Trautwein's Return Pays Off

Florida offensive lineman Phil Trautwein had a big decision to make last year. After missing his senior year due to a broken foot he was still projected to be a day two pick in the NFL. However since he had not been redshirted he could return to the Gators as a fifth year senior.

He didn't think about it long before he decided another year in school was the right thing for him and it certainly paid off. Trautwein earned first team All-SEC honors in helping the Florida team reach the BCS Championship Game. Trautwein met with the media guys on Sunday to talk about the Gators offense, Oklahoma and his decision to stay around for 2008.

LV: You made the decision to come back for another year when you could have taken your shot at the NFL. How gratifying is it to have your senior year turn out so well?

PT: It's great to leave with a bang being SEC Champs and I'm praying to God that we win a National Championship. It's awesome. I would be in the NFL or maybe off a team because I feel that I'm so much better than I was last year. It was great to have another year to get my skills up, get bigger and stronger. If I didn't break my foot I wouldn't be here. It's been a great experience and I thank God every day for it.

LV: After the Ole Miss loss did you second guess your decision and think maybe you had made a mistake and your goals wouldn't be reached?

PT: Yeah, I was a little upset. But we just went after it. We knew if we kept on winning we'd have our chance. I think that was a gift also. I think that got us to calm down and go out there and play our game. We didn't go out there (that day) with much energy and we knew after that we had to go out with energy because it was the only way we were going to win.

MG: Having had to sit out last year do you have a special place in your heart for guys who won't get to play much if at all Thursday night?

PT: Yeah, especially C.I. (Cornelius Ingram). Hopefully he can get in there for at least a play – "victory" or something hopefully. Just seeing him around and watching him at practice it reminds me that he doesn't get to play. It's a great thing to get to play football and I know that they know how great it is now.

LV: What stands out about the Oklahoma defensive front?

PT: They're pretty quick. They're very good. They like to move their front a lot to fill up the gaps and stuff like that. Instead of blitzing they like to fill up the gaps and put one extra defender in the box so it's hard for us to run. That's why we're going to try to throw the ball a lot. It's going to be a good battle and we're going to have a good plan against them.

LV: Are they similar to anyone you've faced this year?

PT: Coach Addazio was talking about it and we feel they're kind of like Georgia. They have quick ‘backers and a quick d-line.

MG: If Tim Tebow asked you about the value of playing your senior year, what would you tell him?

PT: I would rather be here than the NFL. Money doesn't mean much. Winning another National Championship means more than anything."

MG: Would you tell Tim that?

PT: I'd tell him that right now if he was here.

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