice on Tuesday.
The redshirt senior was talking about his unit — the defensive line group — the ones who take pride in stopping the run and pressuring the quarterback but who have yet to recover a fumble this season.
The Gators are one of four FBS teams in the nation who haven’t. The other three teams are Buffalo, Appalachian State and Mississippi.
“That’s all effort,” Sherit said. “Nothing but effort.”
Heading into its matchup against Texas A&M (4-2, 2-1 SEC) this weekend, UF (3-2, 3-1 SEC) has placed an emphasis on causing turnovers, specifically fumbles. The Aggies lead the SEC with eight fumble recoveries.
Sherit said the team does turnover drills each practice, ripping the ball out of opponent’s hands in hopes of winning the turnover margin more frequently than they have this season. Florida is tied for 10th in the SEC with a minus-two turnover margin.
“Just because we ain’t generated turnovers doesn’t mean we’re not working on it,” safety Chauncey Gardner said. “You have to keep working.”
Sherit said Florida has placed an emphasis on causing turnovers in practice lately, more so than usual. He’s hoping it pays off on Saturday.
“We have high expectations. We need to do a better job moving forward,” Sherit said. “And we have a good test coming up this week.”
Players react to alternate uniforms:
Florida released a new alternate uniform that it will wear on Saturday, featuring a matte “swamp green” helmet and “swamp green” jersey, pants and cleats, according to a press release.
The change marks the first time in program history that UF will stray from its traditional orange and blue color scheme.
After Tuesday’s practice, several players gave their nod of approval for the new gear.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” receiver Josh Hammond said. “When we saw them, a lot of guys were ecstatic to get it on and finally come out with something different.”
Others weren’t as enthusiastic.
“Yeah, I don’t really care,” redshirt junior defensive lineman Taven Bryan said.
But Khairi Clark did. The redshirt junior said his favorite part of the uniform are the green alligator scales lining the jersey, and said he appreciated the program doing something different for the players.
“(Now) we can have a new uniform to wear instead of the same thing all the time,” Clark said.
Gardner said the players asked for a new uniform about two years ago, and UF coach Jim McElwain made it happen.
“We were just asking, like, a little bit more swag, add something to it,” Gardner said. “He did what he had to do and he came through.”
You can follow Ian Cohen on Twitter @icohenb, and contact him at [email protected].