The Florida Gators defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 37-24 at the 2011 Outback Bowl in Tampa, FL on Saturday afternoon. Below are quotes from head coach Urban Meyer and game MVP senior safety Ahmad Black (as well as thoughts from freshman cornerback Cody Riggs and Penn State head coach Joe Paterno), all of whom spoke with the media immediately after the contest.
HEAD COACH URBAN MEYER
On Black winning the MVP: “I think that’s rather appropriate that Ahmad Black, the best safety in college football, won that [MVP] award.”
Opening statement thank yous: “I have a lot of people to thank. Obviously I want to acknowledge Penn State – that was a tough crew. That defensive line, our guys told me, was as tough and physical as anyone we’ve had to go against all year. Obviously Joe Paterno, the finest coach in all of college football history. And the Penn State University, that was a classy game. That was two teams going as hard as they possibly can. Not a bunch of nonsense going on. Just playing hard. It was a honor to coach in that game.”
On his halftime speech and turning the game around: “Our goal was to get to the second level somehow and they were doing a very good job. When you have three weeks to prepare, Penn State did a heck of a job. They made some adjustments on their defense. They did some stuff that they hadn’t shown, but we knew they would do that. I thought Coach [Steve] Addazio did a heck of a job. Jordan Reed is a hell of a player. Jordan Reed did a great job moving that offense. With it up-tempo, I think they wore out a little bit. I think possession time was substantial for the Gators in that second half and you could see them start to give a little bit. Our defense was hanging in there the whole game. We were awful in the first half on offense, but we came back with special teams and in the second half our offense played very good.”
On his letter to Paterno: “I’ve said that’s been the story all week and it’s all true. He will go down as the greatest football coach in the history of the game, and he should. Every young coach, in my opinion, should take a lesson from him, not some of this other stuff going on. If I ever start a coaching school, I am going to make everybody do a book report on Joe Paterno and say that’s the way you should act in coaching. That’s college football. And that’s what players should take away from a guy like him. You just don’t want to lose that man. You don’t want to lose what college football is. That was college football out there today.”
On singing the alma mater and fight song with the crowd: “My wife started crying, so she choked me up a little bit. You could obviously see what she was wearing and all of the kids, they love Florida. We have given six years – six equals about 40 years of your life – to Florida and we couldn’t have dreamed to do it anywhere else because this is our place. We love it. To sing that fight song one last time and to go salute the band – we have the best band in the country – and shake hands with our band director, that was real special.”
On Black: “Ahmad Black is one of my closest friends, and I can call him a friend now because he’s not my player. He’s family. Ahmad Black was not the Ahmad Black when we got him four years ago. Ahmad Black has turned into a grown man, a grown man who is going to pay taxes some day, a grown man who is going to have a family some day. He’s going to be a great father and a great husband because Ahmad Black is a grown man now. He has a great family. His relationship with Chuck Heater, and I made a comment about that, if it’s done right, the player-coach relationship is second only to that of your family. He’s can attest to that. Ahmad Black wasn’t what he is when we got him. Now that he’s leaving here, he’s everything and more. I’m very proud of him.”
Many more thoughts from Meyer, Black and Paterno…after the break!
Continue Reading » 1/1: Meyer, Black speak after Outback Bowl win