Catching Up with Keiwan Ratliff

[MEDIA:32872] caught up with Keiwan Ratliff for this exclusive interview. Highlights include Keiwan discussing the adjustment to being a Wide Receiver, the challenge of being a two-way player, his plans for this off-season and his take on next year's sqauad. Plus much more!

Keiwan Ratliff was a second team All-Sec corner a year ago for UF. He Started all 12 games and played in 901 snaps. That was the second most number of plays on defense for the Gators. He had 52 tackles, 9 passes defended and an interception for a touchdown versus Kentucky. But what electrifies the crowd most is when the ball is in his hands on punt returns. He had a couple of long runs that were called back last year yet he managed to be one of the Sec's best at 11.5 yards per return. Ron Zook decided to find a way to get his most "electric" player the ball by having him spend the spring at wide receiver. I had a chance to catch up with Ratliff for this one on one.

Q: Is jersey number #1 a receiver number or a defensive back number? 
A: It's a multidimensional number, I mean you could do anything in number one, linebacker, quarterback defensive end, I mean its one of those numbers every player want. I mean everything begins with the number one.

Q:  Are you surprised by your success at receiver? 
A: A little because I feel rusty and the older guys such as Carlos and Kelvin who we came in together and try to duplicate their routes. I am a pretty hard critic on myself and I don't look at myself as "the guy" just yet.

Q: Did they tell you that you were going to play inside receiver when they made the move? 
A: No that was a surprise to me that they would put me in the slot with those linebackers and safeties.

Q:  Were you nervous? 
A: At first I was a little hesitant, taking hits and so forth but you know it is easier to get open inside. I just try to help the team.

Q: If things go well you could play both ways, are you ready?
A: First of all you have to be ready mentally to go for a full game. If your mind is not into it and your thinking negatively or that you are going to get tired then you will not succeed. You have to stay focused and be prepared.

Q: What about the physical aspect of 100 snaps?
A: You have to train till you cannot train anymore in the off season. I mean when your tired you still have to go out and push yourself. Run more routes, cover the receivers some more on off days. I have to push myself twice as hard as the next guy.

Q: Is Coach Glass ready for you?
A: I told Coach that he has me all day every day after class this summer. I feel Coach Glass is one of the best in the country, if he can't get me right no one can.

Q: Can you develop into a leader at receiver?
A: We have some veteran guys there and they do a good job. I am a team leader and will accept any role as a leader on offense. I am still learning and Kight and Perez are leaders to me. Right now I am not an offensive leader just a team leader.

Q: Did High School prepare you for this?
A: Yes because Coach Gordon (who was a grad assistant at UF in 1991-1993) ran Coach Spurrier's offense, so I got to catch a lot of balls and make myself ready for the next level. He told me to be open minded when I came here to be ready to play offense or defense. I really wanted to play offense in college and that is one reason why I came here.

Q: Are you excited for the fall?
A: Yes but their is a lot of work to be done. We want to win and we know the fans want us to win so we just have to work real hard this summer.

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