Gerald McCoy Leads the Defensive Line

For Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, leadership is just a natural thing. When approached by the media on Sunday, most that did not know him, it was evident that he looks at everything like a leader should. McCoy answered many questions about the high powered offense of BCS Championship foe Florida and the over looked defense of the Sooners. He answered them like a leader would.

Gerald McCoy's parents were the big inspiration in his life and he credits them with his current attitude on life and the way he projects himself to people that don't know him. The consummate professional, he does business like work in the middle of the defensive line to make the front click. His team knows they can count on him to be their leader.

"It's just natural," McCoy said of his leadership qualities. "My parents raised me to be that way. They told me to be the head and not the tail. It's not something I try to do, it is just natural. My team has clearly seen something in me to lead them and I do anything my team needs me to do."

McCoy has 26 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 10 tackles for loss, very good numbers from an interior defensive line position. He knows the importance of the defensive line to the entire defense. He also knows that the Gators provide a big obstacle to their goal of winning a national championship.

"It always starts up front," he said. "If a team can control the line of scrimmage, normally they can win the game. They have a lot of different weapons they can use, but we have a lot of weapons too.

"Florida is fast, actually real fast, but we are a real fast defense. I think our speed can match theirs and we will be able to handle it."

Florida has its share of talent along the offensive line. One of the best lines in the country, they are deceptively quick and physical. He knows that the offense goes as the offensive line goes and therefore it is up to him and his line mates to stop the Gators.

"Their offensive line clearly is good," he said. "They have had a Heisman Trophy candidate for the last two years. Their run game is dominant and when they want to pass the ball they give them enough time to get the pass off. But, we have a good defensive line and it's going to be a good match up on Thursday."

The Gators come into the game rushing for 229 yards a game (11th nationally). They are setting all kinds of team records including a new record for touchdowns with 41. Still, with a Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback the gators offer quite a dual threat.

"Here at Oklahoma, we always emphasize stopping the run, so this is going to be another big test for us," McCoy said. "Their offense is unique, but stopping the run is what we emphasize for us. It will be another great challenge. The offense is unique, because you never know who is going to get the ball. They have a good offense and we just have to be ready for it."

They also face a running quarterback that is something like that of Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, but Tebow has been doing it for years and at a very high skill level. He likes his quarterback, but also knows he is playing a different character with Florida's Tim Tebow.

"He's huge, like linebacker sized," McCoy said. "I feel like we are going to have to play a great player. Tim Tebow won the Heisman last year so obviously he is good. Tim Tebow knows his offense, knows it well. He is a coach on the field. We have to stay focused and be prepared for it.

"With either team, that quarterback is like a coach on the field. It isn't going to be anything too different for us. We have prepared to play against great players in the past and preparing to play against a great player on Thursday."


McCoy talked about the perceived home field advantage of the Gators. The game is being played only five hours from the Gainesville campus and five states away from Norman Oklahoma. Meanwhile McCoy knows his Sooners will show up.

"I guess you can say it is a road game because we are playing Florida and we are in Florida," he said. "We have a great fan base and our fans are going to be there strong and yelling. At the end of the day you can take both of these teams and put them on the practice field and play the same game. It really doesn't matter.

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