While none of the coaches has seen enough film of last year's Gator team in action to draw clear conclusions about the players they are inheriting. We did get some snippets about that and about the coaching staff interaction from some of them we will share with you here.
Defensive Line Coach/Co-Coordinator Greg Mattison
On sharing Philosophy with Charley Strong:
We have a similar philosophy, we both coached together at Notre Dame and you know we've been around a lot of the same coaches and that's where your philosophy comes from. We both want to be very, very aggressive and we also have the philosophy that we have very good athletes here and you don't ever want to slow them down or not let them play as good as they can by overloading them mentally. So we'll have a very sound approach to our defense but also a very aggressive approach.
On how defensive calls will be made with co-coordinators:
We haven't talked about it in terms of who's going to signal, but all the time that I coordinated and I'm sure the same with Charley, you're never standing there on the sidelines and saying OK, I'm going to call this. Almost every time you're getting the personnel group, you're getting the down and distance and then you say, I like this call and somebody will say I do too and boom, that's what you go with. So we'll work very closely on that and that'll be the last thing.
On the defensive scheme:
I'm definitely a four down lineman guy in most situations, although depending on how aggressive and how good the front can be will determine we will go to three down in passing situations for maximum coverage. One thing I've always believed in you're only as good as you are up front, and that's always been our trademark. So we'll start out there, we've gotta stop the run first, every time and then I believe in getting pressure with a four man front. We've been successful with that in the past and I'm very confident that'll happen here too.
On the defensive line talent on hand:
I'm very impressed, I think there's some very talented young men here. I think they were very young last year. They're guys with experience now, but still with a lot of time left on their clock and I'm excited about it. I met with each of the defensive linemen and I'm very excited about the chance to work with them.
Offensive Line Coach John Hevesy
On coming to the UF program:
I'm an east-coast guy, grew up in the northeast so I grew up knowing who the Florida Gators were. So in this profession when you get a chance to come to a place like this you don't ever pass it up.
On getting to know his players:
I've met with each of the kids probably two or three times, they've come up on their own so I've had a chance to see them and meet them in person. I haven't had a chance, obviously besides Randy (Hand), Lance (Butler), Mike (Degory) and Steve (Rissler) to see them a whole lot on film.
On what he thinks of those four:
I think it starts right in the middle with Mike I think that's the best thing you can start with is to have a great center like he is. A guy that I think plays hard, a guy who has a lot of knowledge in the game. Then you go to Lance, I've seen a lot of, Steve I've seen less of in the two games I've had a chance to see and Randy has been a very efficient tackle in what he's done. Now to see how my techniques change what they do and what they know, we'll find that out in the spring.
On the attitude he wants in his linemen:
They need to be able to run, but they better be mean. They better be vicious guys, too. That's something when we first got to Utah there weren't, they were more relaxed. We have to instill some nastiness to them is kind of the word I use for it and we're gonna put it in 'em and that's gonna start really next week when they get in the weight room. That's going to be the whole team and for me up front, the offensive line as much as we can punish those guys across from us they're gonna get it.
On determining who plays where up front:
I'm more of I want five. Then I'll get six, seven, eight nine ten. Like I told them when I came in, a kid like Phil Trautwein who's like "I'm a tackle." Well if you want to be a tackle that's just fine, but if you're the fifth guy and you can't play guard, well guess what, you can sit there. I said we're going to build the best offensive line we can and to do that, the best five are going to be on the field. Then we're going to find six and so on.
Ideally you'd like to shave two starting tackle and a third tackle, two starting guards and a third guard and then two centers so we start with that. Really I'd love to get eight before deciding nine, ten, eleven twelve.
Is it important to define guards versus tackles?
To me I want to define toughness. I want to define kids that love to play football. Once you get that with kids who love playing, love being out there and want to win the techniques and stuff will come. Obviously the talent is there and the more there is, the easier it's going to come.