Charlie Strong Talks About The Defense

Florida Co-Defensive Coordinator Charlie Strong believes that the maturation process holds one of the keys for the Gators defense. The only remaining holdover coach from the Ron Zook era spoke briefly about the defensive woes, the new attitude, and his star pupil, Brandon Siler.

Florida's 7-5 record last year and the 15 losses total over the past three years are largely the result of fourth quarter meltdowns that Strong knows have to be something of the past.

"What happened in the fourth quarter was that we gave up so many big plays," Strong said. "We evaluated it this past season and looking back, we just didn't play well. We ended up losing games. What we're going to try to do is rectify that problem where we don't place ourselves in that position. When we do have a chance to make a play, we make the play, get off of the field, and give ourselves a chance to finish. We have to finish the game."

"Our whole program is that we want to be aggressive," he said. "That's what this program is build around is being aggressive on defense. Coach Mattison, myself, Chuck Heater, and Doc Holliday, we have the coaches and we are a veteran team now. All of those guys that have played for two years are much older. You look at Ray (McDonald), Marcus (Thomas), Steve Harris, (Jeremy) Mincey, (Brandon) Siler, and Earl (Everett). You're going to be a better football team just because of the experience. And now, were an aggressive program. We're going to be an aggressive on defense. We can do more, because we're experienced."

The receivers are a blur as Siler waits for his matchup

Strong had to be delighted about the stellar play of linebacker Brandon Siler. The sophomore received numerous accolades for his play last season. You won't get an argument from his coach.

"The thing that makes him (Brandon Siler) so special is his leadership ability," Strong reasoned. "We were talking about him today watching practice. He just always seems to be around the football. When we blitz him, he's there. He's putting pressure on the quarterback. He's a young man who works all of the time. He wants to be a good football player."

"He was just a freshman last year who did what you told him to do. He's a good disciplined football player. That's what you've got to have on defense are guys who will do what you tell them. When you coach a player, you'd like to see it go to the field. When you watch a tape you say, okay, this is what I told you to do, this is what I expect of you."

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