Gators vs. Tennessee pre-game quotes

Coach Meyer: Our plan to win was to play great defense and I thought we played average defense. I was very pleased with the performance in the first half. When I talk about playing great defense, that is a team concept. The third quarter was very poor defense, but that is team defense. I was very disappointed with the way we played in the third quarter.

University of Florida head coach Urban Meyer

At the end of the year, you will see a Troy University team that has a conference player of the year at quarterback. He will be the leading passer in the history of the school. He is a young man from South Florida that I think is a tremendous player. Anytime you face a guy that can run and throw the ball it is a threat. The first half was tremendous holding them to seven points on the run that he had. But at the end of the day, Troy had 336 yards. For turnovers, I am disappointed. We had a fumble that they returned to the three-yard line. We can’t have that. If you want to compete at the level that we are getting ready to step into, you will fail to win that game. I was very pleased with the red zone. Tim (Tebow) is managing the ball very well down there. For the year, we are 14-of-14 and nine for nine on Saturday. The threat of having a quarterback that can put it away with a run is powerful. At Bowling Green and Utah we had that threat and it is hard to stop down in the red zone. We need to continue that and make sure we give these guys a chance to score when we get down there. The kicking game was one of the more dominating efforts we have had. We have a bunch of unsung heroes including Roderick Blackett, Jamaal Deveaux, and Carlos Dunlap. We had some of those young guys step up and say something to the team after the game. I am sure it is a life changing experience for some of those guys, two of which are paying their own way through school. We had one big kickoff return, one punt return and we have up zero punt returns again for the second time this year.

Champions on offense included Kestahn Moore; Bubba Caldwell before his injury; Cornelius Ingram, who had his best day as a Gator; Louis Murphy; Jarred Fayson; Percy Harvin; and Tim Tebow. Players of the game were Carlton Medder and Jim Tartt. On defense the champions were Wondy Pierre-Louis; Joe Haden. A week ago they looked like the Bad News Bears out there, but now I am really proud of them. Joe Haden is really coming along. Tony Joiner played average in the first game, but excellent on Saturday. Dustin Doe is one of the most improved players right now on the team. Earl Everett played that position last year at set the standard and Doe is trying to live up to that. It was of the first times I saw a demeanor that we expect at that position. The player of the game was Brandon Spikes, who played tremendous.

This week we play a young football team that is going to be indoctrinated by a bunch of older players and the coaching staff. I have great respect for their personnel. They are definitely a top-five personnel group there is no question. It is going to be two sledgehammers taking a swing at each other on the third Saturday at Florida, which is a good deal.

On Andre Caldwell’s status Bubba is not going to play on Saturday and that is a blow. He is as invested a player that there is, especially since I have been around. He took it very hard when the team doctor said that he can’t play this week. It is an MCL sprain. I do not know the amount of time but I will just tell you that he can’t play this week. I will keep updating you. He heals very fast and is a positive person. But he is our captain and he will be there with us at the hotel. His job is to make sure that the other guys go. Bryan Thomas will not play as well. He is making a great push and we need him back on kickoff as well. Brandon James will play. As will Jarred Fayson and Percy Harvin is about as close to 100 percent as he has been in 2007.

On wide receivers It’s a huge ridiculous ego position, and it’s not so much the player but the stuff around it, the nonsense. I think CI had one of his best games in the National Championship game where he blocked for Percy Harvin on bubbles and I think Louis Murphy is one of our better players, he’ hasn’t caught 180 balls but still. In my opinion Jamel Cornelius is one of the greatest receivers in Florida history. He’s got a national championship and his degree, he was one of the most accountable guys. So there’s a bunch of different ways that you evaluate that, some people that don’t really understand the game think it is catches. I think we’ve got good people there, I think that at any given time in a spread offense, if your mind’s not right you’re not going to be prepared to play. I’m hoping at sometime we’re close, if you do let that get in the way then someone else plays for you, but everyone wants to play.

On the success of the defensive line. I think he (Greg Mattison) is one of the best defensive line coaches in America, I don’t think I know that. That’s very easy to evaluate his development of players since I’ve known him at Notre Dame, since he’s been here he’s been about unmatched as far as development of personnel. Now, this is probably one that he’s got five days that he can work a little magic and get those cats ready to go.

On Tebow’s motion: I think if you really study the way that he threw a short pass compared to last year, he threw a dart last year. He would throw over that bend. Coach Mullen does an excellent job and I would always ask him and he’s the quarterback expert and when you throw a dart or you aim a pass you always bend that front leg and you throw the ball. You watch the way Tim threw the ball Saturday a lot of those balls were short crossing routes where a year ago he looked like he had never don’t it before. It was because he had a sore arm, he would wind up and he would snap it to a guy wide open and he would baby it to the guy, he’s not doing that anymore. His best pass of the day was a pass to CI and he came wide open in the end zone and he had to get it out. That’s where Chris Leak was really good, boom, once that opened up he could get it out. And Tim, last year, he would see it come open and try to baby it to them instead of zing it to them, he’s very much improved in that area.

On Brandon James: He’s good, he’s really good. I think I was talking to Jeremy about certain players that have it at certain positions, Jarvis Moss as a pass rusher, some of it’s taught and a lot of it’s God given. He’s got that first step, he’s got north, south vision. He changed the game against Tennessee a year ago. He had that 90 yarder, when it got called back and then he had another one where the punter tripped him and changed field position like that. The ability to be able to block a punt and have him behind us, that’s pretty lethal, we have nine guys up front right now that are like I told you, Roderick Blacket blocked a guy for nine seconds on Brandon’s 30, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that. That tells you first of all that he’s motivated and a great returner can usually motivate those guys up front. If you’re not a great returner they wonder why am I working so hard if they aren’t going to bring it back.

Tim Tebow, Sophomore, Quarterback

On Tennessee’s defense: “They are going to be one of the fastest teams we play. We will have to be sharper on our calls and just execute. They have a very athletic defense and can make a lot of plays. We have to be very balanced and everything has to be very sound. I have to put the ball right on the receivers.”

How Cornelius Ingram will help their offense: “He definitely creates mismatches because of his size, his speed, his athleticism, and how well he catches the ball. He is a phenomenal receiver and having him out there is definitely a big bonus.”

On preparing for Tennessee: “Every week you try to prepare the same way but when you get to a game like this, there is something different and special about it. The way you go out there to practice, the intensity, everything raises up another level.”

On his first start against Tennessee: “I’m really excited about it. It is my first big start, my first conference game. Having some experience by playing in last years game gives me some confidence going into it.”

Major Wright, Freshman, Safety

<>bExpectations for Tennessee game “I expect a big crowd and a very intense game. It will be very special. The players will be stronger and a lot faster.”

On his playing time as a freshman “I really didn’t know. I thought I would in special teams a lot. The coaches are preparing me very well. They are having me do the right things and are correcting my mistakes.”

Dustin Doe, Sophomore, Linebacker

On the defense “I think we are coming along great. We are taking our mistakes and we’re learning and capitalizing from them. As long as we learn from our mistakes and build upon them I think we will continue to grow.”

What is most important for Tennessee game “Preparation is our biggest deal. Everybody can run fast and hit hard, but the most prepared team will be successful.”

Thoughts on Tennessee game “These are the type of games that count for the University of Florida. These big games we play against big time players. I feel that is how you make yourself and establish your reputation.”