FALL CAMP: Q&A Markihe Anderson

After losing a pair of starters at the cornerback spot, Florida is counting on new talent to emerge at that position. One player who's clearly done that is Markihe Anderson. The sophomore saw limited time last year but has stood out so far during fall drills. FightinGators.com's Heath Cline spoke with him after Wednesday's practice.

HC: Midway through week one, how are you feeling about your performance?

MA: It's been going great, not just for me as an individual but for the defense. Today (Wednesday) was one of the best practices for the whole defense. I love the way the defense came out flying around with big hits, making plays. That's what the coaches ask for and that's what everybody looks for on defense. I've got a feeling our defense is going to be good again, just like last year.

HC: It seemed like Major Wright's big hit (the freshman safety delivered a wicked shot on classmate Chris Rainey) really energized you guys near the end today.

MA: That was an exciting hit. We've been waiting for (Wright) to come down here because we knew he was a big hitter, a playmaker. We've been looking for that, that gives you a spark. I look forward to coming out tomorrow and seeing that same intensity from everybody.

HC: The perception is you have one of the starting slots at cornerback tied up. Is that what you're hearing from the coaches?

MA: Yeah, kind of. They tell me I've got to keep going, keep trying, keep getting better and don't settle for good because I want to be great. Every day I go hard and try to be great, and that makes the younger guys want to keep going and try to get a spot on that defense too.

HC: What aspect of your game do you feel needs the most improvement?

MA: My outside, I've pretty well got that down pat. As I go to the nickel spot to bring on the third corner, to cover the slot, I've got things I've got to improve on inside dealing with off the line receivers and trying to get better at my technique.

HC: There are so many talented receivers on this team with varied size and speed. Is seeing Harvin, Ingram and everyone else a blessing for such a young group of DBs?

MA: Being in the SEC, facing these guys every day in practice, our corners can't do anything but get better. You've got Percy, Murphy, Bubba, the young guys coming in, CI...they're so explosive, strong and fast. Going against them, we've got to keep striving to be great to go out here and face these other receivers in the SEC.

HC: Why does Chuck Heater develop corners so well?

MA: He's like a father to all of us, so he gets after us off the field and on the field. He brings the things out of us that we possibly don't want to let come out. Plays we're capable of making, the cuts, the turns, the flips, everything we're capable of doing. If he sees that he can get it out of us, he's going to stay on us and make us be the best players we can be.

HC: Does being so young help you guys grow together better as a unit?

MA: It helps the chemistry of the guys because we're around the same age, we're facing the same things, we can relate to each other. We've got two or three guys older than us on the defense. We need to get better and not let those older guys and the coaches down.


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