Spikes Taking a Different Approach

Brandon Spikes is the heart and soul of the Gator defense. But it took some time to develop that mentality and do the things Urban Meyer looks for from his middle linebacker. He talked about his outlook heading into the 2008 season.

Brandon Spikes was a unanimous first team All-SEC preseason selection and also was selected as a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award given to the nation's top defensive player. The 6-3, 245-pound linebacker talked about the differences from last season to this one.

Did you feel at any time that you didn't earn your starting spot last season because of a lack of depth on the roster?

"Not really because there are a lot of things that come with being a middle linebacker at the University of Florida. It's not just starting, you have to be a leader and everyone is watching you. A lot of times when the defense plays well, they kind of put it on you."

How do you feel you've come since last season?

"I think I've come a long way in terms of being vocal on and off the field. In the past, I've never really said anything to guys and I‘ve always just focused on my things on the field. Now, I have to bring other guys up to my level."

Was that something that was difficult to get used to?

"It comes with the job. Being a middle linebacker for coach Meyer in his program is different. It is what it is."

How comfortable are you with the guys playing behind you?

"I'm really comfortable because we're doing things every day to get ready for the games and those guys are taking the reps. It gives them a little bit of experience. I know what each position has to, so I can help out before the ball is snapped."

Can you name someone who is doing particularly well?

"Brandon Hicks is coming along. He's gaining weight, learning his plays and he's come a long way."

Can you assess Dustin Doe's progress from last season?

"Me and him took a different approach into the offseason than we did before our sophomore year. We kind of went in and attacked it like we tried to take every challenge our strength coaches gave us. He has a different attitude to him. We bring a business-like mentality to the field where before we didn't take it as seriously."


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