9/27: Harrison, Hunter, McCray and Burton speak

By Adam Silverstein
September 27, 2011

With the No. 12 Florida Gators preparing for their biggest game of the 2011 season thus far, four prominent players were made available to the media on Tuesday to discuss how the team is progressing heading into their showdown with the No. 2/3 Alabama Crimson Tide on Oct. 1 at 8:00 p.m. in Gainesville, FL.

EACH OPPONENT IS “NAMELESS/FACELESS”

Unlike former head coach Urban Meyer, who made it a point to build up rivalries and big games in the locker room, head coach Will Muschamp prefers his players look at each opponent as one who is “nameless [and] faceless.”

His players follow that mantra every time they speak, and redshirt sophomore center Jonotthan Harrison explained Tuesday exactly why. “That’s just how we approach every game,” he said. “[Muschamp] says it to the whole team every meeting.”

Why exactly? “It just keeps us focused on the assignments and the football concepts in general,” he said. “Florida is focused on Florida. We’re about completing the season, winning the next game.”

Redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray said that the anonymous designation does not change how psyched up the players get for the more important games. “It doesn’t really take away from big games,” he said. “Coach stressed the fact from day one that we’re going to play the first opponent as if it was the SEC Championship game. ‘Play every game like the best game.’”

BOSTIC AND JENKINS ARE MATURING

If the Gators hope to beat the nameless/faceless opponent that we’ll refer to as the Crimson Tide for the sake of brevity, the defense will be counted on to stop one of the best running backs in the country in Trent Richardson. The onus of that task will start with the defensive line but be shared by junior Jon Bostic and redshirt sophomore Jelani Jenkins, a pair of linebackers who have stepped up big time so far this season.

Redshirt junior defensive tackle Omar Hunter believes the duo’s increased maturity is the main reason for their impressive starts. “They’ve grown up so much. They’re able to call up the huddle and lead guys where as it used to be a defensive lineman [doing so],” he said. “They’re two great athletes. They work hard every day in practice perfecting their craft and it’s really paying off for them right now.”

Bostic and Jenkins (who is tied with sophomore safety Matt Elam) currently lead Florida in tackles with 26 and 17, respectively. The duo has combined for three sacks and five tackles for loss, while Bostic has added a forced fumble and Jenkins has four pass breakups (all which could have been interceptions).

NOTES AND QUOTES
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]» Hunter on the defense coming together: “The offseason program that [Mickey Marotti] put us through made us come together so close, that’s paying off right now. You can see it as a defense. We’re all starting to come together a lot more now.”

» Hunter on playing on defense in The Swamp: “It’s so loud. Sometimes it’s so loud we can’t even hear each other out there so we can’t communicate. We love it though. It gets you fired up.”

» Hunter on redshirt senior Jaye Howard’s fumble catch and return for touchdown: “He has the worst hands on the team.” What about Jenkins? “[Laughing while revising his statement] Second worst hands on the team.”

» Sophomore running back Trey Burton on if he’s excited to play Alabama: “This is why you come to Florida. That’s why they go to Alabama. That’s why we come to Florida. To play in big games like this.”

» Burton on learning from offensive coordinator Charlie Weis: “It’s unbelievable. He’s unbelievably smart and a great coach. You see it every week.”

» Burton on how Weis is tough on the players during the week: “He’s all over us during practice and stuff. He just wants us to be perfect. He’ll yell at you but he won’t make it obvious he’s yelling at you. He’ll bring you aside and talk to you about it instead of screaming at you. He’s a really, really nice guy.”[/EXPAND]

4 Comments

  1. Pecan says:

    Bostic might not be the most explosive of the two, but he has put himself into great positions throughout the beginning of the season. Solid player, in the mold of Crowder…

  2. dave says:

    great site, better than the sun or gator zone…last week, why leave rainey demps brantley etc in after game well in hand instead of getting other guys some reps and avoiding injuries? looks like someone told muschamp to ease up on the refs? dont think demps and rainey will b able to get around the corners very often on bama and hopefully they dont try to run them up the middle like most of last year which never workd against bigger defenses. need to throw and get the tight ends involved, then run some draws or bubble screens. brantleys gonna need to get the ball up and over the line of scrimmage and throw it away if nothins there and hopefully reed isnt too rusty if he plays. will need to run gilislee more this game and any other bigger tb’s we might have if they can hold onto the ball or stick driskel in and let him tebow it. seems like if a ref causes a fumble like last week the ball should b dead on the spot. if we can beat bama we will have a good run the rest of the year but is a tall order, go gators

  3. GatorsAlumLA says:

    I like the comments that Trey Burton has made. This is a marquee game and so far none of the talking heads are picking Florida. I truly hope they use that as added motivation.

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