PART I: Vettel 1-On-1 With Kyle Jackson

As the start of fall practice draws near the members of the 2005 Florida football team simply can't wait to get after it. Recently I sat down with a guy who I think will be a star this fall, sophomore safety Kyle Jackson for what will be a two-part story. Today, we talk about the team, adjusting to Coach Urban Meyer, the fear factor among the guys regarding the need to stay out of trouble and more.

LARRY VETTEL: Kyle, how eager are you and the rest of your teammates to get going this fall?

KYLE JACKSON: I'm just like everyone else … we're looking forward to the season and kinda ready to get into camp, start learning these plays and get ready for the season.

LV: This is your first off-season with this coaching staff … what has the transition been like? What is most different from a year ago?

KJ: I would probably say the workouts and the discipline. The workouts have changed with the new strength coaches --- Coach Mickey Marotti and Coach (Matt) Balis are great coaches and the program has changed tremendously. I think everyone has gotten stronger and faster. As for the discipline, you see Florida hasn't been in the paper yet for people being arrested or suspended. The past few years, I know we've had problems with that but right now we're doin' good.

LV: I was told by one of your teammates' dad that everyone on the team is terrified about being the first guy in big trouble with Coach Meyer … is that true?

KJ: Oh, I'm telling you that is very much true. A lot of people are scared because you don't know what he is going to do. He's already kicked a couple of people off the team for little stuff … well I wouldn't say little stuff but some stuff so you never know.

LV: Talk to me about the transition where guys need to go from not messing up because they fear the consequences and what I think Coach's goal is … which is you guys not messing up because you want to do things the right way.

Kyle Jackson leaps up for an interception vs. South Carolina

KJ: I believe there's a mix of things. On one hand there's the fear of punishment. But then you look and say, hey this guy went 12-0 last year so he might know what he's talking about. You learn what he wants and as we go on it becomes more of a habit, a routine.

LV: How did the change in position coaches work out for you this spring?

KJ: The change in coaches was easier for me because I just came in as a freshman so I hadn't been here very long. Now it's like everyone is a freshman again as we get to know the new coaches. I enjoyed the staff I had my freshman year and I enjoy the staff we have now and I believe we have the opportunity to do big things.

LV: It's unique for you in that last year you were a rookie to college football and so was your coach (Dan Disch). Now you have Coach (Chuck) Heater and Coach (Doc) Holliday, who between them have been coaching college football for about a hundred years.

KJ: (laughing) You said that, I didn't! They have been around a long time so you know they know what they're talking about. Coach Disch and Coach Holliday had to come in here and learn our system so they are like freshmen, too.

LV: What did it mean to the players that the new defensive coaches came in and said we'll learn the terminology and the system and make the transition as easy as possible for the players?

KJ: As soon as they said that it took a big burden off the shoulders of the defensive players because we had spent a year learning this system. The fact they were willing to learn it for us shows you what great coaches they are. If a coach wasn't very good or didn't really know football, he'd come in and say we going to do this, this and this. Having confidence in their coaching skills, they decided to work around the players and that's what they did.

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Tomorrow in part two Kyle and I talk some football, get his thoughts on the Gator secondary and the big goals the 2005 Gators are aiming for.

(Photos copyright GETTY IMAGES)

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