Florida's Malik Davis anxious to redeem himself after costly fumble
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Davis anxious to redeem himself after costly fumble

Florida running back Malik Davis.
Florida running back Malik Davis. (Tim Casey/UAA Communications)

The Gators have spent the last three weeks with a bad taste in their mouths.

Following their loss to Texas A&M, a COVID-19 outbreak sidelined the team and caused the postponement of both the LSU and Missouri games. The shutdown was especially tough for running back Malik Davis, whose last play against the Aggies was a costly fumble that would seal Florida’s fate.

“It was mentally a challenge,” he said of the layoff, “when you make a mistake right there on the field. Just as a competitor that I am, you’re anxious to get back out there. It was just tough.”

His fumble came with 3:40 left, just two plays after a 23-yard reception gave him three catches for 73 yards. The game was tied at 38 and UF needed just a few more first downs to get into a field goal range for the game-winning kick. On his fifth carry of the contest, Davis picked up two yards before the ball was knocked out and recovered by Aggie defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal in Florida territory.

“When you’re out there,” Davis said, “you’re looking to make a big play for your team. When that happens, of course it’s frustrating. You may feel a certain type of way, but the most important thing is you have to just move on and keep working.

“I can’t let that bring me down. It doesn’t take away what I’ve done, or it doesn’t take away what I can do. So I just know I’ve got to move forward.”

Before he could do that, Davis had to isolate for 14 days when UF paused team activities. As difficult and disappointing as the shutdown was, it provided the players with downtime to let their bodies recover during the practice hiatus.

“I physically feel fresh,” said Davis. “This rarely happens during a season where your body can just recover and feel fresh. That’s a benefit out of having two weeks off. Guys that were banged up were able to recover.”

However, Davis didn’t just sit around and relax in his house. He stayed active by completing at-home workouts crafted by strength and conditioning coach Nick Savage.

Davis even moved some furniture around to practice running plays. A chair served as his QB.

“Just putting the bed to the side and running plays in the house, just so you get mental reps,” Davis said. “It was pretty much just me walking through it. Grabbing a chair, using that as my quarterback and just reading off plays and running them from each side.”

Davis is seeking redemption Saturday night and will be looking to take it to the house against Missouri.