9/28: Evans, Bostic and Elam on Alabama

By Adam Silverstein
September 28, 2011

With the No. 12 Florida Gators preparing for their biggest game of the 2011 season thus far, three prominent defenders were made available to the media on Wednesday 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.

WRAPPING UP RICHARDSON

Head coach Will Muschamp made it a point to say this week that the team’s best method of stopping Alabama running back Trent Richardson on Saturday is to gang tackle him at every opportunity and ensure that he’s wrapped up every time he touches the ball. His players echoed those sentiments later Wednesday afternoon.

“Basically you just got to tackle [Richardson]. It’s not different from any other running back we’ve played,” junior linebacker Jon Bostic said. “This week we’ve really worked on wrapping up, getting to the ball. He’s a strong runner. If you try to wrap him around his legs, he’s going to take off. We’re going to treat him as a normal running back. He puts on his pants just like we do.”

Safeties sophomore Matt Elam and junior Josh Evans know their tackling will be just as important if Richardson does happen to make his way through the front seven. “Tackling is a big point of emphasis – especially for Trent Richardson because he’s a big, powerful running back so you got to get him on the ground the best way you can,” Elam said. “Coach talks to us all the time about tackling,” Evans added. “We got to be a fundamental team in tackling. We’ve done pretty good. Everybody can be better. We can absolutely be better at what we do.”

THE GATORS ARE FOCUSED, MAN
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]There were plenty of things wrong with the 2010 version of the Gators, and lack of focus in big game situations was certainly a major issue. Evans did not want to admit that specifically on Wednesday when asked what happened last season in Tuscaloosa, AL, but he did say that focus during the game became an issue.

“I don’t want to say it was a lack of focus, but I’ll say that first drive we was looking pretty good and after that offensive drive kind of broke us down a little bit,” he said. “Everybody kind of separated a little bit – it broke us down early in the game and we lost focus.”

He also talked about the team’s cohesiveness as a whole last year. “We was together last year but people had their differences,” he said. “This year it’s nowhere near like that. Everybody is pretty much together.”

Why exactly? Because of how much time the entire team spent together over the summer both in strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti’s training programs and during team building activities. “You can see on our shirts it says ‘grind’ and everything. We became pretty close this year as a team,” Evans said. “We’re young and that’s one thing that helped us. We went out more; we did a lot more team stuff together. That’s one thing coach preached about. I feel we have a lot more team chemistry this year.”

NOTES AND QUOTES
» Bostic on the term “ball hawks” being used as praise for players on the team: “It’s basically just getting after the ball. We want the defense to go try and make turnovers.”

» Evans on what he sees from watching Alabama on film: “I see a good team that’s coming here in The Swamp to play against us. They got a couple guys but I think we match up perfectly against them.”

» Elam on why turnovers are so important to the defense: “That’s what the defense plays the game for – to create turnovers and get the ball in the offense’s hands as much as possible. Turnovers are the most important thing in the game. Whoever gets the most turnovers wins, I think.”

» Elam on why he has been breaking on the ball better in games: “Confidence has a lot ot do with it. I watch film a lot more. I’m playing faster.”

» Elam on if the secondary is trying harder to avoid penalties: “You can’t back off. When you back off, that’s when you get beat. You got to stay aggressive and don’t’ worry about the penalties. Just play your game and let the refs [make their] calls.”

» Elam on freshman safety De’Ante “Pop” Saunders: “Pop is a hard worker. He looks to get better every day in practice. I can see him getting better. He’s getting confident so he’s getting better every week. Confidence is a big thing. Once you get confidence, you play faster and you get better.”

» Elam on redshirt freshman tight end Gerald Christian’s touchdown: “[Smiling] I see my boy from my high school scoring in the end zone. We putting on for our team.”[/EXPAND]

6 Comments

  1. cline says:

    Liking the attitude of the players and coaches. Handle your biz Gators! GRIND

  2. TonyM1449 says:

    Adam, just wondering …I heard a rumor that Floyd and Easley were injured in practice this week and will probably be questionable. Do you know whether or not this has any legs?

  3. TonyM1449 says:

    Ok…just heard that and crossing my fingers it’s not true. Hopefully just a rumor …

  4. dave says:

    it seems crazy to me to have important starters hitting the week before a big game and risking more injuries, ive never understood this. they either know how to hit and tackle by this point in their careers or they dont. theyre not going to learn anything in one or two days of hitting this week they dont already know. you get dingd in practice and arent 100% during the game and get hurt worse then your out for more games or the rest of the season. with the schedule we have coming up i hope they cut way back on the full contact drills, at least for the impact starters. i hope the backups are ready.

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