9/5: Quinn evaluates; Reed, Halapio confident

Florida Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media on Wednesday to discuss how his unit performed in the season opener against Bowling Green as well as the upcoming road game against the Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Two offensive players added their thoughts later in the day.

CAN’T KEEP MISSING OPPORTUNITIES

Quinn, in a general sense, was pleased with how his defense performed in the opener but was still disappointed that there were not more turnovers in the first game. He said the Gators missed opportunities for two additional interceptions and that the number of penalties committed extended drives that otherwise could have been ended.

One thing Florida was successful in doing was affecting the quarterback, registering one sack and forcing both a low completion percentage (49 percent) and few yards per completion (4.2). (By contrast the Gators combined for 62 percent and 6.9 yards per completion). Quinn still wanted to see more in this area but understood that the quick snaps and passes limited UF’s chances greatly.

That is why he is so cautious about Texas A&M’s offense and what offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury bring to the table for Florida to defend this week.

“These guys really know how to throw the ball…that kind of goes without saying. They were the number one throwing team and scoring team last year,” he said. “For us you got to be disruptive to the receivers where they don’t have clean looks at things. I think you got to be physical with those guys.

“Certainly ways to affect the quarterback whether it’s pressure, the way you rush or the leverage that you use in disguise and coverage. I think it’s kind of a combination of things [you need] to work against this offense.”

DRISKEL READY FOR PRIME TIME?

The Gators’ game on Saturday may not be in the evening, but the contest is no doubt a prime time showdown with Florida and Texas A&M meeting live on ESPN in a game that will also be featured earlier that morning on the network’s College GameDay program.

A pair of redshirt juniors – left guard Jon Halapio and tight end Jordan Reed – said Wednesday that they believe sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel is up to the task and will not be phased by the pressure situations.

“I think playing Alabama [in 2011] for Jeff broke that being shy, being jittery in his first game. I think he got all that out of his system in the Alabama game. Just coming in the huddle now, I feel like he’s more prepared, more experienced. He’s just a good player,” Halapio said.

Reed is pleased with the athleticism that Driskel brings to the table and thinks that can play a major role in how the offense runs moving forward. He also praised his maturity.

“I think he’s more confident now and less worried about making mistakes. It was a battle before, now he knows he has the spot,” he said.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Quinn on the on-field leadership that senior Mike linebacker Jon Bostic brings to the table: “We certainly count on Jon in that way. I think he has really good football intelligence. Jon asks good questions even when he comes off the field. ‘Hey, in this three-by-one set, do we still want to play this?’ He comes off with questions not like, ‘Was I supposed to do that?’ I’ve always felt that way about Jon, and he’s certainly somebody that I count on [when he is] on the field that I can get a call in to him and he can get it communicated to the group.”

» Quinn on freshman Buck LB Dante Fowler, Jr.: “I think he’s really improving as a rusher, and I’m kind of excited to see where he can go to.”

» Quinn on what junior Buck LB Ronald Powell does each day: “He does rehab and then we do some exercises and things post-practice where we’re starting to get ready, whether it’s hands or rush. That’s the stuff we do together.”

» Quinn on freshman defensive end Jonathan Bullard’s ability to contribute three weeks after joining the team: “He’s got a good skill set with him. He came in and he’s got natural strength and natural pass rush ability. For some of the guys it’s how fast can you get acclimated to the terminology and the system and know some of the techniques to pay. Whereas some other freshmen need to get bigger and stronger to play against some of the guys.”

» Halapio on the offensive strategy against Bowling Green: “Coming in the game we definitely just wanted to run the ball. We just felt like – if there was nine in the box or 11 in the box – we still wanted to run the ball just to establish the running game. We just wanted to have a good feel on that.”

» Reed said that the coaches make the players do up-downs and pushups to atone for penalties committed during games. “That’ll make you not want to do it no more,” he said. Reed added that the whole offense and whole defense (depending which side commits the miscue) does the punishment and not always just the player.

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