Meyer Surprised, Thankful to Head to Tampa

Florida head coach Urban Meyer admitted there was surprise when he heard the Gators would be playing in the Outback Bowl. It's not common for a five-loss team to be in Tampa on New Year's Day. Meyer made sure to thank the Outback Bowl committee, and his team will now begin preparations for Penn State.

Q: "Were you surprised you guys ended up in such a good bowl game with the season you've had?"

A: "I'd say a little surprised. We're appreciative and surprised. I don't know how the whole system works, I'm just responsible for getting the team ready to play."

Q: "What's the update on your coaching staff?"

A: "We're still going through the evaluation status. We lost Coach McCarney to North Texas, and our graduate assistant Tony Weaver will be working with the defensive linemen in the interim. That's all the updates I have."

Q: "Will Steve Addazio be your offensive coordinator next year?"

A: "I'm expecting that to happen. I'll have further updates as we get closer to the bowl game."

Q: "Do you expect any other coaching changes?"

A: "So much happens. McCarney is the ninth guy to be a head coach. That's obviously hurt. They're great coaches and it hurts the continuity. At this point, I can't make any statement because there's so much going on with this profession."

Q: "Can you talk about the importance of rebuilding the program and how the time in the next month plays in?"

A: "'07 was probably similar with so much youth and players to be developed. To put them in competitive situations, it's basically another spring practice. However, when you have a senior class you're anxious to get rid of, you're not worried about them as much. This senior class is completely different. There's an All-American in there and a couple high-round draft picks in there. We just want to take care of them by coming together as a team."

Q: "Will we see a different offense in the bowl game?"

A: "I think you will. It doesn't matter what offense you run if you lay the ball on the ground or throw a pick. Anytime you have time like we did in the bye week, you'll see something. We're going to do anything we can to move the ball against traditionally one of the best defenses in American. You'll certainly see some changes."

Q: "What about the injuries?"

A: "Terron Sanders had an injury and a scoped shoulder. Lawrence Marsh had a torn labrum. Those are the two most recent updates."

Q: "With the expectations for teams to be dominant every year, do you have to keep your players excited to play when they have five losses?"

A: "They're true competitors. In this day and age of BCS and national championship games, it all kind of consumes everyone's appetite. There are certain players where it doesn't matter and they love the game of football. It always helps when you get an opportunity to play a school like Penn State because it's instant respect. The minute you say the words Penn State or Coach Paterno, you know you better be ready to go."

Q: "How did you guys come up with the three-quarterback system?"

A: "We were struggling. We started the season with the intent of going more traditional under center, but then we lost our fullback and tight end. We lost eight games out of our starting tailback, so we had to find a way to run the ball and be effective. We used it against Kentucky and had some success. I can't tell you what exactly we'll do in the bowl game. We're going to do the best we can to move the ball against a fine defense."

Q: "How frustrating has this season been?"

A: "I think that's a great question that I'm not prepared to answer yet. We're just busy recruiting and trying to get this senior class a bowl win. There's certainly plenty of frustration and disappointment, but that's also a part of college athletics."

Q: "How serious is Jordan Reed's concussion and is there a chance he could miss the game?"

A: "I don't believe so. He's feeling great. He looks really good. I'll update you, but as I've been told, he should be fine for the bowl game."

Q: "Why did you vote Oregon over Auburn in the Coaches Poll?"

A: "It could've been 1A and 1B. I watched that SEC game, and to say they're not the best team in America would be incorrect. I haven't watched Oregon as much. I've had Oregon ranked No. 1 for quite some time now, and unless you deserve to lose that ranking… That's no disrespect to Auburn. I just had Oregon No. 1 for a longer period of time."

Q: "What's the update on Jeff Demps?"

A: "We're hoping, like the rest of Gator Nation is. He does have a stress reaction, and he's still in a boot. He has not practiced."

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