One-on-One with Janoris Jenkins

As most of you know I do a lot of work for Sun Sports TV/Fox Sports Florida. In that role I sometimes get access to Gator players and coaches that others do not. Normally that access is for special programs on those networks and cannot be shared with other audiences.

However Sun Sports TV and Fox Sports Florida have graciously allowed me to share with you some of the interviews I did for their Florida Gator Bowl Special program. The show will continue to air on the networks and I hope everyone will try to find a time that they can watch and enjoy it.

With that we offer up a conversation with freshman cornerback Janoris Jenkins. The rookie has been one of the most impressive first year players in my memory. Jenkins leads the Gators with 11 passes broken up and is tied for third with three interceptions. A year ago the Gators had to turn to a freshman corner and Gator surprisingly good play from Joe Haden. Well, Jenkins has been even better and has the ability to be an All-American in Orange and Blue.

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LV: Janoris you have been a big part of this defense as a true freshman. Are you at all surprised by the success you've had?

JJ: It's been really impressive. I came in and did what I had to do which is work hard and I was able to make an impact.

LV: Did you expect to play as much as you have?

JJ: Not really. I expected to maybe play in the nickel package or the joker package, but I got my opportunity early and I took advantage of it.

LV: Who has helped you the most with the transition to college football?

JJ: People like Joe Haden, Major Wright, Ahmad Black and of course Coach (Vance) Bedford. He told me to get in there and watch film and go over plays.

LV: A lot of people think you are the best freshman corner ever to play for the Gators and that you could be an All-American. How do you feel about people saying things like that?

JJ: It makes me feel good about myself because it tells me I'm doing a good job for the program and helping the team out. So it makes me feel great.

LV: The Gators didn't play great defense last season but it's really come together this year. You weren't here a year ago, but what made this defense come together so well?

JJ: In the off season we worked hard and really depended on each other. Coach (Mickey) Marotti pushed us the whole off season saying that we weren't a good defense. We stuck together and decided to go out and play.

LV: Now you get a chance to play for a national championship. What's that going to be like?

JJ: That's big for my freshman year to play for the national championship and it's very exciting. The atmosphere is going to be crazy with people shouting and hooting. It's going to be amazing.

LV: You'll be facing an Oklahoma offense that has scored an NCAA record 702 points this season. What does that tell you about them?

JJ: It tells me that they have great personnel and we're going to have to play great defense. We have to go in with the same mindset we've had every game and that's to play hard.

LV: Do you view this as a showdown between the SEC and the Big 12?

JJ: Football is football. It doesn't matter if it's Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 or SEC. they (Big 12) have a lot of high scoring teams and we (SEC) play great defense.

LV: Do you think the SEC plays a level of defense that Oklahoma hasn't faced this season?

JJ: Yes sir. We're a quick, fast, physical dominating defense. I think we have to come out early, set the tone and get the offense the ball so they can put up points.

There's no limit to how good this kid can be. Janoris Jenkins is a remarkable talent, but he'll face his biggest challenge as a football player in the BCS Title Game. Chances are he's up to it.


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