Gators Arrive in Miami

The Florida Gators arrived in Miami today to begin their preparations for next Thursday's national championship. Quarterback Tim Tebow and head coach Urban Meyer met with the media when they arrived.

Florida Junior QB Tim Tebow
On the 2006 Championship helping with preparation:

I think it's different but I think you do get a little bit of wisdom and knowledge about how to approach the situation and approach the big game. We know how to handle the week and the preparation and the events. We're being cordial and courteous, but at the same time we know it's a business trip. We're here for one reason.

On the Dan Mullen situation (leaving to be head coach of Mississippi State)

Early on you have to get used to it. But now we got things going and we're doing pretty good. Steve's (Steve Addazio, new offensive coordinator) been working with us the past few weeks and he's focused and ready to go. Dan Mullen has a lot on his plate but his number one priority is this game right now.

On the decision to name Steve Addazio offensive coordinator:

It's a great decision. I think that he has so much respect from our team, from our coaches and he does a great job and it's a great fit for him.

On containing the excitement during the weeks leading up to the game:

I don't think that's very hard at all. It just grows on you now more and more that we're here. Now it hits us that we're going to go play a National Championship game.

On the NFL paperwork:

It's filed. I feel good, but I'm not worried about it I'm excited to be here in Miami and I'm ready to go play the Sooners.

On proving the scouts wrong in this game:

I think I want to do that every game, not just this game.

On playing this year's Heisman Trophy winner (Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford)

It's great. You want to play the best, and we're getting a chance to do that.

On Coach Meyer's preparation and game plan for the game:

It's been great. We prepared very well. As far as the game plan, our guys know it inside and out and I think they're ready to go.

On staying focused in Miami:

We have some great leaders on this team and the young guys are going to follow their example. I think our team is so focused that we won't have any troubles.

On Coach Mickey Mariotti (Strength Coach)

Coach Mick is unbelievable. He does an unbelievable job. He's more than just a strength coach. He's someone people go to talk to when they need help with stuff. He's a father figure to a lot of guys on this team.

On playing in the BCS Game

It's something you dream about. Now that we're here in Miami we're really excited about it. It's getting close.

On playing in two BCS Title games in three years:

I've been blessed. It's been a blessing so far. To be a part of big games and be here in Miami, we're excited about it.

On his role as a leader on the team:

Thus is a goal for us and just a dream come true. I don't think there will be anything left inside these guys or left on the field. However good we are, we're going to show it on the field Thursday night.

On the journey from the beginning of the season:

We worked very hard and haven't looked to far ahead. We just practice hard every day. We've been focused, and everybody is glad we're here.

On Percy Harvin playing in the game:

It's a great thing. I've seen him out on the field. He looks good.

On whether he will be talking with Dan Mullen in the press box:

I will. He'll be there doing it.

On the transition to the new offensive coordinator (Steve Addazio):

It's been good. It's still been the same as always. Coach Addazio does a lot of work with the running game. Coach Mullen does a lot with the pass. We all worked together to get everything together into the game plan. We're really focused and I think it's a really good game plan.

On taking calls from the sideline:

It's no different. I think we've had a great few weeks of preparation. We're ready to go.

On whether winning the attention of winning the Heisman will impact Sam Bradford's performance?

Maybe. But I don't think it's a big deal. Ever since I got into college I've always had a lot of attention and Sam Bradford does as well. I don't think anything is going to change or be any different. Every defensive play they're trying to hit you and knock you down and it's the same situation for him.

On Coach Mickey Mariotti's ability to raise intensity with the players:

It's just what he's about. Everybody respects him so much. His work ethic, his character and just the way he can communicate with people. He's really intense.

On the challenge of balancing game preparation and the distractions of Miami:

It can be hard, but I think the team can handle it very well. This is a mature team. We want to have fun and we want to enjoy the experience, but at the same time we're here for one reason and it's a business trip. To be here in Florida, it's great.


On the excitement about being six days away from the BCS Championship game:

Yea we kind of sheltered them a little bit back home. We've had a great work week, but I worry about the team coming out here and staying in control. We just got to make sure we keep our routine going.

On coaching his second BCS Championship game in three years:

It's the University of Florida. We have a bunch of great players. Florida is the kind of school that you should be competing for a championship. We're honored to be representing a great conference in doing it.

On balancing the atmosphere and keeping it business as usual:

I trust the players. We're having a team meeting in a little bit. If someone's here for anything else other than to graduate the University of Florida and play in the National Championship and go to the NFL than we made a horrible mistake in recruiting you. So we got some good guys. This will be a business trip.

On whether all the players came back well after the holiday break:

Oh it's great and I'd be very disappointed if it wasn't that way. It's much different than last year's team. This is a much more mature team.

On this game's equivalent to a Super Bowl atmosphere:

Oh yeah. The good thing is there's some guys who have played in this game before. There's some carry over and our schedule is very similar to what we did two years ago.

On playing in the BCS game in Miami (like a home field).

Well Danny Ponce and Eric Poms are great friends of the University of Florida and I came down here and spoke and an Orange Bowl function. I have never been to an Orange Bowl and have always just watched it on TV. But we love Miami and love South Florida, and I'm hoping it is a home field advantage. All the Gators fans here are going nuts and it should be that way.

On his feelings about Percy Harvin's health:

I feel real good about Percy. Percy is going to play unless there is a set back. He should practice tomorrow. We're going to let him go tomorrow. He's as good as there is.

On Dan Mullen going to Head Coach Mississippi State:

Like I would imagine it's been very professional and it's not 100 percent for University of Florida because he's employed by Mississippi State. However, he's committed to this team, this coaching staff, Jeremy Foley (Athletics Director) and the University of Florida. Most importantly, he's going to give his best efforts because he's got a quarterback and a whole team that will be giving their best efforts. We've been together nine years and I knew he would handle things very professionally.

On the decision to name Steve Addazio offensive coordinator:

It was not a hard decision at all. The one thing about Steve is that he's had opportunities to be a head coach, and even this year he's had opportunities to be a head coach. He wants to be a head coach and I think he'll be a great head coach. As far as decision, there was none. It was just a matter of making sure we kept things going.

On whether the experience from 2006 has helped the team prepare for this game:

Yes it has. We've really patterned the preparation exactly like 2006. That year was unchartered waters. We were the first team to play a BCS game a week removed from other bowls. So we've used that model quite a bit.

On game preparation on the field in South Florida:

We've got a lot to do. We've got some things to add on offense and defense and now with Percy Harvin. We waited on purpose to get some plays in once we got down here. We're pretty much tied in right now. Percy is playing and will be practicing tomorrow.

On the journey from the first day of practice to now:

Pat Dooley did a great story about the number of injuries this team has had. I remember sitting there listening to Nick Saban before we played them talking about how his team had no injuries all year. I think we've had eight ACLs, MCLs, complete tears. Everyone knows about Cornelius Ingram and Dorian Munroe, but they don't know about Cody Worton and Brendan Beal. They were two of my stars on special teams and they were out. So some of the guys have stepped up.

On the team enjoying the experience:

I trust these guys. We're going to enjoy ourselves here but there's no doubt why we got on this plane. I can't say that's true for every athlete on that airplane because there' some guys who wont play because they have not been real professionals. But with the professionals on the plane there is no doubt they are on a mission.

On the defensive tackle position:

I feel great. We don't have a lot of depth because Brandon Antwine got hurt, but Lawrence Marsh, Terron Sanders, Torrey Davis and Jaye Howard have done a nice job, a real nice job.

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