Watch & Read: ‘They battled’

Press Conference

by Inside the Gators Staff
0 comment

Please Read: Welcome to the new-look Inside the Gators


Opening statement

“I have a lot of respect for the players in that locker room. I’ve got a ton of respect. I’m proud of that group. I think we showed some resiliency tonight. And, look, you know it’s a challenge to be prepared to play physically, mentally, and emotionally when you come up short a couple weeks in a row. To have the team ready to play, I have to compliment the leadership. I talked to the team Friday about, leaders on a team — the best leaders — make the other people around them better. They raise their level of play. They’re really good teammates. They’re invested in the other people in the organization. Ultimately, they make everyone around them better. I think we had some guys that did a really good job in a tough week. A tough couple of weeks here being consistent in their example, the words, the actions and certainly having them ready to play. I think defensively in particular we bounced back and played a good half of football to start the game. We’re going to see when we watch the tape, we’re going to see that there’s opportunities, things we could have done better as a staff, and certainly opportunities for players to make plays. But they battled. I know what’s inside those kids in there. I’m proud of that. Credit to Missouri. I think the game ultimately came down to a couple of turnovers. Certainly, a heck of a drive by a veteran quarterback there to end the game.”

On the injury to Graham Mertz

“Graham has a nondisplaced fracture of the collarbone. So, he’ll be out for a little bit. Probably, we’ll have more information whether it’s surgical or not. I think right now the belief is that it may not be. We’ll need to get more images before we make that decision.”

On whether the injury will keep Mertz out next week

“We’ll see. I’ll let you know Monday. I don’t want to speak on something when I don’t have 100-percent of the facts. I just know that he’s unavailable. We think it’s a pretty significant injury. I can give you a more specific timeline Monday. Give Max some credit. Max settled in there a little bit and made a few plays. Obviously, he’s a good athlete and we were able to use his legs a little bit in the read game. He made some throws, as well. Max has worked hard. I can’t talk enough about how much improvement since the first day he got there. And he’s a competitor. I think ultimately he showed that.”

On Missouri’s late fourth-down conversion

“We were in weak rotation. We’ve got multiple players in the area and we’ve got four rushing and he found the soft spot in the zone there. Those are things, we’ll look back at a number of plays in this game and we’ll say, we could have done a little bit better. We had our opportunities for sure.”

On the team’s mood following Mertz’s exit

“First off, what a play. What a play. What a competitor. If Gator Nation doesn’t respect Graham Mertz, OK, after watching him compete this year, then we’ve got a problem. This kid has been everything you would want from a teammate, example, leader, work ethic, motivator, game day just put it on the line. That play in particular was a pretty special play. Did you see our sideline when that happened? I’m having to get them off the field. Again, you can’t compliment the kids enough. Didn’t tuck their tails and run away. Nobody ran and hid. Let’s put the backup in and let’s go. Ultimately, we found a way to generate two more possessions, 10 more points after that. That’s what I’m getting at. I know the scoreboard; our record is not what we all know Florida football should be. But I know what’s in there and I think they’ve shown that pretty consistently. Gotta believe there’s some good comes from it. But right now, we got a bunch of kids that are hurting – hurting in here. There’s a lot of guys who played their butt off out there tonight.”

On the message to the defense after coming up short

“That’s what you’re doing. Ultimately, you’re coaching a bunch of guys that had zero experience prior to this year. That’s what it is. I think we’re teaching football while we’re competing at a high level. I just think you’ve got to continue to compete. I mean, ultimately, we know what the issues are. I mean, whether it’s communication, alignment, eye discipline, fundamentals. You know, we know what the issues are. We just ultimately got a bunch of guys out there that are playing college football, it’s the first time they’ve done it. So, we’re not going to give them excuses, right? We’re going to keep coaching them hard, keep giving them feedback. We have to all take ownership of this, right? It’s my leadership, it’s my organization in terms of everything that we do. It’s our defensive staff, it’s each position coach. I mean, everybody contributes to what we see out there. I know we’re all quick to zero in on very specific things, but I think it’s what makes it a great game, is it requires a team effort to play.”


On his mindset after the Graham Mertz injury

“Graham’s a warrior so just being behind him and seeing at practice following him around and seeing him compete, I think that really made me keep that one-play mentality and just always being ready for it. I think he’s done a great job and been a great leader throughout the whole season so I think he’s really helped me prepare for this moment.”

On his emotions

“You’re one play away. You’re always one play away. You’ve got to stay ready. You’ve got to be ready. So just being able to actually feel it and take a deep breath and say, ‘Let’s go out here and ball,’ that was the mentality.”

On building confidence heading into next week

“It builds confidence. I think going out there when you get any type of reps and going out there and playing actual live football, it gives you confidence. Going out there, playing, it’s just football at the end of the day.”

On bouncing back after the turnover

“My team did a great job having my back. The defense was coming over to me and telling me, ‘We got your back, we’re ready to go. We’re going to get you the ball right back.’ So I think that ended up giving me confidence to go out there and perform. They did a great job being able to give me opportunities to go into the game and make plays.”

On the read option play to Trevor Etienne

“That’s my dawg, man, so being able to see seven run into the end zone like that is big time. It’s something we’ve talked about for sure.”

On the fourth-quarter fumble

“It’s 100 percent on me. I got to be better mechanically. I got to be able to extend the ball and be able to not put the ball in jeopardy so that’s 100 percent on me.”

On his fourth-down conversion pass

“Being able to have faith in your receivers, I think that’s big, especially on fourth down. When you look out there and you’re like, ‘Who am I going to throw it to,’ I got faith in all four of these guys and that’s a big breath of fresh air. Like I can throw it to all four of these guys right here. I think being able to pick from any of the four calmed me down and allowed me to deliver.”

On his mentality and what he learned about himself

“I think I have to give a lot of credit to my family to be able to give me the confidence to have that one-play mentality. My dad is always texting me before the game, you’re one play away. It’s one thing to know it but it’s another to actually be ready for it. I think going into each week you prepare as a starter so I don’t think it really changes much.”

Video courtesy GatorVision | Transcripts courtesy Florida Sports Information

Go to discussion...

Related Articles


Leave a comment

Please log in to your forum account to comment

Community platform by XenForo® © 2010-2022 XenForo Ltd. Style and add-ons by ThemeHouse