FOOTBALL: Brandon Siler is going to be a good one

Brandon Siler made his debut for the Gators against Eastern Michigan. The true freshman was horded by the press after practice today because of a player media rule the UAA has. True freshmen are not allowed to be interviewed by the press until they at least played in one game. The Gators had 8 freshmen play and the media went after Siler. See how he handled it and more, including Coach Zook's quotes.

You can tell Siler is different just by the way he attacked the media and not the other way around. He answered every question thoroughly and provided a great deal of humor and insight throughout the process. He plays the same way on the field.

He was asked about the biggest difference going from high school player to a college player. "The preparation for it, you see a lot of film after practice and they (the coaches) see every step you make. I'm just not that used to it. (The game) is way faster, and with the crowd, you really can't hear so the signals are important, where as in high school you can just yell it out."

How was his first time running through the tunnel representing the orange and blue crowd that was yelling at the team's arrival? "It was a rush. When you come out of that tunnel it was something else, you can't explain it." Was he nervous out there? "Not so much nervous, but definitely some butterflies. I didn't know what to expect. All the guys around me they tried to ease me and make sure I was calm when I hit the field." What about playing out there in front of everyone? "When the ball is snapped I just kind of blink all of the crowd out. You can't really hear as much, but as far as the shouting, I never really hear it."

The comparisons to Channing Crowder are already starting to happen. He runs as well, but isn't quite as aggressive. Still he was plenty aggressive for the first game. "I feel honored to be compared to Crowder; I mean I know I have to step up a whole bunch from here to next year to be able to do the things that Crowder is doing this year." Crowder quipped that Siler is already better looking, "I'm definitely better looking."

So is he growing comfortable out there in his new environment and playing at a new level? "I really do think so. The more times that you hit the field the more comfortable you get. I'm still doing a lot of thinking between plays. I'm doing a lot the night before to prepare for it. I think the more that I play the more calm I will be." He knew he would play a lot when he showed up here, but how much? "I really didn't know what to expect. I was just doing everything I can to get on the field. It wasn't about how fast I could get out there, I was just playing hard." Coach Zook told him he would have a chance early and often this year. "He said I will have a chance to get on the field early. I busted my butt to try and be everything I can be out there."

Brandon was supposed to get to start vs. Middle Tennessee in the first week due to the suspensions. Was there any anxiety? "That was real exciting, to get a chance to start the first time out." But he wasn't disappointed about the way things happened. "Being a back-up the first game, I really think that helped me more than going out there and starting. I got the feel for it on the sideline, I got the feel for it from the crowd. The butterflies kind of calmed down."

He spoke briefly about what the Gators expect from the Tennessee offensive game plan. "We made an emphasis period to stop the run. Whether it's Tennessee or Eastern Michigan, we want to stop the run. I'm not anticipating them running it up our gut the whole game. Teams want to establish the running game and that's what we want to stop.

He already knows Tennessee freshman quarterback Brent Schaeffer. "I played in the Cali/Florida all-star game vs. Schaefer and he's a real cool guy. He's definitely a quick one."

He intimated that he had a 4.0 grade point average in high school and is carrying it over to college. "I did and I'm trying to keep that in college. I have 17 credit hours, I'm tying to get stuff done. I don't want to sit around here forever." His intended major? "International business, business is one of my main priorities I haven't ventured too far into it as to what kind." A reporter quizzed him about his jersey number (#40) and its relation to his G.P.A. "That was a nice observation (smiles), but that isn't the reason for the number."

He loves his teammates and was asked specifically about Javier Estopinan. "It's a real good vibe between me and Javier. Both of us are smart kids, his grade point average is up there too. In the film room, he is jumping on stuff as I am jumping on stuff. We pick it up pretty fast and help each other. We go study at the house together. Channing takes and sits both of us down and takes us through video, so that's real good."

Brandon Siler will have to find a way to get on the field this year. The way he approaches everything, I see it happening sooner than later. He is going to be a special player for the Gators and a menace to opposing offenses.

Zook post practice questions and answers

On Ciatrick Fason's role as the number one running back:

I think DeShawn has worked hard. I think overall that Ciatrick gives 100% every day. DeShawn knows he can be just as good a back as anyone we have had here also. He's not in the doghouse. He knows he is going to get his carries, he's going to get his plays, Ciatrick just deserves to be in there right now.

On the idea of redshirting Markus Manson:

Possibly, but it is still too early to tell.

On throwing the ball in bad weather:

Rex loved it . Chris he loves it. Maybe it is because we practice in the rain so much, I don't know. (Can you say in-door practice facility?)

On OJ Small and his contributions:

OJ, we got after him a little bit. Even though he did some good things in the game, he did some things he shouldn't do. Once again, I think competition is one of the best things going. OJ will do all of the things that he needs to do. He did all the things stats wide that we like to have to be the player he should be, He had the same ability last year, he made 30 something catches last year, he's a good receiver. You guys labeled him.

About having a go-to receiver:

I hope we have more than one go to guy. As a defensive coach that's what you need to be concerned about, when you have more than one to worry about.

Winning at Arkansas and LSU, how much does that helping this game:

Going into a hostile environment and it's a great SEC stadium , but our guys have been there and done that.

What makes a good road team:

Number one is you have to stay focused on the job at hand. Don't let all the distractions and the things that go on. It's a different environment and they have to say focused to the task at hand and what they are accustomed to.

Biggest difference going into this game this season as opposed to last:

We know who the starting quarterback is going to be, that's a big thing, and he is playing better than he was. Remember his first 3rd down last year, he dropped the snap. I have said from the beginning that we are a very much improved team. No we still have to play the games, but I feel we are better. So are we good enough? That's why we have to go play.

On Brandon Siler:

Brandon has done a nice job, I am proud of him. I love his attitude. The emotional part he has handled extremely well. He's done well in school. He's doing all the things he is supposed to do.

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