Wright Playing with more Maturity

When media and fans of the Florida Gators talk about Florida sophomore safety Major Wright (6-0, 200) it is always about the big hit. Against the University of Hawai'i on Saturday, Wright showed more than just hitting prowess, he made a play on the ball that coaches, fans, and Wright himself, have been waiting on for quite some time.

Last year's freshman All-SEC safety amassed 67 tackles on the season including many bone jarring hits. His hitting prowess allowed him to tie for the SEC lead in forced fumbles in 2007 with four, even as a freshman playing his first college football. On Saturday, it was another instinct, indicative of great safety play, that took over for Wright. Wright made a break on a deep pass, intercepted the ball, and took it to the end zone for his first defensive touchdown of his entire football career.

"It felt real good, it was my first time ever getting in the end zone on defense (even in high school)," Wright said after the Gators defeated Hawai'i 56-10 on Saturday. "My eyes got really big probably about as big as a clock. My main focus was to catch it and then to run with it."

It is a different mind set for Wright who has gone from a guy who has always wanted to damage the body of a ball carrier, to a guy that wants to get the ball back for the Florida high powered offense as soon as he can.

"Sometimes (I felt) like I had to go for the hit," he said. "Now that I am older and more mature, I know going for the ball is more important."

Wright was just one part of a defensive performance that was impressive on Saturday. The Warriors came to Gainesville missing most of their arsenal from last year's BCS Bowl game season, but have a high powered offense that led the country in passing in 2007. The Gators tallied four interceptions and frustrated the Warriors with suffocating pass defense all day. Wright says the defense has been coming together since last year's sloppy end to the season and the chemistry on this defense is where it never was in 2007.

"That is what we have been working hard for in the off-season...we have a lot of chemistry," he said. "We watch a lot of film, we go out there and practice and communicate on the field."

Wright is a returning starter in the secondary. It is a secondary that actually returns a lot of experience but one spot that is not experienced is the safety spot opposite of Wright. Sophomore Ahmad Black mans the other safety spot and recorded two interceptions of his own on the day including an interception returned for an 80-yard touchdown.

Black has quickly earned the respect of his safety mate as has the rest of the defense, most of which returns from 2007 with a year of experience and maturity.

"It felt real good that I can trust Ahmad, and I can trust the whole defense on the field," Wright said. "Basically on our defense everyone has to trust one another. That is what kind of chemistry we have going on."

Without watching the film of the game and hearing from the coaching staff, Wright was very pleased with the defensive performance that had the Gators allow only 89 total yards in the final three quarters of the game.

"As a defensive unit I felt like we did pretty good, Wright said. "We made a couple of errors...(but), we got to the quarterback. People were questioning our defensive line and our defensive backs, but I thought we did real good."

This week the attention turns to the University of Miami Hurricanes who will be visiting Florida for a prime time game under the lights at the Swamp. For Wright, who hails from Ft. Lauderdale the Miami game is huge and he believes the Gators will be ready.

"We are getting ready for them, we will watch a lot of film and go out there and practice," Wright said. "It is extra special for me."

After a freshman season that saw Major Wright play well, but miss on chances of making the interception, Wright did just that on Saturday night. With only three tackles, which was indicative of a more swarming front seven on defense, Wright was able to make a play a different way. Fans and coaches should be pleased.

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