GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Coming off their second loss of the season, a demoralizing 17-16 defeat at the hands of LSU at home on homecoming, and it’d be easy for the Gators to be down on themselves this week.

Coach Jim McElwain has done his best to rally the troops, though.

“We’ve still got a lot to play for,” linebacker David Reese said. “We still haven’t lost in the East.”

The implication is obvious. Win the rest of your conference games from here and Florida will still be back in Atlanta playing for an SEC title for the third straight year.

Things certainly won’t come easy, though. Texas A&M is coming off a date with Alabama itself, and the Aggies looked far more competitive than most teams that have faced the Crimson Tide in the last couple years.

The Gators know that all too well after being smacked by the Crimson Tide the last two years.

“They’re really good. I mean, they’re really good,” McElwain said. “They’ve been recruiting at a high level for a long time, and they just keep rolling (players) in and out. Coach (Kevin) Sumlin’s done a great job to get people in there, and they’ve invested a lot in that place and they’re seeing it by the players they’re getting.”

While the energy in the fanbase definitely seems tempered following a second loss and continued struggles on offense, players seem to have insulated themselves from that for the most part.

Of course, words are different from actions, but the Gators are at least saying the right things.

“They got what’s at stake for them. We have what’s at stake for us,” safety Chauncey Gardner said. “We control our own destiny. We’re not worried about any other team. We just have to go out there and compete.

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