Urban Meyer Post-Game Comments from January 2
On his impressions of the Outback Bowl and bowl week
"I've been very fortunate to be involved in a lot of bowl games. This has to rank one or two on the list. This was outstanding. You had two teams that wanted to be here. It's a great city, a great hotel. They took care of our families and we had a great week together. We appreciate that, and to win the game makes it that much nicer."
On the Florida seniors
"Our seniors did something that hasn't been done. They beat their three rivals and won a bowl game for the first time in school history. That's a major deal. We're going to give them a game ball that says that and they're going to keep that forever. And that's one of the things that they'll take to the grave with them. To be able to do that at the University of Florida is a major accomplishment. They've also set a standard that hopefully we live up to that standard in the off-season and next year, and that's go compete at the highest level. Our senior class has done a lot for this team. I really have a lot of admiration for our senior class. They are some terrific young men. I've learned a lot from them. I've learned more from them than they've learned from me."
On cornerback Vernell Brown's interception return for a touchdown
"You know it's amazing how the Lord works; it's amazing how life works. To Vernell Brown, that ball hit him right in the numbers for a reason. That young man, everybody in the country should see that. If that haven't, they should see that. Vernell Brown is a guy that was told you can't do this, you can't do this, broke his leg, told he won't be back. He looked me in the eye with tears in his eyes and said he'd be back for the bowl game. And he was back for the bowl game and played his heart out, played the entire game and obviously intercepted one for a touchdown."
On Florida running a fake punt
"I felt momentum slipping and you have Jarvis Herring as your left guard, you have James Smith as long snapper, you have Tony Joiner as your right tackle and you have Billy Latsko as your personal protector. I made a big deal that I promised the team that we were going to run that, at some point we were going to run that because it's really not hard to do when you have your best football players and guys you trust. I trust those guys with my family. That's part of the deal, on fourth down and one, go get it. Go get it and give the ball to your best players and we did."
On going for a touchdown before the half instead of settling for a field goal
"With the wind in our face it was a little bit longer field goal than you thought. I kind of felt Chris (Leak) was throwing the ball well. We were working on that certain play where we wanted to pump fake and get everybody off to the side. Dallas (Baker) made a great catch. But Chris Leak and Dallas Baker and the way that offense was playing, you take a shot like that."
On Vernell Brown being the face of Florida football
"If there's a poster or there's someone out there that says Florida Gators I want his mug right there. I want people to see Vernell Brown; he's what we stand for. We don't stand for five stars, we don't stand for highly-recruited guys that maybe get too much credit, we don't stand for the guys that come out early, that's not what Florida is all about. Florida's football is about a guy that outworks his opponent and is maybe the underdog and he's a fighter. He will fight you until he can't fight no more."
On the on-side kick attempted by Iowa late in the fourth quarter
"I thought it was a great kick and I also thought our number nine, which is the wing, has to go attack the ball. Boy, I hoped they were offsides. To make a call like that, that was a tough call. Great execution by Iowa, but we've got to attack that thing. We're not very good obviously, we had two opportunities this year and we failed on both of them. I call that a failure, but we got a second chance."
On the punt block in Iowa's first possession that resulted in a recovery for a touchdown
"Vernell Brown couldn't return and Chad Jackson has struggled a bit returning punts. The first thing we wanted to do was go after them a little bit. We actually gave them an overload where we're plus one on you and Jemalle Cornelius did a good job getting through there. I'd like to be known as a punt block team, I think we only got two this year and we should have had many more. That's going to be who we are from here on out. We're going to recruit people like that and we're going to develop them and be extremely aggressive in special teams. We tried this year, but just didn't get it done and that's my fault."
On the roughing the kicker call that allowed Florida to maintain possession
"That was big, that was real big because once again, with a quarterback like Drew Tate you know how he plays. He played in a bowl game last year; I believe it was against LSU. You don't want to give him the ball."
On running back Kestahn Moore's performance
"I think he ran hard; 88 yard against an excellent run defense. He's going to get better. He's a true freshman. We've got to get him stronger, faster. But he earned that spot, it was not given to him, it was earned."
Outback Bowl MVP Dallas Baker
On winning an individual honor in a team game
"The team still comes before me. I mean, I couldn't have done it without Chris (Leak) throwing me the ball, the O-line blocking or the running backs picking up blocks, and also running the ball well so that the running plays set up pass plays. So, the team still comes before me."
On playing consistently
"It means a lot. That's all I've been thinking about the whole time. Hopefully people can see now that I can play in the fall the way I play in the spring."
On his impression of the 2005 season
"Like I said before, I'm satisfied with the season. Some people say we could have done better and we shouldn't have lost this game or that game but I'm just trying to celebrate this bowl victory. We won a bowl game. A lot of teams look forward to playing in January and we had an opportunity to play in January and come out with a bowl victory. So, I'm as happy as can be."
On Iowa's comeback in the fourth quarter
"I don't really think anything happened at all. Like I said before, Iowa is just a great team. You can't take a team like that lightly. When we played them two years ago and they beat us pretty bad so we already knew the capabilities they had to take over the game. Our main focus was to keep the ball out of their offense's hands and put up points."
On winning the Outback Bowl MVP
"I'm kind of shocked. I thought it was a complete team victory. That's why I was so shocked when they said I was the MVP. The way Chris was playing, I thought Chris was going to win it. The defense, to play the way they played against a team like Iowa who has power running the ball and has two great receivers, it was a complete team victory."
On the importance of the victory
"It means a lot. Like coach said, with recruits coming in, I mean, we have a great recruiting class coming in already after the Florida State game. So, after beating a team like Iowa and getting a bowl victory, it means a lot."
"It was a tough game for us obviously. I'm very, very proud of our football team, they played extremely hard. It came right down to the end. It's kind of been that way this season for us this season. We've had some disappointments, ups and downs, but our guys fought right to the end, and it was certainly evident today. Our guys played with a lot of heart. It wasn't good enough today, unfortunately, and give the University of Florida a lot of credit. They're an outstanding team, well coached, and that's kind of where we're at."
On Florida running a fake punt
"The fourth down was a huge call and a huge play in the game. You know, it takes a lot of courage, a lot of confidence in your defense to make that call, and most importantly to execute it. I think it was Latsko who was the guy that was carrying the football. It almost looked initially like we had them stopped. I don't know how it looked on the replay. But it was a great individual effort on his part. He refused to go down and it was a huge play in the game certainly. I caused us to burn our timeouts."
On Iowa's onside kick that was called back for a penalty
"I'm a little biased. It looked a lot onside to me. But I'm biased."
On Florida being a step ahead of Iowa for three quarters
"They really were. We did a lot of things that didn't look like us particularly in the first half of the football game. With that being said, I think our opponent had something to do with it. They're an excellent football team, we knew that coming in. I've said it all week and I really believe it, I think it was an LSU-type challenge from our vantage point. LSU was an excellent team a year ago, very talented, very well coached, played extremely hard, and that's the kind of challenge we thought we had today. To win in a game like that, you almost have to do everything right.
On Florida scoring a touchdown on an Iowa punt block
"The last two years we've gotten the punt block for six, but today it went the other way. Typically when we give up those kinds of plays where the opponents make those kinds of plays on us, it's going to be pretty tough to overcome. But again, I thought our guys hung in there and kept competing."
On Iowa's play in a losing effort
"The guys never hung their heads, they never got discouraged. That was certainly evident today through the final whistle. It's a great group of seniors we're going to miss. We go through this process every year. We've had some pretty good football teams in recent years. It's hard, in part, because of the great seniors that we've had. They're the guys that started it and certainly led a lot of younger guys competing out there also."
On the officiating of Tuesday's game
"You don't think I'm going down that road, do you? I would just say it was a very consistent performance. That's pretty neutral, isn't it? It's pretty nondescript."
On the game potentially being decided on one play
"There are so many plays into a game. This still ended up being a close ballgame, a one-touchdown ballgame. I could go back and name real quickly four or five plays in the first half, not to mention four or five in the second half. We just really made it tougher on ourselves. That's part of the game; it's disappointing certainly at the end but I think when you go through one of those you've got to look at the whole body of work."
Quarterback Drew Tate
On the Florida defense
"They did a better job than we did; they got off to a faster start than we did with the blocked punt and touchdown. Stopping our running game made us one dimensional. When we are one dimensional they were able to pick up how our protections went ant what made us hot or not."
On Florida as a team
"They played hard, they played real good, they had a great scheme and they came out ready to play."
On the overall season
"We got beat pretty bad at Iowa State, lost to Ohio State for the first games. We never really found a steady time, and were not real consistant, but some times that is just how it is."
Wide receiver Ed Hinkel
On losing to Florida
"It was a tough loss for us, but we never gave up. We could have packed it up at halftime and gave up. But we never did our guys are tough and we fought back, but we've got to give credit to Florida, they played a great game. They're a pretty good football team."
On his last game as a Hawkeye
"It was tough knowing that was going to be the last time I would put on the Iowa uniform. But you know it's been fun, I've had a great career and there's nothing I would change."
On the Iowa fans
"We've got the best fans in the country; I don't care what anybody says. Our fans travel anywhere we're at. They cheer as loud as anybody. There's nothing like playing a home game at Kinnick Stadium."
Wide receiver Clinton Solomon
On the Outback Bowl being his final game
"We all made plays out there and we all fed off the momentum of each play. We got down real early 14-0 and we had to bounce back from that. Things didn't go like we had planned, good or bad, but you've got to move on. I wish the team best of luck next year. I keep saying this in every interview that I appreciate everything that Iowa has done for me. I appreciate the coaches for giving me a second chance and good luck to the younger guys. I hope they learn from the seniors."
On the Florida defense
"They were trying to press. I felt like we could beat them a lot on the man press. We had to take advantage of the press they were trying to give us. We took advantage of it on some plays, other plays we didn't."
On Florida stopping the Iowa rushing attack
"Everybody's just so used to us just ripping off eight yards every play. It's not like that. The way the game plan was today, and how they play defense, when a team puts eight men in a box, you're not going to lean more towards the run. That's just common sense. They had a good game plan today."
Running back Albert Young
On whether the Hawkeyes could have won with the onside kick recovery
"We were playing pretty well in the second half and our offense was clicking pretty well and we were finally starting to get things rolling after a terrible start. You know, you can't ever say what if, what if. It's not a game like that. The way it worked out is how it worked out; we have to live with it. It's just hard to end a career losing a game like that."
On the Florida Gators
"The Gators outplayed us today and that's why they got the win over us. We played hard until the end, and you have to give our guys credit for that, and I'm sure the Gator players are doing that, because they're a classy bunch."
On the rash of penalties
"It's not lack of discipline. I think it's just one of those things where we had a lot of time off and we prepared very well for this game. We were ready to go. There's absolutely no excuse for the way we played. It's just one of those things where we weren't concentrating at the right time."