Post Practice Players Press Conference 2/22/2021

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We'll hear from a few players following Florida football's first practice session with full pads on Monday. They're scheduled to appear at approximately 6:50. Check here for updates.
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We'll hear from linebacker Mohamoud Diabate first.
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Diabate says it's great they're starting so early. As for the fixing the problems on defense, Diabate says they're extremely fixable and the coaches have been working hard to get them tightened up.
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He says he feels like he has the experience to be a leader on defense. He's excited for it. Said he'd be Ventrell Miller's lieutenant..
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Diabate said he came off COVID learning a new position with no spring practice. He's been a defensive end his whole life. Now, with a spring to do so, he can really learn the position. He's never covered or anything like that. Playing inside linebacker takes a lot more thinking, you need to be able to play in space and make decisions plus read defenses. Thinks he's getting better every day.
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Diabate on putting weight on: One of his main focuses. He didn't get the opportunity last spring because of COVID. He's looking to add 10 to 15 pounds.
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Diabate on the defensive staff: There won't be that many challenges because there are so many changes every year. Notes how the coaches who recruited him and Jaydon Hill weren't there when they got on campus. It's great seeing how the new defensive backs coaches are working. Very thankful to see C-Rob stay at UF.
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Diabate on early enrollee: All of them came out and attacked. Brings up Desmond Watson "working his ass off" in the weightroom and brings up several other enrollees including Jason Marshall.
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Diabate on coaches' pitch to him moving inside: Says it's more he "added" inside linebacker than move to it. The pitch to him was it creates versatility. Brings up players like Isaiah Simmons and Jeremy Chinn in the NFL. He saw it was a good idea and followed up through.
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He says Najee Harris was the best player he went against. Provided a great learning experience and learned if he can go blow for blow with him then he'll be great in the future. But, he brings up Kyle Pitts and said nobody's close to him.
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He says he able to get back the seven or eight pounds he lost during the season. Looking to keep weight going into summer so he can get even bigger. He says he's taking Desmond Watson's full plate.
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Diabate says it was great being out in pads again. Every loved it. It really brought a great energy to practice. Their one-on-one blocking provides a great way to start the practice. He loves leading off with it.
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Dameon Pierece is next up.
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Pierce on the running back depth: The more the merrier. More people to learn from and creates a better bond. Now he moves more into a leadership role.
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Pierce on really getting the run game working this season: Every year they just do what's expected of us. It comes down to trusting the coaches. Adding in Emory gives more options to run the ball. They'll see how it looks and go from there. Says the o-line is becoming a more cohesive unit. Brings up trust and communication.

What gives him all this faith is guys just reacting instead of thinking. It all comes with practice.
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Pierce on everyone playing: They all make sure they're all on the same page. It doesn't matter who is in, they need to do what's expected of them. Knox stresses that like protecting the ball and QB. Just be ready when your number's called.
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Pierce going through the running backs room: He's a north-south guy, Davis and Wright are multidimensional while Demarkcus Bowman and Lorenzo Lingard provide explosiveness.
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Pierce talking Emory Jones: "That's my guy." He's always ready for the moment. It puts a smile on Pierce's face to see him be in a position he's been working for so long. He can make all the throws, pull the ball and get in space, make a play or someone miss. He can do it all basically. The zone read can really provide more opportunity for the running backs.
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Pierce says he thinks the offense will go more back to how it was in 2018. Obviously, Jones and Trask provide different things but Jones's skillset can really allow them to play off of different things on offense. It comes down to coaches as to who will do the heavy lifting.
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Pierce on multiple running backs on the field: That's back to the 2018 offense. Something they've already done before and it's more polishing it up. He says every running back will be prepared for every situation.
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Pierce says the Gator offense in 2020 has a convincing argument for wanting to throw all the time. If they can move the ball more efficiently passing then why not? The backs are for the team and do what's required of them. Anything for the win.
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Pierce on the competition: Being one of the older guys, he's taking on a leadership. How can he get guys more comfortable, involved and knowledgeable? If they're not feeling well then it's on him. Biggest challenge for him is finally admitting he's old.
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Trey Dean is now here.
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Dean on the early enrollees: Jason Marshall's stood out the most. He's been consistent and working to be the best on and off the field.
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Dean on handcuffs on his shorts: Just having a little fun. Dean wanted to be different and start a little trend.
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Dean on now being a leader in the DB room: Coaches think he can be versatile. No matter what he's asked he''l do it to the best of his ability. McGriff brings a discipline and emphasizes winning one-on-one battles.
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Dean says he can play all positions at a high level. He'll play them at all at an extremely high level.
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Dean on turning the page from 2020: Every year you go back to the drawing board. 2021 will be a new DB corps. They want to bring that DBU swagger. It means something to be at DBU.
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Dean says the defense has a lot of speed of power. Grantham will put in the right position to make plays. Down to them to execute.
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Dean says all the receivers will surprise people. There's plenty of playmakers even with the guys who left.
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Dean says Montinar teaches the guys all different concepts plus teaching guys off the field. He mentions also Jones can throw the ball as well as Kyle Trask.
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Dean says you have to have a short memory and one play doesn't make up a whole game. It's on to the next one.
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Dean is done and so are we for the night.
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