Head coach Urban Meyer and a small group of players meet with the media each Monday after the Florida Gators participate in a game the previous Saturday. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the event this week.
AILING DEMPS SHOULD PLAY SATURDAY
Junior running back Jeff Demps aggravated a foot injury on Saturday against the Kentucky Wildcats, something that forced him to get X-rays after the game (they were negative). Doctors have diagnosed Demps with a sprained foot and have placed him in a temporary boot so it can heal for a few days before he returns to practice. “[We are] hearing positive things about [Demps returning] later in the week,” Meyer said Monday. “We’ll update you as we go. It’s not broken. It’s not a stress fracture. [The X-ray] came back negative. Now [we] just gotta get him healthy. […] I think we are going to have Demps, so I’d rather not even think that way.”
WEEK FOUR CHAMPIONS
Meyer announced that 24 Florida players graded out as Champions after the Kentucky game, more than double any other game so far this season. Freshman quarterback Trey Burton, redshirt junior QB John Brantley and redshirt junior defensive tackle Jaye Howard were singled out as Players of the Week.
Offensively, senior center Mike Pouncey; wide receivers redshirt junior Denote Thompson, redshirt senior Carl Moore and redshirt sophomore Frankie Hammond, Jr.; running backs Demps, redshirt senior Emmanuel Moody and sophomore Mike Gillislee; redshirt senior left guard Carl Johnson; redshirt senior left tackle Marcus Gilbert; redshirt senior right guard Maurice Hurt; sophomore right tackle Xavier Nixon; and redshirt freshman G Jon Halapio were honored. Nine players on defense – senior defensive ends Justin Trattou and Duke Lemmens; safeties senior Ahmad Black and junior Will Hill; cornerbacks junior Janoris Jenkins and redshirt sophomore Jeremy Brown; linebackers redshirt senior A.J. Jones and redshirt freshman Jelani Jenkins; and redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Omar Hunter – shined Saturday.
It appears that there were even more Champions this week, but Meyer said there were too many to name. “There’s too many names on there to get into each one of them,” he said.
Burton was also named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week on Monday for his school-record six touchdown performance. He is the fifth Florida player this year to win a weekly SEC honor and the second to win Freshman of the Week.
QUOTES (After the break…)
Meyer’s opening statement: “Our defense obviously played very well, held the (I believe at the time) top offense in the SEC with three really good playmakers, we very much limited them to 352 total yards. The key stat is 5-of-14 on third downs, and they were only 1-of-3 in the red zone. … An area that we were very much improved in from last year and then throughout the course of the year we’re getting better and better is in the red zone. We had six times in there, we had six touchdowns. For the year we’re 17-of-19 with 16 touchdowns. … The key stat is we were 63 percent efficient on third down and Kentucky was 35 percent on third down.”
Meyer on Howard’s improvement: “The Player of the Game played his best football game as a Gator, and it’s really great to see this. The improvement he’s made as a student, as a person, as everything. Jaye Howard – I can’t say enough about how pleased I am with his effort level, how it’s progressed. Coach [Dan] McCarney and Anthony Weaver our graduate assistant has just done a fantastic job with a guy like Jaye Howard. Very impressed and pleased with his performance.”
Meyer on the Alabama game: “This is a game obviously with a lot of national attention. A game that a lot of people are asking, ‘Is there a payback?’ I think a good majority of our team wasn’t even with us last year during that game. We have a lot of respect for their personnel. For the last several years it seems these two teams find ways to win games. This will be one of those great environments in the SEC that we go play in. So we better be locked and loaded. Everybody has to be on point. And that means that “All in” is going to be something we just talked about. Everybody has got to be all in.”
Meyer on not preparing for Alabama earlier than this week: “We lost a lot of really good players and had to focus on developing guys that really weren’t ready to play. … We even had discussion about should we have a week in training camp for Alabama. Should we take a day, a week, to have Alabama day? For a while there, I thought about doing that…until I flipped on the film and I saw how poor we were. To start worrying about Alabama, we better just figure out a way to catch the ball, put it away and not fumble.”
Meyer on Burton’s versatility: “We had a feeling because he’s been [coming] to our camp forever. We knew he had an awkward throwing motion. We knew he was a competitor, and we knew that he came from a great program and won a lot of games. But, no, we didn’t. You don’t know that until you get your hands on the guy and call a play. I think the important thing with a guy like Trey is his football IQ is off the charts. … His football IQ is the thing right now, along with his competitiveness and toughness, that makes him such a good player.”
Meyer on distractions last year against Alabama: “I saw obviously a big distraction. I saw rock star status. I saw all the stuff that probably a lot of guys saw. That’s all fine. What I didn’t see was execution on Saturday. We got the game to 12-10, I believe, right before halftime, and then they have that big screen pass for 70-plus yards. We just didn’t execute well. It was painful to watch that thing. We watched it again this morning.”
Meyer on Alabama QB Greg McElroy: “When we evaluate quarterbacks, he’d be a guy we’d evaluate very high. His competitiveness, his leadership, his toughness, his intelligence is far above anything else. … A lot of respect for winners.”
Meyer on if he is now more confident in his offense: “The first time a guy makes a play is not going to be in front of 95,000 people [and] on national TV. It’s going to be in practice. He’s going to have to do it probably about 500-600 times before he does it in a game. We’re now getting to that point where we’re seeing some confidence because we see it in practice, not the game. … Confidence is a result of success and doing it. And people get that misunderstood in a game. It will never happen in a game unless you have confidence in practice.”
Meyer on Brantley’s improvement: “I’d have to say the best thing going is the … timing and execution by our receivers and Johnny. I know what Johnny can do, so I’m really anxious to get the guys around him. I didn’t know Carl Moore would be the best option route runner we’ve had here in a while. I didn’t know that. Coach [Zach] Azzanni has developed that with Carl. … Deonte Thompson is one of the best second-level runner routes we’ve ever had here. I didn’t know that. And Omarius Hines. … If you watched Saturday, a lot of those passes were thrown on the right time. … You’re starting to see the rewards of good timing between a quarterback and the receivers.”
Burton on the reception he’s gotten since his performance: “It’s been fun. I really haven’t been doing too much. I’ve been in my room pretty much all day yesterday and all Saturday night. I had one class today, so it’s been pretty much chill. Same as usual.”
Burton on if he has felt overwhelmed: “Yeah, when I first got here, I was overwhelmed with how much we lift and how much time I have to dedicate to football. But I’m fine now. Brantley’s helped me out a lot. Him and I hang out almost every weekend.”
Burton on only being a three-star recruit: “I feel like the ratings that people do for Rivals and Scout, no offense to anybody, that doesn’t mean anything. I feel like as long as you go hard and you go as fast as you can and work as hard as you can, you’re going to be fine no matter what position you play, no matter if you’re a five-star, a one-star, a two-star. It really doesn’http://www.onlygators.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=19498&action=editt matter.”
Burton on other future impact freshmen: “I think Matt Elam really has a really good shot of doing something big. He’s played a lot and he has a lot of talent. I think [offensive linemen] Ian Silberman and Chaz Green are doing really, really well. And [WR] Solomon Patton, once he gets all the plays straight, he’s going to be one heck of a player.”
Pouncey on losing to Alabama last year: “We just had too many distractions. We got too busy with all the hype and everything instead of just going out and doing what we need to do and being the program that we are.”
Pouncey on the importance of this game: “I think any Florida fan has this game circled, but it is one game out of the season. We based the whole offseason on getting to Atlanta. Obviously you gotta be one of the best teams in the SEC to do that. We gotta go out there and prepare like we would against any other team.”
Pouncey on the offense: “I think we can move the ball against anybody.”
Pouncey on Burton’s performance: “I knew all along Trey Burton was going to be a great player. Just for the fact that he does everything right, he lives the right way, he’s a great guy. Whenever the coaches ask him to do something, he doesn’t talk back, he’s just a heck of a guy. … Being an unselfish player helps out a lot. Just to do whatever it takes to win. Those are the guys who end up having great careers.”
Pouncey on honoring Meyer’s 100th win: “We gave him the game ball after the game and was all proud of him. He’s a heck of a coach, and we’re glad he’s here.”
Pouncey on why revenge is a good motivator: “It makes you play better, just knowing the fact that you got beat last year and you want to go out and prove something. So we’re going to go out, and we’re going to play really hard.”
Black’s opening statement: “We got a little joke. Last week coach said the game was going to be a coin toss. So, I just happened to be captain last week, and they called heads. And guess what? It was tails, and I got the coin. [Produces coin] I got the coin. Tails never fails. That’s what I told you. [Laughing] I bucked the coin. I might give it to coach though for his 100th victory. Tell him ‘tails never fails.’”
Black on losing to Alabama last year: “I can just remember [us] going out and not playing the best that we could, and Bama going out and beating us. Left a sour taste in our mouth. Not only that they beat us, but knowing that we went out there and didn’t play the best that we could.”
Black on getting back at Alabama: “It’s revenge. Even though we got a lot of young guys, there’s also a lot of guys who have been on the team as well that’s back here again this year. It’s revenge. We gotta go out here and play better than we did last year. Last year we didn’t come out and play our best.”
Black on how they can beat Alabama: “We just gotta out-will them and out-tough them. That’s where the offseason come in at. In the fourth quarter, when things get tough [and] everyone’s tired, we gotta find a way to win the game.”
Sophomore linebacker Jon Bostic on Alabama running back Mark Ingram: “We’re going to prepare just like we do every other week. We’re not really going to try to change too much. We know he’s a good running back, we know they got two good running backs. We’re just going to go out there and play our game.”