"I think I got more physical," Cody Riggs said. "I put on some weight so I'm bigger this year. I got a lot stronger in the weight room."
Last year was up and down for Riggs. He came to campus unsure how much he would see the field, but the loss of Joe Haden at the cornerback position opposite of Janoris Jenkins left a hole. The Gators tried multiple people at the position without much success.
Riggs was thrown in and played well in coverage. The only issue came with his size when covering bigger receivers. They were able to go over him to catch the ball.
"I was a little nervous, but now I've got a lot of game experience, so I'm ready for this season," Riggs said of his freshman year.
Without being able to work on his height this offseason, he stuck to the weights. Riggs thought that if he could be tougher for bigger receivers to move off the line, it would produce better results for him and the defense.
This fall, all the Florida receivers that have talked about Riggs have referred to him as one word— pest. Now 5-9, 180 pounds, Riggs knows he has to use the lack of size to his advantage and try to annoy the opposing receiver.
"I pride myself on bothering receivers," Riggs said.
Despite an emotional game where Muschamp will coach the team he grew up rooting for, the players haven't seen much of a difference from him.
"He's still as fired up as always," Riggs said. "He is still just trying to make us better. I haven't seen too much of a different."
The game is also important to the players and the 2011 season. Florida got off to a rough start in the first game last year, squeaking out a win at home over Miami (OH). The scoreboard said 34-12, but the game was much closer than that.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Gators led just 21-12. Jeff Demps broke off a 72-yard touchdown run while Chris Rainey caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from John Brantley to give Florida a comfortable lead, but the damage was done.
It set an uncomfortable vibe to the season.
"You could tell that we didn't win it the right way," Riggs said. "We made a lot of mistakes. We still felt like we could make up for those mistakes later in the season.
"It carries over (into the season) because you start thinking of mistakes and have to let it go. We've learned from that, and we'll go from there."
Riggs had a cast on his right hand when he spoke with the media, but he wasn't concerned about it. He said he injured his thumb during blocking drills earlier in the week but that the cast would be off by Saturday's game.