Ending on a Good Note

It hasn't been a great year for the Florida Gators on the gridiron. They limp into the TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl ready to redeem some pride after a 6-6 regular season. A great month of preparation according to the players and staff has them up for the game against Ohio State and freshman offensive tackle Chaz Green says he wants to send the seniors out on a good note.

The players have talked about working hard through the month of December, fighting the nasty feeling they have from the worst season in the last 32 years for a proud program that has won two national championships in the last five years.

For guys like Chaz Green, it is all about looking inward and make the individuals better in order to make the team better. Green thinks they have done the things necessary to have this game against Ohio State not duplicate the season behind them.

"There is a chance for that in every game," Green said of the offense having a breakout game. "We go into every game feeling confident and feel like we come out successful. I have to start with myself and work on my technique. You have to look yourself in the mirror. Everyone has their own individual (things) and we just have to keep improving on the game."

Despite the good feeling, there won't be many changes on offense.

"There is a lot of the same stuff," he said. "The last couple of weeks of practice have been good. We've gotten a lot of technique down and cleaned up on some areas."

Like his teammates, Green says that a win in the Gator Bowl is very important to the program by avoiding a losing season and ending on a positive note.

"It is huge," he said. "It will be good for our program to get this win. We just have to keep practicing hard these last couple of days and it will put us in a good situation.

"(A losing season) is in the back of a lot of our minds and something each man is thinking about."

He also wants to win the game for the guys that will play in their last game as Gators. On offense, quarterback John Brantley, running backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, receiver Deonte Thompson, and linemen Dan Wenger and James Wilson would also like to finish strong as a senior bunch that have had some good times in the past.

"We're trying to send those guys out the right way and am going to do what I can to make sure I play a good game," Green said. "John, Rainey, Demps, they did a lot for this program, so I want to make sure I do it the right way.

"I could have played better this year in a lot of situations. I need to make sure I put myself in a place to do that. We feel for John and all the seniors. We have had national championships and SEC Championships, we don't want to send them out that way."

It might mean more for him for his quarterback that he is given the duty to protect on Monday. John Brantley has had some rough times, but Green says the leader of the offense has been true to his team through all the adversity.

"He's a tough guy," Green said of Brantley. "He doesn't point fingers and is a true leader. He doesn't start blaming others when things go wrong and I respect him a lot. He's had reason too, so I respect him a lot."


Praising Some Gator Defense

Green was asked specifically about one senior defensive lineman that has had a good year for the Gators. Jaye Howard started off the year getting back to back SEC Defensive Linemen of the Week awards and Green knows he will be missed.

"He has had a really good year and taken on a real leadership role," he said of Howard. "His career has shot up and is a real good player now. He is a strong guy and has a good club. He's real quick and one of those guys that you know you have to get your hips down when you go to block him. He's an up-tempo guy with power."

Green also mentioned two guys that show some promise for the future for the Gators.

"A lot of guys have done better," he said. "Kedric Johnson has done a lot better this year. He is getting a lot of confidence and has noticed things the offense does to get him in position. Earl Okine improved a lot too."

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