Practice Makes Perfect

Gainesville (FL) - Confidence seems to be the key to a lot of the questions that sophomore safety Matt Elam answered for the Florida media on Wednesday. After coming off of one of his better games verses Kentucky, Elam seems ready for whatever challenges Alabama brings his way in one of the most anticipated games for the Gators in quite a while.

"I feel like the secondary's confidence is getting better every week," Matt Elam said. "We practice and compete every week against some of the best receivers in the SEC."

Scrimmages and practice undoubtedly help players prepare for game day circumstances. The Florida staff has made it a point to try and make practice as hard as they can. Practicing against the athletic receivers he sees every day in Gainesville makes game situations less of a rude awakening for the defense.

"It makes it easier in the game," Elam said. "(It's) harder in practice, but easier in the game."

Through these scrimmages and practice, Elam believes that the secondary has become stronger. He says that the strength of the secondary comes from their speed and athleticism. Hopefully both of these factors will help the defense demand turnovers and help keep the ball in the offense's hand.

"That's why the defense plays the game… to create turnovers, and to get the ball to the offense as much as possible," Elam said. " Turnovers are most important in the game. I think whoever gets the most turnovers wins the game."

Florida is ranked seventh in the SEC in turnover margin with the same number of fumbles and interceptions gained (4) as lost while Alabama is ranked ninth with six gained and seven lost. If Florida can manage to continue the turnover trend, this will put the Gators in the upright spot. In order to do this, Elam believes they must stop Alabama's receivers.

"They have very quick and fast receivers that you have to try and get on the ground." Elam said. "They are very elusive."

Florida has been great at stopping the run on defense and Elam is a big part of that success. The Gators rank third in conference and fifth nationally giving up just 56.5 yards per game. They should be ready for the best that Alabama has to offer.

"We still have a lot of work (to do), you can always get better every day," he said. "We still have to get better at tackling and wrapping up because playing against those running backs in the SEC, you have to wrap them up because they are not easy to bring down. We just have to continue to get better. "

Along with always having room for improvement, Elam believes going out on the field knowing what you do and doing it to the best of your ability will put the Gators on top.

"You can't back off," Elam said. "When you back off is when you get beat, so you have to stay aggressive and just play our game."


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