2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl

University of Florida Team Arrival

December 27, 2012

Will Muschamp, University of Florida Head Coach

Opening statement...

"On behalf of the University of Florida, [University President] Dr. Bernie Machen, [Athletics Director] Jeremy Foley and our football program, we are really honored to be back in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. Special thanks to Paul Hoolahan and Jeff Hundley for extending the invitation. I am really honored to be back in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. Of course, New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl are great memories for the University of Florida - the 1996 national championship game and a lot of other great games. A great personal memory for me was the 2003 national championship game when I was the defensive coordinator at LSU. It's a lot of fun to be here, and we're excited as we move forward. We've had good preparation in Gainesville with our team primarily getting most of the game plan in. We've just got to refine some things as we move through the week. We'll have our normal game week starting with practice today so we're looking forward to that.

"Injury update: Jelani Jenkins and Ian Silberman both had postseason surgeries, so they'll be out. I think I said that in Gainesville, but I wanted to make sure we hit on that. Matt Patchan and [De'Ante] Pop Saunders are both transferring. I really appreciate their time at Florida, and we wish them the best.

We had probably our best semester academically since I've been at Florida. We had 39 players with over a 3.0. Ten true freshmen in their first semesters, fall semesters, had over a 3.0. Five of them played, five of them redshirted. Raphael Andrades, Jon Bullard, Dante Fowler, Antonio Morrison and Kent Taylor all played and had 3.0s. So that's outstanding. Skyler Mornhinweg, Colin Thompson, Quinteze Williams, Austin Hardin and Alex McCalister redshirted. Just an outstanding job academically by Dr. Keith Carodine and our staff. Three guys had 4.0s: Jon Bostic, our starting middle linebacker, Frankie Hammond and Timmy Clark. I'm really proud of our accomplishments off the field, in the classroom.

"Beginning our prep for Louisville, I've got a lot of respect for [Louisville head coach] Charlie Strong. For me, it all starts with [Louisville quarterback] Teddy Bridgewater. The guy's an outstanding player. He's the No. 1 efficiency passer in the country. He threw for over 3,000 yards, close to 30 touchdowns, and is completing right at 70 percent of his passes. They have a very talented corps of receivers in [Deon] Rogers and [DeVante] Parker. Those guys are all talented guys that can do some different things. [Damian] Copeland leads them in receptions. They're very fast on defense, they run extremely well. Marcus Smith is an explosive rusher and a guy they use a lot of different ways. Charlie's track record as a defensive coordinator speaks for itself.

"We've got our work cut out for us, but very pleased with our preparation to this point. Now we've got to find some things for the game here on January 2nd.

On Charlie Strong's relationship with the Florida players...

"It's been three years since he was here and I'm not sure if it really helps him at all. Obviously, recruiting players helps him build relationships, but it's been a long time since he was here. Jon Bostic, for example, was recruited by Charlie but that was three years ago and Jon has changed a lot as a player. His strength and playing ability has significantly improved. So I don't know if the relationship helps at all."

On the two Florida players leaving the program...

"I think both guys just needed a fresh start given their situations."

On keeping players out of trouble...

"It's a continual education and stressing to the players everyday about making good choices. Everyone makes bad decisions here and there, but these are good kids. It's also about recruiting the right kind of guys and understanding the standard of excellence at the University of Florida on and off the field."

On his favorite moment of winning the National Championship in 2003...

"Winning the game was the most important moment, but also having a really dominant performance on the defensive end. To win the game on defense late in the game is huge to me."

On the importance of winning this game...

"It's absolutely critical. We are trying to become just the sixth team in Florida history to reach 12 wins, which is huge considering how successful this program has been. It's also an opportunity to finish the season ranked in the Top-5, possibly No. 3. These things are important to our program as we continue to move forward. This is a one-game season. We haven't played in a long time but there's a lot of motivation to play well in this game since it's a BCS game. We have a special team, and they deserve a special night. We want to send them out the right way and that can only be done with a win."

 

Jeff Driskel, Quarterback, University of Florida

On what having a 12-win season means to him...
"It means a ton. It goes back to the offseason. We didn't have a season that Florida expects year in and year out, so we kind of took that to heart in the offseason. We trained hard, we practiced hard and we really came together. It's kind of cool to see all the hard work in the offseason pay off during the season."

On Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater... 

"I didn't watch any film on him. I've seen him throughout the year on highlights and games that I've caught. But I haven't really watched any film. I know him from high school, so I know he's a good player, and we're going to have to play well to stop him."

On whether the LSU game gave the team a jump start to the season... 

"I think Texas A&M on the road was really the key game that got us going. That's a big game early in the year on the road. I think more of the Texas A&M game got us going and has carried us this far."

On what stands out from Louisville's defense...
"They have good [defensive backs]. Their DBs make good plays on the ball. [Louisville corner back Adrian] Bushell has like 12 pass break-ups this year, which is insane. We're going to have to get open and we're going to have to make clean throws against these guys, so we're excited for the challenge."

On the chance to win a bowl as a starter...  

"I'm excited. It's on a national stage, one of the biggest games of the year. We're excited to play a good Louisville team, and we're excited to enjoy New Orleans, as well."

On the Sugar Bowl being a benchmark win for the season... 

"We're honored to be in the game. We're honored to be in the Sugar Bowl, so we're going to practice well and we're going to prepare well so we can play well when the game rolls around."

 Jon Bostic, Middle Linebacker, University of Florida

On playing in the final game of his college career...

"You never want this to be your last game but playing in the Sugar Bowl is a great way to end a career. It would be great to go out on a good note. A lot of people say ‘I want to hurry up and get out of here, and move on to what's next,' but at the same time it's great being on the field and in the locker room with the guys I grew up with."

On how this trip to the Sugar Bowl is different from his freshman year...

"It's much different. My freshman year I wasn't playing much, but now I am much more of a contributor and it feels good to play."

On the team staying out of trouble...

"Our guys have been smart all year. We work together to have each other's back and stay out of trouble. We all make sure that we are always going in the right direction."

On De'Ante Saunders leaving the program...

"He's one of our brothers and it's tough to see him leave the program. Though at the same time, this might be what's best for him personally."

On Louisville head coach Charlie Strong...

"He's the kind of guy that will get after you right away and push you to do the right thing. He's the main guy who recruited me to come to Florida. I've had a good relationship with him ever since high school. A lot of coaches try to sell the program when they are recruiting, but he really wanted to form a relationship with me and be more than just a coach. "I knew wherever Charlie went he was going to have success. It was just a matter of time before somebody gave him a chance after all the great things he has done."

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