Q: How are things this year as compared to last year at this time?
A: "It's just different. There's a lot of things going through my head now but I feel like I have more control over what's going on. Not only in our offense but I have a grasp of what Miami does on defense. They've done several different things to us in the past and I've gotten a chance to study not only what they did to us last year – which was completely different from what they had done in the past. Typically they play Cover 2 Man Under the previous five years and then last year they come in and run one snap of it the whole game, which was quite a change up. It was difficult for me to adapt during the game but I have had the chance to go back and watch 2002, 2003, 2004 and last year and kind of coach myself up on what I see. I am really excited to get out there and compete."
Q: What are your emotions like as you prepare for this game?
A: "I just feel confident. Last year, I was confident in my ability but I hadn't proved anything – even to myself. I knew I could do it but going out there I was still kind of a question mark. Not only to myself but to my teammates and my coaches and to the fans. Now I finally feel like I am very confident and when I run out of that tunnel it will be a lot different. I think in tern it will show on the field."
Q:Does that go back to the improved play of the offensive line in the spring and preseason?
A: "It goes back to a lot of things. The experience that I had last year. We experienced last year what some guys experience in a career – just the ups and downs that we had. I learned a lot from that. Like you said, I just have a lot of confidence in everybody around me and that's what gives me confidence. Knowing that we have players that are going to get the job done and have worked hard (and) will do whatever it takes to win."
Q: When in last year's game did you think "I didn't study for this."
A: "I think I figured it out the next day when I was studying film (laughing). It showed in my numbers. I never really figured it out, to be honest. I was out there and I didn't really know what was going on. We kind of have to adapt to them a little bit because they play man-to-man defense and not a lot of other teams do that except N.C. State and Florida so we had a lot of new plays. To be honest, I didn't know how to execute them against a zone defense, which is a lot of what they ran. That gave me fits the whole game. That's why we kept running screens left and right."
Q: Can you adapt quicker to changes now?
A: "Even by mid-season last year, I kind of got a little better at it. Towards the end of the season I could have done a much better job – teams started to rush three and drop eight. I didn't adapt to that very well. I was still trying to throw the ball down the field. A lot of the interceptions I had that was the cause of many of them. After the Florida game, it finally clicked in my head that when teams are able to just rush three guys and drop that many I can't force the ball down the field. I've got to drop it off to people like Lorenzo (Booker) and Antone (Smith) and maybe even our tight ends. Just punt the ball away and put our defense out there and go back at it. But I've come a long way."
Q: Could coaches tell you anything in last year's game to help you?
A: "They didn't want to shove too much down my throat. They realized I was already thinking so much as it was that the last thing wanted to do was have an information overload. They kind of just let me play the game. They encouraged me to protect the ball and do the best that I possibly could. They hinted at the fact that the defense was different and pointed me in the right direction. It really didn't do much help for me because I didn't know what to do."
Q: This year are you kind of expecting the unexpected?
A: "You have never seen everything. Football changes so much. Year in and year out teams go out into the 3-4 defenses and things like that. It will continue to change and you never know when a team is going to come out with a new defense that you are going to have to adapt to in a game. They have the same defensive coordinator back, which is comforting. Knowing that I can look at the past five years and see what they've done and what their capabilities are. But, you never know. They could come out and run something completely different. I am confident that I will be able to change my mindset to go along with whatever they throw at me."
Q: Was there an information overload now that you look back on last year's game?
A: "I felt like I had a good handle on what we were trying to do. On our offense, the things that I had to execute - I felt confident in that. But I wasn't confident I what was going to be thrown at me. I didn't know defense. I didn't know how to study the film like I do now. Because of that, that was probably the biggest problem. It wasn't what I had to execute necessarily (but) being able to change and understand what the defense is doing."
Q: What are your impressions of getting to play down there against them for the first time in the Orange Bowl?
A: "It's a great atmosphere to play in. It's been a dream of mine to play in since I was a kid. To run out in Gainesville, to run out in Doak and to run out in the Orange Bowl. I am finally getting a chance to do that as a starter and I am really excited about it. Their fans are awesome – especially when big games come to town. It's going to be loud. We are going to have a lot of people down there. There's been a lot of tremendous players that have played on that field and it's an honor to be able to play out there and I am looking forward to it."
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