BATON ROUGE, La. -- For the last two weeks, the big topic surrounding the Florida Gators is whether…
Q: What happened on the interception late in the game?
A: "They actually had it covered really well, the flat and the over. I saw Coop one-on-one with Jai Eugene, I was thinking Coop might have seen me and tried to stop and come back to it out of bounds, something we do sort of often. I was on a different page than him. I should have just put it up high in the air and deep to him. Should have just probably thrown it away anyway."
Q: How physical of a game was it?
A: "It was a very physical game. Those are two hard-hitting teams, strong physical players. That was a fight. We knew that. That's kind of a little bit of our edge right now is our toughness and our fight and our willingness to hit you in the mouth a little bit. It was a very physical game. It started early and often. I felt great through it all. Even from that first hit on, it just kind of got me into it and feeling good."
Q: After the first hit, did you say OK I'm good to go now?
A: "I don't think I really thought about it. I was just happy Aaron caught it, 2nd-and-2. That's what I was thinking right then. I felt good before the game and ready to go. I was just excited and ready to go and I didn't really think about the hits or anything. I was doing fine. We'd go to the sideline and coach Meyer would check up and make sure I was doing OK. I told him I was doing fine. He could see in my eyes that everything was OK too."
Q: Do you believe there is such a thing as a trap game?
A: "I think you're dealing with 18- to 22- year olds, so if you don't have a lot of good leadership and a lot of focus on your team, I think you can have letdowns. That happens all the time in college football. You have a more talented team that loses to a team that should never beat them. That happens a lot. Not that we're in one, because Arkansas could definitely beat us. They have a great team, lot of great players, a good coach. That's not a trap game. That's a competitive game in my opinion. Yes, I do believe you can have letdowns and teams can go out there not focused, not the same intensity and let up and not play like they could have."
Q: Was Ole Miss a trap game last year?
A: "I don't think we went in there mentally focused enough. We could have handled it better, you saw when it kind of got down to the fourth quarter, we started – Oh my gosh, this is really gonna happen – our team kind of changed its gear to get back and it was a little too late. That's obviously something that's very frustrating. It's been frustrating for a while. I think we could have went in there with a different mindset. Were we as focused for that game as we were for Georgia? No."
Q: As a leader after an emotional game like LSU, how do you keep it going?
A: "You start on Tuesday by showing a lot of intensity. Vs LSU, I don't have to go out there in practice with any intensity, everybody is. That's nothing new. Everybody knows. You see it's just a different environment. After emotional win like that, you're going to come back. People are going to be a little exhausted from it. As a leader, me and Spikes and the leaders have to really show how important the next week is with emotion, with getting guys going, with playing fast, with having enthusiasm in practice."
Q: Did you have to do any of the concussion test (Sunday)?
A: "I didn't have to do the computer ones and stuff. After the game, the doctors, trainers, AP (Anthony Pass) looked at me during the game. They've been checking up on me, just like any concussion. We're dealing with another one right now. Making sure everything's OK. I don't really have to do the same thing as far as the extent of the test, but they are still checking on me doing little balance tests and eye tests."
Q: Do you have to continue doing that the rest of the year or just until you are back?
A: "I honestly don't know (how long). I just do what they tell me."
Q: The way the defense is playing do you think you will play conservative or will you open it up more?
A: "I think we'll try to manage, maybe open it up a little more. But at the same time, do sort of what we do and do it well. It seems a little bit different than it has in the past, and also managing. We know it's OK if we're driving the ball down and putting our defense in a good position. Not many teams are going to drive 90 yard against our defense. We want to play great defense, we want to have zero turnovers. We want to score in the red zone and win the kicking game. That's our plan to win. If we do that, then we think we're going to win a lot of game. That doesn't say we need to make a lot of big plays and be flashy. We just have to manage. That's also a big part of my job is to manage, put us in good positions, get first downs, be very conservative with turnovers. When we have lost games, those have been the reasons. We're able to manage and don't do that, I think we'll be good to put our teams in position to win."
Q:Did an current or former NFL players or coaches give you any advice?
A: "I got to talk to a lot of people and a lot of different people. I could name a lot of people. The one person who really gave me a lot of encouragement and I talked to several time was Steve Young. He went through it a lot with concussions. He was very kind in reaching out to me and talking to me."
Q: How much was it after all the distractions to get back on the field and play?
A: "It was a big relief. It was. Once I got on the field and it all started it was just a big relief because I was out there playing. The stress of not knowing and wanting to be there to play with my team and to help my teammates. I don't have many more opportunities to play college football, to play for the Gators, so I didn't want to miss one. Once I was out there and everything was OK, the doctors said I was OK and coach Meyer said I was OK; I felt good."
Q: How would you have handled it if Urban Meyer told you that you couldn't play?
A: "I think I probably would have been myself. I would have talked to the offensive line and everybody and let them know, and talked to Brantley."
Q: You wouldn't try and change his mind?
A: "I didn't say I wouldn't have done that. I would have tried to have been as much as an encouragement to everyone else, and Brantley, as I could have possibly been."
Q: Was the concussion a humbling experience?
A: "It was humbling in a way, something that you have to be very careful with. It's your brain. That's something you have to be careful with. You don't want to have long-term effects. I want to be OK down the road for my family and everything, too, so that was something I wanted to be smart about. I heard a lot from people, just got talked to a lot, and people obviously shared their feelings about how they didn't want anything to happen to me, not push it and come back too soon and not do any real damage."
Q: Do you think now that you played your first game since the concussion that you will open the passing game back up?
A: "I think we'll still be an offense that likes to run the ball, an offense that likes to go out there and hit you in the mouth. We believe in that. We believe in setting the tone, and we've got a really good offense line and really good backs at doing that. But I think we'll open it up a little bit compared to LSU week, yeah."
Q: What were the battery of tests like?
A: "I saw a bunch of doctors. I think everyone here locally and then the ones they flew in to look at me did tests, everything from computer tests to reaction tests to eye-focusing tests to balancing tests to motion-sickness tests to probably tests I forgot I did."
Q: What did Steve Young say specifically about the situation?
A: "He was encouraging me not to push it. . . . Something big he said — and something that's kind of what I do — is You always want to go, OK, let me just go do a sprint and see how it feels. When then you're taking a little step back. He said, ‘No, just take time off and then when they say do your tests, then you're OK. Don't keep testing yourself.' That was something that, I'm a competitor, so I love to do that."
Q: What are your thoughts on the offense?
A: "I think it's a good offense. We're 5-0 and very happy with that. It doesn't matter if we score 13 points or 2 points, as long as we win the game. That's all that matters. What we're trying to do right now is win games. Manage the offense, manage the team, and win games. That's my focus."
Q: Do you want to throw the ball more to help you with the NFL?
A: "I don think that's going to hurt me. You're saying NFL, I don't think an NFL coach or a scout is going to say he did a bad job because he didn't throw, he did what he was asked. I think they'll probably look at that and say he did what he was asked to the best of his abilty and he did it OK. That's what I'm hoping they'll say. I'm not to worried if throw it 16 times or 62 times. Whatever I'm asked to do I'm going to do ti to the best of my ability and try to do it well."
Q: What do you remember and don't remember from the hit?
A: "It took a little while after the hit to start remembering and kind of clearing up. I remember a little bit of me kind of getting to the ambulance and stuff and I started remembering fully once I was in the hospital."
Q: Did it amaze you how many people felt the need to say whether you should or should not play?
A: "That's what people do. They make opinions and I don't get upset about that. Some of them are pretty funny, though. A lot of people do think they're doctors, but that's something that I really didn't try to watch too much TV and hear about it. You have enough people that are going to tell you about everything that's going on and what people are saying."
Q: Did you ever have a concussion before?
A: "I've been playing a long time so you get dinged and stuff but I've never had a concussion like this."
Q: How close do you think the offense is to improving like you did around this time last year?
A: "I think it's actually a little bit similar offensively to last year as far as us progressing and kind of hitting that peak towards the stretch so hopefully we'll keep progressing and getting that timing, getting that rhythm and getting that feel. I think that'll come, probably a little bit more this week in practice and the next few weeks."
Q: Early in the game, some of the short yardage situation play went to other guys, do you think they were being careful with you?
A: "I just had to be patient with it and trust those guys and they did a great job of getting those first downs. And when we went for it on the fourth and 2 on the reverse and I don't know if that would have changed if I was healthy the past two weeks or not. That's just something that we trusted other guys."
Q: Can you describe Emmanuel Moody's play lately?
A: "I think he's really stepping up and he's really taking a bigger role. That's something I told him I was very proud of him this game because that was the hardest I've seen him play and the hardest I've seen him run. Now he just needs to go out there and do that every week in practice and keep showing that intensity and he'll get more balls and he'll get more runs because you see how hard he ran and the first downs he got."