Florida's 48 for 2014, No. 46: Confidence is contagious

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

You want to be the best? You've got to believe you can be the best.

We're doing things a little differently this year, with Florida's 48 for 2014. Yes, the numbering is intentional, but these will mostly be reasons to be excited about the 2014 season, or ways to look at it. And I'm going to have a lot more fun with it than anyone did with Florida's 2013 season, trust me.

I don't like the "Revenge Tour" mantra that some want to use for Florida in 2014.

I'm not mad that I didn't come up with it — though I came up with something similar for Florida basketball's Final Four trip, and that didn't quite work out. I'm not all that worried about Gators motivated by revenge losing sight of the process on the way to their goal, either. I just don't think it totally encompasses what this team wants this fall.

More than revenge, the Gators want respect. And they seem confident that they'll get it.

Will Muschamp's been saying "We'll be a good football team" since the spring; he raised that ante on Monday by saying at SEC Media Days that this would be "the most complete" Florida team he's had. Jeff Driskel sounded as comfortable and confident as he ever has. Dante Fowler and Vernon Hargreaves sounded like sprinters ready to come out of the blocks, performers ready for the curtain to rise.

Those three Gators, by and large, did what they could in 2013, and watched their brothers flail and fall as they all failed together. That season of futility hurt them, no matter what tales they try to tell about it now, but they were always going to be the leaders of this team; save for Driskel, who is inarguably Florida's best option at quarterback, they had fine individual seasons in 2013.

As such, they are confident that they can write a new chapter for themselves in 2014. They are confident — not cocky, just self-assured — that they will control their fate. Their coach is confident in the same things, and in the idea that they can lead their teammates to believe all those same things as gospel.

Muschamp didn't bring Driskel, Fowler, and Hargreaves along to SEC Media Days because they're Florida's best players; he brought them along because they will be Florida's leaders. They set an example for their fellow players with that confident, even-keeled tone they struck all day in Hoover.

And confidence is contagious.

And as long as you're careful with it, it's a great pathogen to have.

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