Hicks' Interception Caps Off His Gator Career

Brandon Hicks

Every player on the Florida sideline has a story they'll remember from Saturday's Outback Bowl. The importance of Urban Meyer's final game on the Florida sideline made it impossible to ignore the special moments that happened when the Ahmad Black's interception clinched the game. For senior linebacker Brandon Hicks, it came through an emotional embrace with Meyer.

"We just told each other 'thank you' for everything, especially for the years he put in for me and the years I put in for him," Hicks said. "Now we're going our separate ways and wishing each other all the best in the future."

Meyer was a big reason that Brandon Hicks decided to come to Florida. It was even more meaningful for Hicks that the two went out together. Hicks was able to punctuate the win and his final game with his first career interception, which set up the go-ahead score for the Gators.

Asked about what he will remember about Meyer years from now, Hicks has a different story. He was involved on multiple special teams units, and his favorite Meyer story comes from inside the special teams portions of practice and meetings.

Meyer loves blocked punts, and it's rare to see him get more excited than after one happens. His players are sometimes shocked at how excited he gets.

"I remember every time we would get a blocked punt in practice or in a game, he would always just scream, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,'" Hicks said. "He'd go crazy. You always see it on film in the corner of the screen. There wasn't sound, but you could always see his face and you know what he was saying. It always cracked everybody up."

Fitting to Meyer's passion, the Gators sent him out with a game that they blocked a punt during.

Hicks couldn't have planned the post game locker room scene any more perfectly. The celebration with players he has spent four years with made the struggles of this season seem worth it.

"There were a lot of tears, but it was a lot of excitement in each and every player, no matter young or old," Hicks said. "We didn't have the season we wanted to have, but to finish the way we did with a win, that really capitalized it all for the seniors and Coach Meyer."

Hicks hopes the win also sent an important message to the younger players. There could be a sense of uncertainty with new head coach Will Muschamp taking over and hiring his own staff. However, the win Saturday sends the young players into an offseason with some optimism.

"The young guys can now see that we can win no matter what," Hicks said. "With a new coach coming in, they have a fresh start. They leave the season on a great note but have to come into the offseason with a great mindset that they'll continue to win."

Hicks' interception gave the Gators the lead, but senior safety Ahmad Black's interception return for a touchdown punctuated the win. Black has been close with Meyer and safeties coach Chuck Heater since getting to campus, but it's his relationships with other players that made him the leader.

"Ahmad has been great for me since we got here as freshmen," Hicks said. "In the dorms or watching film, just being around each other we built a lot of character. I want to see him on Sundays and capitalizing on everything. His leadership was great for all of us. No player on this team can say anything less than the fact that they respect Ahmad Black for everything he does."

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