12/31: Urban Meyer’s final Outback Bowl presser

By Adam Silverstein
December 31, 2010

The Florida Gators are currently in Tampa, FL, preparing for the 2011 Outback Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. Below are quotes from head coach Urban Meyer, who participated in his final press conference before the event.

Opening statement: “It’s good to be here. Not much to say other than we’ve had excellent practices. I like the attitude of our players. We are obliged to the Outback Bowl to play our best. I feel that we amongst our teams we have to have a great day of preparation and get ready to go play a major January 1st bowl game. We’re excited about it.”

On how he will feel after the game: “I would rather just worry about the game. I always talk to our players about focus and four to six seconds. It wouldn’t be right for me to also start talking about what’s going to happen after. I would be lying to you to say it hasn’t crossed my mind but I also would be lying to you saying it has been consuming me, because it’s not. I got up early this morning and watched practice film, make about four pages of notes, and I’m going to meet with the coaches afterwards about how to go win this game. With all due respect, from this point forward, just complete focus on beating a very physical Penn State team.”

On a message for Gators fans: “We made a decision as a family to stay at Florida and that’s for a lot of reasons. I think it’s the greatest job in America. I’ve got the best bosses in America and we have fans, I call them Gator Nuts, and they are; they’re out of their mind. But that’s what makes Florida so appealing and that’s what makes it so fun to go to practice. I made a comment every first day of spring practice I was concerned there was an unemployment issue in Gainesville because they’re all at our practice. I’ve also coached at places where you had to go out and ride the rail system at six o’clock in the morning with a mascot trying to sell tickets, so I’ve done that at a couple places. Very appreciative. I love Florida; I just love what it stands for.”

Read the rest…including updates on Demps and Brantley…after the break!

On junior running back Jeff Demps’s status: “He’s good. For those of you that know Jeff Demps as a person it’s been frustration. You just feel sorry for the guy because there’s not a guy that prepares for a season harder than Jeff Demps and there’s not a guy that we needed more on the team than Jeff Demps. What turned out to be a sprained foot and he kept trying, and kept trying, and it turned into a stress reaction. That was a tough injury. He’s practiced, the first time he’s practiced in eight weeks, nine weeks, maybe 10 weeks. We just try to save his to get those 10 carries or five carries in a game. Jeff needs to practice and he’d be the first one to tell you, so he’s ready to go.”

On his team performing in his final game: “We had senior tackle yesterday; it was excellent. I think the older players will play like there’s no tomorrow, and I’m hoping the younger players will carry the torch and follow. I think the [Justin] Trattou‘s of the world and A.J. Joneses and those guys will play because they’re the invested group.”

On Penn State head coach Joe Paterno: “I’ve said that thousands of times and I don’t mind saying it again because I love the man. I consider him one of my closest friends and allies in this game of college football. You just get tired of hearing about the bad. Joe Paterno is about the good. There’s a time in life you just like to talk about the good. When you talk about good in college football, Joe Paterno’s name is at the top of the list.”

On Florida following the plan to win: “Once the foot hits the ball, it’s college football. If they follow the plan, and we coach the plan, and we get them to play, we’ll have the chance to win. If we don’t, we’ll fail. We’ve failed often this year, not so much if you want to blame players, blame coaches, it’s the first time in 10 years we have not followed the plan to win. And there’s one person responsible for that – and that’s me.”

On why the team did not perform up to standards in 2010: “You take the personnel, the injury issues, the staff transitions…I could give you a list of excuses, reasons why performance wasn’t up to our expectations. It was a different group. There was a void in there when that NFL thing… Boy oh boy was that hard to plan for. When that happens, bang, you’re caught with a void.”

On a message to his players: “Well they meant my life. I use the word ‘love’ quite often; I’ve been criticized about that, but I don’t mind saying that because I do. When you spend more time with players than you do your family, you develop that kind of relationship. I always tell our players that the coach-player relationship, when done correctly, is second to only your family. When it’s done incorrectly it’s awful. When it’s done correctly, and that means you’re going to spend ridiculous amounts of time together, and I’m talking about eight hours a day together sometimes. Think about when is the last time you’ve spent eight hours with your son or your daughter. I mean eight hours a day having discussions with your players. So if it’s done correctly it’s the finest.”

On redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley preparing for the game: “It’s been good. One thing about Johnny is that he’s a professional. I think a lot of times microphones get stuck in young people’s faces and what do you think, what do you think, what do you think, and that’s a national story or big-time story. Johnny’s going to do the best he can to help Florida win a bowl game against Penn State.”

On Brantley as the team’s starting quarterback: “I think people forgot that it’s 18, 19, 20 year old kids playing college football with a lot on the line. They made a big deal about that kicker at Boise State. We’ve all been there. Chas Henry, who is the finest punter in college football, had a couple of bad days. But you can’t complain. They picked to go play at a place like Florida and I picked to go coach. Johnny Brantley decided to come to Florida and play football. With playing quarterback that’s like a pitcher with the New York Yankees. You had better be really good every day and not have a bad day. Unfortunately that’s rare. I think he’s handled it about as well as you can. He’s a classy guy. He’s handled it very well.”

On if he has talked Brantley into staying: “No. First of all, he’s not asked my opinion. I’m one of those guys opinions are not given unless asked. At the appropriate time I think we probably will sit down, I’m not sure. I keep hearing about ‘the system.’ If that’s important to him, he better find out the system. Whatever it is will be.”

One Comment

  1. John S says:

    Very nice comments. He’s a good guy.

    Good luck Urban, thanks for everything.

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