Motivation is a key for any football team. With the Florida Gators this year, some of that has come in the form of individual awards presented after each game.
Most popular amongst the team is The Hawk, a championship belt presented to the player that head coach Will Muschamp decides best represented a ball hawk with his performance during the game.
“We got to get the ball and create turnovers. Whoever is doing the most – we have some big point system of getting the ball back, how you create turnovers and knocks backs – there are a lot of different things that go into it,” junior linebacker Jon Bostic explained.
The belt (see below) is handed out each week by defensive line coach Bryant Young and signed by the player who earns the recognition.
Sophomore cornerback Jaylen Watkins was the recipient this week for his two pass breakups against Vanderbilt on Saturday.
“He played a great game, and he deserved it,” said redshirt junior defensive tackle Omar Hunter, who jokingly said that he has been left out of all the fun. “They’re cheating me, but I’m going to keep working hard and hopefully I’ll get it one week.”
Hunter said the players treat the belt as the representation of a “championship performance.” So much so, in fact, that they will even joke about it on the sidelines during games, proclaiming that they are going to get a sack on the next play or make a big pass defense in the secondary so they can own the belt for the week.
“Whoever plays the best, guys take a lot of pride in that,” he said. “Guys play hard for those kinds of things. We look forward to seeing who is going to win it every week.”
With at least three games to go in the 2011 season, Hunter’s motivation is unchanged as far as the belt is concerned.
“I want it. I want it. I want it,” he said with a smile.
Photo Credit: Jason Lieser/Palm Beach Post