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Monday, March 23, 2009
'Greedy' Gators open spring hungry for more


Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Remember the old line from Gordon Gekko, Michael Douglas' character in the 1987 film Wall Street?

The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works.

That infamous line might as well be Florida's mantra on the football field next season. The Gators have won two of the last three BCS national championships, but they want another one.

"I got my championship ring last year, but some people on this team have two. Why stop there?" Florida junior cornerback Joe Haden said. "I guess we're greedy. We want more, and we've got the team to do it. So why not?"

The defending national champion Gators open spring practice on Wednesday, and they insist complacency is not a part of their vocabulary.

"Everybody knows that we're the defending national champion, and we want to hold that standard up," junior center Maurkice Pouncey said. "The only way to do that is go out here and work for it. We've got to take it back, because nobody's going to give us anything."

If anything, Pouncey said this offseason has been even more strenuous than the one a year ago.

With so many starters back from last season's national championship team, he said the way guys have pushed each other has been unlike anything he's ever seen.

But, then, that comes with the territory when you've got strong-willed leaders like Tim Tebow, Brandon Spikes and both the Pouncey twins returning.

"Leadership is going to be a big thing for this team," Maurkice Pouncey said. "The main thing we've got to do is get past last year. Yeah, it was nice winning last year. But we need to forget about it by the time we start spring practice. I think we've got enough veteran guys and guys who've played that we'll be able to do that. We've got to prove ourselves all over again."

Defensively, the Gators return 21 of the 22 players from their two-deep in last season's BCS National Championship Game. The only one not coming back is tackle Torrey Davis, who made a critical goal-line stop in the 24-14 win over Oklahoma. Davis has left the program.

Junior safety Ahmad Black said wanting to win another title is one thing, but what matters is the Gators playing and practicing like they want to win one.

If the last few months are any indication, he feels good about where this team is headed.

"Last offseason, it was like we were drowning after we lost to Michigan (in the Capital One Bowl)," Black said. "We were fighting to get back on top of the water. Now, we're on top of the water, but you've got to fight to stay there."