Birthday Boy Hopes for Big Celebration

Life is good when you are a significant player at an elite college football program. Life is really good when you play a role in helping that team reach the BCS Championship Game. Life is truly amazing when that game is set to take place on your 19th birthday. It's good to be Jeff Demps.

The Gator rookie from South Lake High School looks to put the capper on a remarkable freshman season when the Gators face Oklahoma Thursday night.

This season has been everything Demps could have hoped for and more. He is the Gators' second leading rusher with 582 yards despite carrying the ball just 69 times (8.4 avg.). Demps scored seven rushing touchdowns and added another as a receiver. He has a total of 799 all purpose yards on just 87 touches (9.2 avg.). Demps also blocked two punts. As a result he was named to the freshman All-SEC team and received freshman All-American mention.

Demps got people's attention opening day with a 62-yard scoring run against Hawaii but it was the Arkansas game that really solidified his status in the Florida running back rotation. Demps ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns that day as the Gators began their surge following the loss to Ole Miss. His freshman running mate Chris Rainey also ran for 103 against the Razorbacks adding a spark that the Gator offense really needed.


LV: Jeff what does it mean to you to get to play in the BCS Title Game?

JD: I'm really excited. Coming in here as a freshman and getting a chance to play in the championship game is really something. Plus I get to play on my birthday so it'll be like a birthday present for me.

LV: You got a lot of playing time and gained a lot of yardage this season. Did you come in here expecting to get to play as big a role as you have?

JD: Not really. When I was being recruited Coach Meyer and Coach Mullen came down and told me if I work hard I'll get to touch the ball. So I just came out and worked hard every day and it paid off.

LV: Talk to me about the Arkansas game. It was sort of the coming out party for you and Chris Rainey and helped take this offense to a new level.

JD: That was a really important game for us. We had a couple of injuries with (Emmanuel) Moody and Kestahn Moore so me and Rainey had to step up. We talked to each other about playing our role and we had a pretty decent game. It got me comfortable (with the offense) and I'm pretty sure it got Rainey comfortable too so I think it was a big part of our success.

LV: So much is being said and written about Oklahoma's incredible offense and all the records they set. Does the Gator offense need to come in with a mindset that you have to score a lot of points to win this game?

JD: Well coming into every game that's always our mindset to score a lot of points and help our team win the game.

LV: The SEC has a much stronger defensive reputation than the Big 12. Does the success you guys have had this year against SEC defenses give you added confidence about scoring against Oklahoma?

JD: Yeah. I think we've played against some of the best defenses in the country. I know Oklahoma has a great defense, but I think we'll step up to the challenge.

This is the fifth 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. And they are comments and conversations you could not hear/read anywhere else.

The 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 Monday at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. and Thursday at 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. I hope you will try to find a time that they can watch and enjoy it.

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