As the Florida Gators prepare for the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party against the No. 22 Georgia Bulldogs on Oct. 29 at a neutral site in Jacksonville, FL, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media late Wednesday to discuss the bye week and his team’s upcoming contest.
GATORS GET BACK TO THE BASICS
With so much to improve on after three-straight losses, Quinn said he used the bye week to focus on the players themselves and not the game plan for Georgia. He gave each player – and each position – separate assignments to concentrate on in order to improve the most efficient way possible.
Like always, Quinn wants the improvements to begin up front in the trenches. “Let’s play better at the line of scrimmage,” he said. “I thought at the last outing that performance was better. Playing blocks at the line of scrimmage and tackling were going to be such a big emphasis for us.
“As you go back through the bye week, you go through the games, take out some calls of what we’re doing well, statistically look at the film and [point out] the things we’ve had trouble with. Is it worth in these certain calls staying with it or getting rid of them and adding something new? That’s kind of what we did. We made a real big emphasis at the line of scrimmage and [with] tackling during the bye week. Just a hard ball, fundamental, hand placement technique [standpoint], and I felt it was real beneficial for the team.”
Quinn noted that the defense spent additional periods during practice on tackling drills, ensuring that this would not be an issue going forward this season. “The biggest thing is you drill it a lot,” he explained. “Each day you devote some practice time to not just the technique but angle tackles and open-field tackling. It’s more just the time spent on it.”
NEEDING ELAM AND POWELL TO SUCCEED
“Matt provides a lot for us on defense. For him to be a guy who can come from safety and then move down into nickel is really a key guy for us – he can play two positions. I was really pleased with the way he played nickel in the last ballgame,” Quinn said proudly. “He’s a good player at both spots. Sometimes with a lot of good players, the closer they get to the line of scrimmage, sometimes they get in the action. I wish I had another one. I’d play him at both spots.”
Quinn was less complimentary of Powell overall but said he believes the extra work during the bye week may have done a lot to help him going forward.
“When we got together, for him, two of the things we had were his pad level was one thing that we thought he could really improve on, and his use of the hands was something that he worked on hard in the week,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”
In addition to Powell needing to improve his game, he appeared to injure his neck/shoulder during the LSU game and did not travel with the team to Auburn. He returned to practice during the bye and is a full-go this week.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On not having caused any turnovers in the last three games: “It’s a big emphasis for us. […] Certainly some are going to come from the way we can rush the quarterback better. That’s part of it. When we play on third down. We’ve played a few good running clubs the last few weeks – teams that were committed to running. That factors in a little bit. No excuses. [We] got to get the football. It’s something we address with everybody each day, too.”
» On Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray: “He’s really a talented quarterback. […] He gets a lot of velocity on the ball; he can really get it out of his hands fast. He’s a guy that can make plays both with his arm and with his feet. You make a big emphasis on how you pass rush him, get your contain and make sure you’re pushing the pocket and things like that. He provides a real challenge for you because he is a dual-threat.”
» On the Bulldogs’ big offensive line: “Both of their tackles are big guys. Usually you have to be leery of what the offensive line is listed at as you could be plus or minus some – both in the NFL and in college. Sometimes they’re listed at 330 and that guy hasn’t been 330 in four years. They certainly have a big front, and it’s a good challenge for us.”
» On if he is excited to participate in his first Florida-Georgia game: “It’s kind of cool that there are some Gators here that can talk you through that – with Terry Jackson and Marquand Manuel. […] It’s kind of cool to be a part of it. Everybody says the build-up and the ride to the stadium and everything. Although I’ve seen it on TV, and you’ve seen the pictures of the stadium and everything, and it looks like exactly like the kind of environment that you’d want to coach in. I can’t wait.”
» On the Bulldogs stomping on the field in 2007: “I have seen that reply a number of times – on an endless loops. I’m ready to see something else.”