January 22, 2010

Parting Shots: David Nelson II

After each season GatorBait.net talks to several of the top departing seniors and early entry juniors for a Q&A series we call Parting Shots. Up today, departing senior wide receiver David Nelson sat down with GBN's Ali Peek to give us an in-depth look at his time at Florida, his thoughts on Urban Meyer, Steve Addazio, the offense under John Brantley, his senior season, what he sees for the players returning at his position, his experiences as both a Gator player and a student-athlete and much more.

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Nelson was not flashy in his time at UF. He wasn't the biggest, fastest or most celebrated play-maker. But, Nelson's role on the Florida Gators ended up being more important than most could have ever predicted. After a couple seasons of quieting doing the right things, he emerged as a go-to guy during the end of the 2008 season. He grew into a leader that teammates describe as a 'Player-Coach'.

GatorBait.net: You have the honor of being part of a class that won two National Championships, but both seasons you guys suffered a loss and it definitely was not a sure thing you would even play for a title until down to the wire. How did you guys rally after losses to Auburn and Ole Miss?

Nelson: After the (2006) loss to Auburn, we had a team meeting. Coach Urban Meyer called all of us together and gave everyone a card. On the back of that card was a radio interview with Danny Wuerffel. It had a quote from him after their loss to Florida State in 1996. It talked about how bad it strung, but the real test for the team would be how they rallied in the next game and how they could come back from adversity, how the senior leaders were really going to have to step up and show their leadership at that point. he played the interview and read the card. On the front of the card was their national championship ring. When that happened, a lot of older guys, a lot of the team leaders, realized that, 'Yeah, it's a loss, it's a tough situation, but at the same time, this is a proving point in our season and in our careers. We can just give up and say, okay, we're done, or we can use it as a learning tool and take it and learn from it.' That meeting we had, listening to that story and see how Danny came out and dominated the next game, a lot of guys took that to heart. I think it jump started our season from that point.

GatorBait.net: After the 2006 season, 2007 was a letdown. I think a lot of people attributed that to all the senior leadership graduating and a bunch of young guys that hadn't really put that much work in yet taking the success for granted. What do you think the problem was and how do you think next year's team can avoid it?

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