Highlights from Meyer and Nutt SEC conference

Coaches Urban Meyer and Houston Nutt talked about the upcoming SEC title game. Here’s a partial transcript and a link to an audio file of the conference.


Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt

On participating in the SEC Championship Game

“We’re very excited to be coming to Atlanta for the SEC Championship game, representing the west side. We know we’re playing a very good team in Florida, and we’re looking forward to starting practice this week. We’re just ready to go to Atlanta.”

On preparing his team after a long season

“This is the time of year where it’ all about mental preparation. Our guys are beat up, but we’ll be ready to go. I have a feeling they’re going to give it everything they have. We knew when we had our first team meeting that one of our goals was to get here and be able to play for the SEC Championship.”

On playing in the SEC Championship Game after having some down seasons

“It’s a great feeling. It took the players and the coaching staff. In my book this is the toughest conference in America, and it took a group of seniors to step up. We started out with a loss, and came back and won 10 straight games. It really took that group of seniors, all 19 of them, to step up and lead us to this point.”

On preparing for Florida’s defense

“We’ve got to do a better job of creating separation. We’ve got to do a better job of throwing the ball. I think our receivers know that and realize that they’re going to be going against some very good DB’s. If you look at the stats, you see that we don’t really throw that much, but we’ve got to work on that.”

On Florida’s offense

“They are a big-play team. They’ve got some great receivers and Chris Leak has a lot of weapons. Then you bring in Tebow, who is one of the strongest runners I’ve seen as a freshman. All-in-all they’ve just got a lot of weapons that they can hit you with.”

On creating new formations and looks on offense

“We try to come up with something a little different each week. I think one of the things that helped us with LSU is that we had a couple of different formations and a couple of different looks. One of the things we try to do is to figure out different ways to get McFadden the ball. We have other guys that we go to as well to try to create some opportunities for him. We do try to add one new thing each week.”

On Florida and LSU’s defenses

“There’s not a lot of difference between the two. They’re both so talented and so quick. They can run. I think the reason that those teams have had success is because of their defense. They have some very good offensive weapons, but if you look at their defensive front and secondary, you’ll see why they’re so good.”

On winning the SEC Championship Game

“It’d be really huge. That’s one of the things I really want to do. I’ve been wanting to hand Coach Broyles, our Athletic Director, this trophy for a long time. Our league is so tough and it’s so hard to get to this point, and now that we’re here, I want to be able to give this hand this trophy to him.”

On Felix Jones’ affect on Darren McFadden

“I think that Felix Jones has really helped Darren in so many ways. You have to respect Felix, because he’s so explosive. They’ve just done a great job of complimenting each other, which really keeps the defenses off balance. They’re great players and great friends, and they’re both unselfish.”

Florida head coach Urban Meyer

On playing in the SEC Championship Game for the first time since 2000

“That was a big priority for the University of Florida for our players and fans. We were fortunate enough to play in the first five SEC Championship games in the nineties. We’ve had a bit of a dry spell, but we’re excited to be going back to Atlanta.”

On preparing for Arkansas

“You have to stop the run, obviously and force them to throw the ball. It’s very difficult to defend that.”

On Arkansas

“I didn’t know too much about Arkansas at first, coming from Utah. I first really noticed them last year when we had a bye-week and were getting ready to play Georgia. I was impressed with them then. They’re a very good team and they’re very well coached.”

On the BCS rankings this year

“I think the BCS has done the best they can in a very difficult position. I wasn’t here a few years ago, when Auburn was left out. I will say this; I always wonder when people try to compare our league to other leagues. I’ve coached in other leagues against a lot of other teams and there’s no finer league than the Southeastern Conference.”

On facing Arkansas for the first time, rather than a rematch with another western-division team

“I think it’s an advantage for both of us. It’s hard for a team to beat another one two times in one year. I think it’s good for the SEC that we’ll be playing each other for the first time.”

On how the team is playing

“I don’t think we’re playing at our best. I think at times we’ve played very well. We’ve had some excellent quarters, but at this time we have not put a complete game together. I’m anxious for that to happen.”

On Chris Leak’s improvement

“So much of playing quarterback, in our opinion, is that you’re the manager. Chris came to me and made some suggestions, which he’s never done before. I think he’s playing very, very well right now.”

On Darren McFadden and Felix Jones

“I just finished watching their kicking return in games. The guy that always gets overlooked is number 25 (Felix Jones). He’s a great returner, and he does a good job as a blocker too. He’s one of those guys that you look for when you’re recruiting. McFadden’s a very good running back as well, and those two are very dangerous.”

On hiring a high school coach as an Offensive Coordinator in the SEC

“I remember when it happened, very well. We were really involved with that coach’s program, because we recruited a lot of his players. I don’t think there was much shock when he was hired by Arkansas. We knew his players and his program, and we thought it was going to happen a month before it did.”

On Darren McFadden

“I’ve heard a lot about him. I’ve heard his coach talk about him on the conference calls. I’ve heard he’s a very special guy, and very unselfish too. He and Felix Jones are both so good, and they compliment each other so well. Hearing Coach Nutt talk about him is like hearing Tommy Tuberville talk about when he had Cadillac (Carnell Williams) and Ronnie (Brown). Those were two running backs that led their team to the SEC Championship a few years ago.”