Quotes & notes from UF on SEC Championship

By Adam Silverstein
November 30, 2009

No. 1 Florida Gators players and coaches have spoken with the media extensively over the last two days regarding the 2009 SEC Championship game on Saturday against the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide. You can find choice quotes and notes from the press conferences and interviews in no particular order after the break…

» Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Omar Hunter said the Gators will do everything in their power to shut down Crimson Tide running back Mark Ingram to win the game, prevent Ingram from winning the Heisman Trophy and give senior quarterback Tim Tebow a better chance to bring home his second. Tebow, however, said he does not care about the Heisman, just the SEC Championship.

» Tebow – “I’m really proud of [offensive coordinator Steve] Addazio. It wasn’t easy what he’s done, coming in with a lot of pressure.” Tebow said he has been fine since the concussion and has reported no problems whatsoever.

» Junior cornerback Joe Haden – “[The teams Alabama have played] aren’t doing what we’re doing. It’s going to be a heavyweight fight.”

» Senior wide receiver Riley Cooper – “It will be a backyard fist fight.”

» Redshirt senior linebacker Ryan Stamper – “This is the game of the year right here.”

» Junior safety Ahmad Black – “There ain’t too much rah-rah. It’s just get out there and play. There is so much at stake. We’ve had a couple of slip-ups, [but] we find ways to win.”

» Junior right guard Mike Pouncey – “[Terrence Cody] is probably the biggest load this year. He’s massive. He’s a tough dude to block.”

» Junior S Major Wright – “I wouldn’t be surprised [if defensive coordinator Charlie Strong was hired as a head coach]. I’m sure somebody is looking at him.”

» Redshirt junior right tackle Marcus Gilbert said President Barack Obama is “rooting for [the Gators] all the way.” Gilbert’s father is one of Obama’s secret service men.

» Head coach Urban Meyer – “To think that we clinched a berth in this four weeks ago and still took care of business. Everybody wanted to keep talking about the SEC Championship game. We kept our focus.”

“The fact [that Alabama has] great players and great coaches, that’s the only thing that matters. Last year is last year. This is a one-game season now. Our guys handle this like a one-game elimination tournament.”

“I also think when you look at the stats, basically it’s the two top offenses in the SEC in a lot of categories. Both these offenses are very, very powerful.”

“College football wants this game. I’ve been hearing it for a long time.”

Meyer feels confident that his offensive line can block Cody, but said “we’re not going to beat up our players in practice” by over-practicing for him.

“I don’t think anybody’s played better [this year] than Joe [Haden].”

“I’m convinced the guys see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The University Athletic Association has released a transcript of Monday’s interviews. You can read the responses in full here.

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