9/20-21: Florida footballers speak to the media

By Adam Silverstein
September 21, 2010

A number of Florida Gators players spoke to the media on Monday and Tuesday as the team takes a look back on its 31-17 road victory over the Tennessee Volunteers and ahead to its match-up against the Kentucky Wildcats at home on Saturday.

Redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley, senior safety Ahmad Black, redshirt sophomore cornerback Jeremy Brown, redshirt senior defensive tackle Terron Sanders, senior defensive end Duke Lemmens, senior linebacker Brandon Hicks, redshirt freshman LB Jelani Jenkins and freshman QB Trey Burton all had plenty to say…which you can read after the break!

QB BRANTLEY
On clock management: “We just need to have more urgency to the line of scrimmage.”

On the play calling: “We just take what the defense gives us. Our run game has been [going] really well lately, so that’s what we’ve stuck with. At the end of the day, as long as we have that ‘W,’ it really doesn’t matter to us.”

On junior running back Jeff Demps: “He’s done a great job. We can’t ask for anything more. He returns kicks, runs the ball plenty of times during the game, and he goes hard. No matter how tired he is, he’s going to keep going. That’s what makes him so reliable.”

On the wide receivers: “I don’t put the ball in the best spot, but they made me look good, that’s for sure. I trust them before the game, now I really trust them. I know that they’re going to be there if I don’t make a perfect throw or anything like that. They’re going to make up for it. They’re going to make some great catches. And that’s what makes them reliable.”

On the bad snap in the first quarter: “I apologized. I apologized to [senior center Mike Pouncey] that there was only three seconds left to go in the play clock and I hurried him up. So I put that all on me. Should have got everyone up to the line quicker.”

On throwing the ball deep: “There was a couple more [opportunities]. We probably could have took a couple shots. Sometimes with those big ol’ linemen in front of me, I’ll lose a read key or something.”

On hitting redshirt freshman tight end Jordan Reed in the helmet: “[Laughing] He didn’t even know what to say. He was speechless and said, ‘I don’t even know what I was thinking.’ He’s a very reliable guy also, I love throwing to Jordan. He made a great catch also on the Tennessee sideline.”

On his comfort level with the offense: “I feel very comfortable. I’ve been in the system for three years already. Moving from the practice field on to the game field is a little nerve-wracking at first, but I’m getting more comfortable as it goes. Preparing during the week, being very prepared from the week, makes it easier on Saturday.”

SS BLACK
On if beating Kentucky is really a “coin flip:” ”That’s what our coach says. […] I guess we gotta make sure tails never fails.”

On the defensive front seven: “In our mind, interceptions have been because they’re getting pressure on the quarterback. It’s a great day for the Gators when they do that.”

On why he only had four tackles: “I think [Tennessee was] scared of me. [Laughing] Linebackers played great – all the way across the board – I was proud to see from one week to the next how much they progressed. […] If I make the most tackles, something is going wrong.”

On the secondary’s two gaffes: “It was just a misunderstanding. We’re all good back there.”

On when head coach Urban Meyer makes the team laugh: “Every day. Every day he cracks a joke or has something for us to laugh about. Yesterday in a team meeting he said some pretty funny things.”

On the wide receivers’ improvement: “They improved a lot. I think considering [Tennessee has] one of the best [units] in the nation, and they have to go against us every day [in practice], [that] helps them out against other teams as well.”

On the importance of important blocking kicks: “We work on our special teams a lot. A lot of different schools don’t. That’s one of the great keys to winning the game – special teams is one-third of the game. We try our hardest to exploit other teams’ weaknesses in special teams.”

CB BROWN
On his mistake and subsequent interception: “That was all my fault. It was me. […] Gotta have amnesia, forget about it. […] Defense we ride together. They rallied behind me, told me it was a team effort. They’re gonna hold me down, keep my head up, forget about it. So I forgot about it, went out there and made a play.”

On having to recover from injuries before getting on the field: “You want to be out there so bad and play with your teammates. You’re recruited with guys that you build relationships with, so seeing them playing is tough. But I’m glad I’m out there now.”

On the wide receivers: “Oh yeah, they’re definitely improving as a group. That [redshirt senior] Carl Moore is something special. He continues to come down with big grabs in key situations. He does it in practice every day. He comes to work, so it’s nothing new. They’re really developing as a group. You look at guys like [freshman] Quinton Dunbar and [redshirt freshman Andre] Debose and [redshirt sophomore] Frankie [Hammond, Jr.] – all of them are really just developing every week. I feel like as a team we really are, too.”

DT SANDERS
On comparisons to the 2007 defense: “I feel like we’re nowhere close to the 2007 defense. I was a part of that defense. I think we’re a lot better than that 2007 defense was. I don’t feel any slide. We have some young guys getting adjusted to the game.”

On redshirt junior DT Jaye Howard’s importance: “He’s very valuable to us. He allows us to get more people in, more rotation, keeps us fresh on the defensive line both on the end and inside.”

On the linebackers: “I feel like they’re getting comfortable back there now. They came in, they were very inexperienced because we had those seniors back there last year. They’re starting to find their own and, as long as the front does what we have to do to keep the linemen off of them, I think they’re going to be real productive.”

DE LEMMENS
On playing linebacker on some downs: “If you watch the film, my footwork was pretty bad at linebacker. I got a lot of work to do. It didn’t feel too unnatural to me, but I got a lot of technical stuff to work on.”

On having a bigger role: “I just keep showing up every day. I bring my lunch pail to work and go wherever they tell me to go and it seems to have worked out so far.”

On Kentucky as an opponent: “I know Kentucky is a very quality team, they got to bowls and they’re in the SEC. When all is said and done, anyone in the SEC can beat you any week. That’s what makes this conference so special.”

LB HICKS
On having so many linebackers wanting to play: “We’re all here for the same purpose. We always say defense wins games. It doesn’t matter who we have on the field. We all together, collectively, threw all of the selfishness out the window. Naturally everybody wants to play, but when the time comes you will play and what you do with that time is the main focus.”

On how Meyer has changed his coaching style: “He’s put it more on the position coaches now to deal with us instead of him trying to come at each person at a time. Everybody’s taking responsibility for their own position group. We kind of see it as our position room is our sanctuary. Everything that goes in there we do within the group. […] He’s put more of an emphasis on actually being a man about what you’re doing and actually going in and doing it yourself and making the right decisions and the right choices that will benefit not only you but your teammates as well as the whole team.”

On if Meyer has become less intense: “He’s still as intense as he used to be, but you can tell through the health problems and stuff that he’s had that it was a change for the better. Now he can focus more on the mechanics and everything that he’s been doing instead of worrying about everybody’s issues and problems.”

LB JENKINS
On how the linebackers have improved: “I think that we really had to pay attention to our fundamentals and go back to those. With experience, we’re all getting better. We have a lot of young guys out there and we just come out and practice and work on the little things and clean those up.”

QB BURTON
On playing in Neyland Stadium: “I really didn’t know what to expect, it was my first road game. But it was a great time. That was a really nice stadium.”

On his freshman class: “It’s one of the best classes in the history of football.”

On playing in the Wildcat: “I feel real comfortable running the Wildcat because that’s what I’ve been running pretty much my whole life. I like playing all the positions and all the coaches have done a great job of helping me get used to them. Players like [fullbacks redshirt junior] Steven Wilks and [redshirt sophomore] T.J. Pridemore have really helped me out with playing fullback and tight end and stuff. They have really made it easy for me.”

On if he cares whether or not he plays quarterback: “No, I’ll do whatever. Whatever coach wants me to do.”

On if it bothered him when Dan Mullen left: “I’m glad coach [Scot] Loeffler’s here. He’s done a lot with JB and I. And he’s also a great coach – probably the best quarterback coach in the nation.”

7 Comments

  1. ejlgator says:

    Damn. These kids seem to all say the right thing. I love how they all mention the mechanics and the fundamentals. You can tell that we have a really strong, solid coaching staff that harps on the right things. After three games its still fair to call this team young, but after you have a few games under your belt you are no longer a freshman. I love the improvement from week to week. If this continues we will have a very strong team by the end of the season

  2. ReimLaw says:

    FINALLY, someone who recognizes the youth and improvement by the youngsters and is not one on here pissing and moaning about how “poor” the team’s been doing and/or bashing the coaching staff!!!! Well said, ejlgator!

  3. Timmy T says:

    The future of Florida football is morphing before our very eyes. Just get better week after week fellas, and play your hardest every play. Do that, and its all good. I expect this team to be very strong by the end of the year, in all phases of the game. Next year, I expect absolute greatness, but regardless what happens, its great to be a Florida Gator!!!

  4. Joe says:

    Reimlaw and ejlgator, I can’t agree more. I felt worse at this point last season than I do now. Progression, growth, learning all tell me that this team’s roof is plenty high. There’s nothing better than a hungry football team. I grew up in Miami watching the Hurricanes during the late 90’s and early 00’s. This team reminds me a lot of those teams and we all know how good those players are in the NFL. These guys are playing fierce and ferocity is what you need against teams like Bama and LSU. These kids will be special – only time will tell how soon. The future is bright in Gainesville.

    Anyone else fall in love with the five man front we showed against Tenn? With 300 pounders that can move like our boys we’d be foolish not to run this set against Bama, LSU and Kentucky’s power run formations. Those boys looked straight dominant!

  5. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Damn. That was a good post. Nice job Adam.
    It is just great to see these how much these guys have matured over the course of three games. It’s really remarkable.

  6. SC Gator says:

    Agreed. The upside of these guys is just amazing to consider and it is fun to see how quickly they are maturing.

  7. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    I am with Joe…I like the 5 man front with Powell standing up…so much flexibility you have as DC with the linemane and quality LB’s we have……Austin has to be quite excited with the different looks he can give…hopefully the safeties will get things together

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