FOOTBALL: Gators need wins to remain bowl eligible

Defensive lineman Kenny Parker, offensive lineman Lance Butler, and cornerback Vernell Brown talk with us about the upcoming game vs. Vanderbilt and their desire for the team to become eligible for a bowl. Here are a few of the more interesting comments these young men addressed…

Kenny Parker

"Things happen for a reason. It's a lot different since I've been a freshman. We have a lot more stuff going on. Of course, everybody knows that now. We've got to keep playing, that's the main thing. Our coaches keep telling us, and all the players, we all talk about it. We've got to keep striving. Don't worry about the score. Don't look at the scoreboard, keep playing every game like it's your last"

How much extra pressure is on you guys with Channing out? "We pretty much try to put a lot of pressure on us anyway. Even if Channing or some of the other linebackers were not out. We all believe this, defensively as a whole, especially the defensive line, that the line leads the defense. If we don't do our job, then we fail and lose the game. That's how we feel about it. We take it real personal. We haven't really done everything that we were supposed to do this year, but we all know that. But, we try to get better everyday"

You said take it personally. After a tough loss do you guys talk to each other, do you get on each other? What do you do? "We do what any other group would do. We try to show each other things that we did wrong. We got back to practice and try to correct them. We all push each other. We're all a big family. We all stick together and just make sure that from third string to first string. We all help each other out. They can't see everything that we see. I mean, if I'm out there on the field, Ray McDonald might see something that I didn't see and visa-versa."

Parker has spent much of his career in rehabilitation. It is a process that takes an extra effort because of his back problems to get him prepared for and continuing throughout the course of the season. He said that he'll evaluate where he is after the season. Parker will sit with his family and weigh the positives and negatives of his going into his sixth year. He said that it is important for him to go out on a winning note in a bowl game. Parker also said that who coaches the defensive line will weigh into his thought process.

Lance Butler

How do you think that you guys have done this year? "I think that we've done really well this year and as a unit we've gelled. There are not just five guys that can get out there and play, but seven or eight. We're all doing really well as a unit. We've all come together really well. We know our assignments. We all hustle and play hard. We have a bond with the guys in the backfield and we look out for them. Playing as hard as we can helps them put points on the board."

How important for you to get Ciatrick over 1000 yards? "I haven't even really kept up with numbers. We do everything we can just to help those guys succeed. I haven't really thought about that. Ciatrick is a great football player. We just show him a little hole and he takes it makes something out of it. If we keep playing the way we've been playing, he should be able to do that."

Do the (recent) penalties take something away from your achievements? "I know that I've had a few this season, and that's one thing that I'll have definitely have to work on, the mental mistakes and twitching offsides, and stuff like that that we need to work on. When big plays happen and a penalty flag comes down and that's what I realized this week, I think we had all of the penalties. I know that I had two. It's kind of disheartening because we've been playing well. But, still they've held us back and we kind of started realizing that we need to focus more and try to alleviate having those penalties."

Vying for a bowl game? "Yeah, it's crossed our minds, that's what you want to do each year and everyone wants to go home for Christmas for a month. We want to go have a good time and play in a bowl game somewhere. But, we're focusing on each week. We're not looking to a bowl game. We're just focusing on Vanderbilt this week."

A losing season? "Yeah, we definitely don't want that to happen. I came to Florida to win SEC Championships. It's a great school, and still is a great school. We don't need that to happen. We just stumbled a bit this year, and all of these games, I don't think that we've lost by more than a touchdown in the closing seconds of a game. It's tough, but that's the game we play. We definitely have to work on that. We still have got to keep together. We've had chances and things just didn't go our way, but no I never really envisioned it happening this way. You never get used to losing."

Vernell Brown

Does it bother you guys that Vanderbilt looks upon this as a golden opportunity to beat the Gators? "The thing about the SEC is that you can be beaten every week by any team. All of the teams are competitive. You just have to come out and be ready to play on Saturday."

Is it hard to get up for games right now, after everything that's gone on this season? "I can't speak for anybody else, but for me personally I look forward to any chance I have the opportunity to get on the field and make big plays."

You guys are aware that winning two out of three is necessary to get to a bowl game? "We are aware of that and that's what we're playing for to get to a bowl game."

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