One-on-One with Percy Harvin

This is the third interview we've been able to bring you courtesy of our friends and my colleagues at Sun Sports TV/Fox Sports Florida. These interviews took place two weeks ago as the Gators were just beginning their preparations for the BCS Title Game with Oklahoma, but still provide some insight into what some Florida players are thinking and doing.

These interviews provided some of the content for the Gators' BCS Bowl Game Special on Fox Sports Florida. If you haven't seen it the show will air again on Jan 3 (10:30 a.m., 5 p.m.), Jan 5 (6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.) and Jan 8 (2:30 p.m., 7 p.m.). I hope everyone will try to find a time that they can watch and enjoy it.

With that we move on to my visit with Gator junior receiver/running back Percy Harvin. Harvin missed two games this season, but still ended up with some impressive numbers. He ran for 538 yards, averaged 8.8 per carry and scored nine touchdowns. As a receiver Harvin caught 35 passes for another 595 yards and seven scores. For his career he is the first player in Gator history to run for over 15-hundred yards (1,730) and catch passes for more than 15-hundred (1,880). He is also the first Gator to reach double digits in both rushing (18) and receiving (13) touchdowns.

Harvin of course missed the Alabama game with a sprained ankle and this conversation occurred long before there would be a definitive update on his status for the game. However upon arriving in Ft. Lauderdale on Friday Florida Coach Urban Meyer indicated the Gators' most dangerous weapon would be ready to go.

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LV: Percy you are one of a few guys who had a major role in the BCS Championship Game two years ago. How can you use that experience to help prepare your teammates for the week ahead?

PH: The best thing I can tell them is it's going to be wild. I told him it's the SEC times ten. The thing you want to do is prepare for it like it's another game. You don't want to get caught up in the hype and do things you normally aren't doing. If you do that you'll be fine.

LV: Have you flashed that championship ring to the players who weren't there two years ago?

PH: Oh yeah. We came in telling everybody this is what you can have; this is what it looks like and all that. You kind of let them hold it and they get excited and get goose bumps and they want their own ring even more. This team is really motivated.

LV: Are you at all concerned about Coach (Dan) Mullen going to Mississippi State and the impact it could have on the offense?

PH: Not at all. It's a decision he had to make for the betterment of his family and we all support him in that. We still have great coaches who know the offense better than anyone so we'll be set. Addazio probably knows the running game better than coach G, (Billy Gonzales) and coach G knows the passing game a little better so if you put those minds together we'll be fine.

LV: What has been the key to the way this team played in the last nine games winning by an average score of 49-13?

PH: We knew we had an explosive offense at the beginning of the year and I didn't know if we quite had the mixture at the start of the year. We didn't know who could do what in different situations but we knew we had a lot of players. Then our defense started getting a lot more stops and when we get a lot of chances we're going to put points on the board. The coaching staff sat down and figured everything out and our numbers have been ridiculous ever since.

LV: What are your thoughts about the Oklahoma game and how you match up with the Sooners?

PH: I definitely feel it benefits us. We're going to spread the field and create mismatches and let our speed take over the game.

LV: Do you feel the SEC is at a different level physically than the Big 12?

PH: I do. This year I think we played five or six teams that were ranked in the top ten defenses and I don't think Oklahoma has faced any. We've prepared for great defenses all year and we've passed every test. We're ready for this challenge.

LV: How important is it to you personally to be completely healthy for this game?

PH: It's a must. Sitting out the last game kind of hurt me but it was the best for me and for the team. I look to put on a show.

LV: Have you allowed yourself to think this might be the last time you put on a Gator uniform?

PH: Yes and no. It crosses my mind every now and then but I'm just trying to focus on getting healthy and preparing myself for the task at hand.

LV: Have you talked with anyone else about how to handle it?

PH: Yeah I know a lot of guys in the NFL from back home and also my former teammates with the Gators. They all tell me pretty much the same thing. They tell me to prepare for the game and let everything else fall into place later. Talking to those guys helps me relax and know there's plenty of time to deal with that after the game.

It's hard to imagine Percy Harvin returning for another year of college football, but it's also hard to see an NFL team risking a high pick on a player who has not been able to stay healthy for a 12-game season. So while the odds are this is his last dance for the Gators it might not be. Either way if he's at full speed the Gator offense will be well equipped to put up big numbers in the biggest game of the year.


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