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November 15, 2010

An emotional Pouncey faces media



MORE FOOTBALL COVERAGE: Goldkamp: A tale of two coaches | Meyer: There's a void

An uncharacteristically emotional Mike Pouncey met with the media on Monday following Saturday's devastating loss to South Carolina.

Seemingly fighting back tears, Pouncey fielded questions about what went wrong and how demoralizing it was to have all the hopes and aspirations for the year ripped away by one of the most crushing losses in recent Florida football history.

"I think the toughest part is losing at home," he said in a low, solemn voice. "Our fan base has been amazing during my four-year career here. It just sucks sending them out like that ... especially for all the fans who stuck behind us through the good and the bad."

For a guy who has always met the media with a steely, confident presence, it was almost unnerving to watch Pouncey fight through his interview.

His voice trembled as he spoke about his love for the Florida Gators and how much fun he's had in a career that includes a BCS National Championship and countless personal accolades.

And on a day when nobody seemed to have any answers, including head coach Urban Meyer, Pouncey's tone spoke volumes.

He was simply crushed.

"I bleed orange and blue," he said as he looked up from the microphone. "I never give up on this program, this team. We obviously want to send our senior class out on the right note, especially for the guys who gave their life to this program."

And for Pouncey and the rest of the Gators, that's the goal heading forward.

They want to send the seniors out victorious by stringing a couple wins together.

For a program that had become so accustomed to playing for championships over the past few years, it was evident Monday that the reality of Saturday's loss was starting to set in, especially for the guys who won't get another opportunity to play for one in college.

"It just sucks to end on a note like this, but I just want to finish the season out strong with a couple more wins," he said as he regained his composure.

The senior class, led by players like Pouncey and safety Ahmad Black, is one of the winningest classes in program and SEC history.

They have put together a 41-10 overall record with a 22-8 mark in the SEC. They've also won a BCS National Championship and a BCS Sugar Bowl to go along with an SEC title.

"We're awful proud of these guys." Meyer said. "We love these guys. We want to send them out winners, that's our whole goal this week."

And while the game against Appalachian State might not inspire a ton of interest from the fans, it means the world to the players who will suit up for the last time as Gators in the Swamp.

It's Senior Day and the final farewell for Pouncey and the rest of his class.

"I'm definitely going to cry," Pouncey said as he finished up his interview. "I felt like I gave everything to this program that has done so much for me This weekend coming up is going to mean the world to me. Everybody that's been behind me the whole way is going to be here and it's going to be a very emotional day."



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