Florida’s Martez Ivey: ‘I don’t see anybody being better than us this year in the East’

Florida came to SEC Media Days with a new season, a new coach, and a newfound confidence. Last season is over, and with it, the Gators think they can — and will — compete for an SEC title in 2018.

Coach Dan Mullen said as much on the podium proclaiming an SEC East title a goal in year one of his tenure at Florida.

“It’s definitely attainable. I don’t see anybody being better than us this year in the East,” offensive lineman Martez Ivey said Tuesday afternoon. “I know how hard we’ve been working, I know how much work we’re going to put in, how much work we put in the spring, how much work we put in the offseason, how much work we’re going to put in fall camp. Our determination is different, our focus is different. Everything’s different about this program. I do see ourselves winning (the East).”

Linebacker David Reese echoed the sentiment, noting the talent at Florida never was the problem.

“It’s OK for us to be overlooked,” Reese said. “It doesn’t really matter what people think. I know what we have in that locker room, and I know we’ve got more talent than almost every team in the SEC. Even last year, the season that we had, we knew we were more talented than the teams we played.”

Those are strong, defiant words from a team that won only four games, and three in the conference, a season ago. To make that jump, Florida’s offense will have to improve leaps and bounds from the 22.1 points per game it scored a season ago, good for 109th in the country.

Mullen’s offense seemed to be the talk of Florida’s portion of Media Days, with Ivey in particular raving about how noticeable the change has been.

“Even my friends who knew nothing about football could tell me what we were going to run (last year),” Ivey said. “At least like 95 percent of the time, they were right.

“The last three years I’ve been here, it’s been frustrating not to score touchdowns. I feel like with this staff and Mullen we will be able to put up a lot of points.

Of course, Florida will almost certainly not be picked to win the East when the media predictions are released this week — that honor will undoubtedly belong to Georgia. Ivey pays no mind.

“It doesn’t matter,” Ivey said. “I’d rather be the underdog.”

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