10/13: Austin, Heater talk defensive improvement

By Adam Silverstein
October 14, 2010

Florida Gators defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Teryl Austin and co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Heater spoke to the media Wednesday taking a look back on the tough loss to the LSU Tigers and ahead to the match-up against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at home on Saturday night.

WHAT’s UP WITH WILL HILL?

A five-star recruit coming out of high school, special teams dynamo and one of the reasons now-senior safety Ahmad Black was partially forced out of his starting job last year, junior S Will Hill missed the first two games of the 2010 season due to team discipline and has not been the same since. Heater says the Hill is struggling most with his tackling but that the staff remains confident he will turn things around.

“He’s had some missed tackles. That’s a situation you’re always coaching against on the back end because a missed tackle on the back end can become a problem in a hurry,” Heater said. “He’s not the only guy [doing that], but he’s a guy we’re trying to improve and he’s trying to improve and get where he wants to get to.”

ELAM’s CONCUSSION KEEPS HIM OUT

Speaking of the secondary, freshman S Matt Elam (who has been playing nickel cornerback this year) was concussed during the LSU game. He has yet to practice this week and could be held out of the Mississippi State game if he does not improve later in the week. “He’s getting close, missed a few days this week but he’s getting closer,” Heater told the media Wednesday. “He observed practice today. We’ll reevaluate tomorrow. They have a whole systematic approach to these things so I just defer to the trainers. I think he’s making progress. He’s certainly better than he was two days ago and he’s able to do more things today than he did yesterday, so he’s making progress.”

The Palm Beach Post’s Jason Lieser spoke with Elam’s high school coach, Jack Daniels, who said he has never had a concussion before.

QUOTES (After the break…)

Austin on comparing this week’s response to the loss to last week’s: “I think we know the situation we are in now. We have to get a win. So our guys know whatever we have to do to get it done, they’re working to get it done.”

Austin on the defense being effective on first and second but not third down: “We have to do a better job of getting off the field on third down. Obviously we have not played up to our standards the last few weeks and that’s what we’re working to do this week.”

Austin on what he means by “spirited practices:” “Guys really flying around. Really going hard. Like we always do but just maybe a little more sense of urgency because of what’s at stake.”

Austin on how redshirt freshman linebacker Jelani Jenkins is stepping up: “Like everybody else he’s doing OK. But we all can do better and he can do better. He’s still going to continue to get better. So that’s what we’re looking for. So far he’s making progress but he’s not where he probably wants to be and where we need him to be, but he’s working that way.”

Heater on the defense’s response to back-to-back losses: “As a competitor and when you watch the tape and it’s not what you want to be, you can go compete. You can try to get better, you can practice to get better. I know no other way of getting better but to practice. That’s how you get better. If you can drink some magic potion and make it all work, that’d be great. You just go out and practice and you work to get better. You work to improve.”

Heater on the determination to get mistakes corrected: “The guys that play here have an obligation being at the University of Florida. We’ve set a really high standard and bar and that’s to win every game. When that doesn’t happen then people feel a sense of responsibility and urgency about fixing it.”

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