No. 7 Florida Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media on Wednesday to discuss his side of the ball as the team prepares for another tough game against the Missouri Tigers. Redshirt junior right guard Jon Halapio also spoke about the offensive line and how it can improve going forward.
Head coach Will Muschamp left redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins off his Monday injury report and for good reason as the Gators are not concerned about him playing on Saturday. In fact, though Jenkins did aggravate his hamstring injury against Georgia, Quinn noted that he has been practicing all week without any problems.
“I’m not sure why some of the recurring things have happen, but we’ve certainly had good practice attention moving forward. So hopefully these injuries are behind him and we can move forward,” he said.
Quinn also discussed junior cornerback Cody Riggs, who has missed most of the season with a broken foot. Though Riggs may be eligible for a redshirt, Quinn noted that Florida’s goal is to get him back on the field and playing at 100 percent, if possible.
“I’m not sure on the compliance of that, but I would think that it would be due to the nature of the injury so early,” he said. “It is something that certainly we’d consider moving forward. At this time, we’re just trying to push to get everybody back available as needed. With him just not being back yet, at [defensive back], if you can’t go and run and do the things that you need to do, then you’re not ready yet. Certainly at that position, when you get there outside on the freeway out at corner or safety, you better be able to run.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
[EXPAND CLICK TO EXPAND and read the rest of this post.]» Quinn on redshirt sophomore linebacker Neiron Ball and how he has performed this season in his return to the field: “Really proud to see Neiron play. From when he was first injured, seeing him in a hospital room and seeing his family there, you’re just so worried about him. Missing the whole year and kind of hoping he would have a chance to fulfill all he wanted to do as a player, come back and do it, but certainly guarded because you just didn’t’ know what the medical outcome would be. It’s been a big step when we knew he was finally able to come back and play, and then to have him out on the field, it was really an exciting time for him, for us, for our whole team. I keep seeing him improve each week. You can imagine playing a little bit as a freshman and then having to sit out a whole year and then get caught up fast. It really speaks to his competitive side and what he’s about. I really feel like he’s got a huge future in front of him. He’s got great quickness to be an outside [line]backer. He’s got speed; he’s got length. I think the arrow is really going up for Neiron.”
» Quinn said that he is proud of Florida’s defense as a whole. He is impressed how much tougher the team has been at the line of scrimmage and believes that emphasizing tackling during the offseason has really paid off. He did, however, mention some ways in which the defense can take another step going forward. “The areas we’d certainly like to improve on moving forward is increase our takeaways [and improve] our communication,” he said. “At practice the guys are working at it hard, working their skills. I’m seeing some of those guys improve.”
» Halapio said the offensive line met as a unit with redshirt junior center Jonotthan Harrison and senior left tackle Xavier Nixon leading the meeting. “[We discussed] just that we need to step up. We need to be more consistent, Just all around we got to get better,” he said.”
» During the Georgia game, Florida’s offensive line fell apart and did not play nearly as well as it had in the prior seven games. Halapio explained why: “When injuries started to come up on the offensive line, we lost our composure. We just need to do a better job with that. We were too aggressive after plays, definitely getting penalties off of that. I felt like we agreed that we were doing too much talking, talking trash to the Georgia front. We should have just done our jobs better.”[/EXPAND]