When I sat back last night to watch the game again, one thing really jumps out, and it’s excitement. It’s not the players that made the big plays that make you notice it. After all, it doesn’t matter who the coach is, players are excited when they make a sack or score a touchdown. But what I notice with this team is an excitement for the team.
Damontre Moore may lead the SEC in sacks and TFL, but he says his teammates plays are just as important as his own.
It was Johnny Manziel sprinting down the field to congratulate Ryan Swope on his touchdown, and the other teammates that mobbed Swope afterward. It’s the way Spencer Nealy and other starting defenders ran onto the field to celebrate the fourth down stops in the fourth quarter with the players in the game. It happens time and time again, you see the players celebrating each others plays just as much as their own.
It was also Damontre Moore, almost breaking down in the postgame interiew room, talking about the way they celebrated with the seniors after the game.
“Right now, I’m speechless,” said Moore. “I’m excited and overwhelmed. Everybody was overwhelmed. It felt like the Nebraska or Oklahoma games all over again because we all came into the locker room, whooping and hollering, splashing Gatorade all over the place. The seniors are in the middle and everybody is just coming close together. It just felt like a big relief. Coach has been telling us that stuff like this can happen anytime if we put our minds to it and we just stick to the scheme.”
If anyone was doubting how important this game was to the seniors before the game, that issue was quickly put to rest after the game. As relieved player after relieved player came into the interview room and talked about how much they wanted this win.
“This game was really important,” said senior center Patrick Lewis. “The last three years we haven't fared to well against Arkansas, so it was important. We really wanted to prove a point, get our first SEC win, and beat Arkansas with something we haven't done in the past."
Running back Ben Malena said after the game that this win was for the seniors, and that the team definitely had something to prove.
“It was just the mindset,” he said. “This win was for the seniors. Since I’ve been a part of this program, we haven’t beat Arkansas. The seniors hadn’t beat Arkansas so we really came in with something to prove and we really just wanted to get this win for the seniors”
But being a good teammate is easy when you’re winning. The question is going to be how this team responds down the road when they face some adversity. But for now, players like Damontre Moore, a player who’s immaturity has been an issue in the past, are saying all the right things. He was asked about the fact that he didn’t get a sack after the game.
“I’m worried about what I can do,” he said. “If I do my assignment right and I just hold them and one of the other guys gets the sack, I’m just as happy because it’s not about me, it’s about the team. It’s about getting the win. It’s selfishness like that, when you’re worried about the sack. At the end of the day, you wouldn’t be happy about the sack if you come up with a loss.”