Elam Released Anger Against OSU

Maybe anger isn't the correct word, but Florida sophomore safety Matt Elam had a lot on his mind in the month leading up to the Gator Bowl win over Ohio State. The Gators star was part of a defense that played extremely well against Florida State only to see his team lose. Then his father passed away during the month making things extremely difficult.

Matt Elam has had better months, but he was proud of his team in Jacksonville and said the strong play of the team helped him release some things inside a bit.

"A lot of anger," he implied was released during the game. "It was a great feeling to be on the field after a month and losing to Florida State. There were a lot of things going on through the break. It was good to release the anger and play."

For the most part the Florida defense played well in 2011. On Saturday they were poised with the task of keeping Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller in check. They did that to the tune of six sacks and holding the Buckeyes to one touchdown until the final minute of the game. Elam gave a lot of the credit to his boys up front.

"That was thing the coach talked about all week, stopping the quarterback from running," he said. "We needed pressure and did our jobs. It was all the defensive line play, they helped us out a lot. The quarterback couldn't get moving. When he gets to the second level he is dangerous and we didn't let him get to the second level."

The team was told a lot that the physical play of the Big Ten would be too much for this young unit. Elam said he and his boys took that to heart.

"Coach Muschamp was talking about it all week, how they were bigger and stronger and will out physical us," Elam said. "I feel like we handled that well. We got tired of hearing it from Coach Muschamp all week, so we handled our business.

"I feel like we showed them we can compete with them as far as strength and stuff and feel like we did great."

Elam has been a ball hawking safety and plays the game in the box trying to always get into the action. He has probably been the defense's best player all year and is a great tackler when the ball comes his way. As much as he likes to patrol the secondary, Elam says he loves to be in the gheat of battle and close to the line of scrimmage.

"I love to be in the deep part of the field, but I will do whatever I have to do to help our team win," he said before kind of switching it up a bit. "I think I like being close to the line more because I am close to the ball and stop them from making big plays."

The sophomore will now move on to being an upperclassman and will undoubtedly be asked to help lead this defense and the team as a whole. He understands there are things he needs to work on. "My leadership skills," he said. "It is work being more vocal and making others better that are next to me. There is a lot on my shoulders because I am an upperclassman now and not young anymore. That is all over now and I need to help the players around me now so we can be a great team."

Elam said the win is something this team will use a great deal to make next year a much better one.

"It is great momentum for next year," he said. "We are young and have a stepping stone for a new year and expect big things."

Fightin Gators Top Stories