Well, Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes is confident the Gators are ready for whatever the Sooners offer up. Spikes says the Gators have to disrupt the timing of Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford to keep the Heisman Trophy winner from putting up another big set of numbers. Here is some of what Spikes had to say to the media guys (including me).
MG: What does the Gator defense have to do in order to slow down the Oklahoma offense?
BS: If he gets his rhythm it'll be hard for us to try and contain their offense because it's explosive. The offensive line is very athletic and they get to the second level really good but our main thing is we want to stop the run."
MG: When you see the tape aren't his pants always clean?
BS: Always. The offensive line, they don't let too many people hit him. But we got some dynamic pass rushers so I'm pretty sure we'll get to him in time.
MG: How much do you think they'll miss DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma's top runner)?
BS: He's a dynamic athlete. He can make guys miss, but as far as the second tailback (Chris Brown) he does a great job also as far as making guys miss, hitting the holes and he's can pass block pretty good too.
MG: Do they compare favorably with the top backs in the SEC?
BS: Maybe… a little bit… but not too much.
MG: So you think SEC backs are better?
BS: Absolutely, by far.
MG: when did this defense finally hit its stride?
BS: It was after the Arkansas game. Guys just felt like they were letting each other down and weren't being accountable. I didn't really prepare the way I should have being the starting middle linebacker. We won the game, but as far as taking things for granted we stopped doing that.
MG: Coach was talking about how most players get on the plane and put on their I-pods, but you pop in a video of the opponent's game film.
BS: I think in this conference you've got to have an edge. You gotta have an extra step if you want to come out on top and for that you have to be prepared. Your preparation for the game is critical. If you come out and miss a step or miss an assignment it can be critical and the offense can have a big play. Against Ole Miss we didn't prepare well and we didn't practice right that week and we suffered the loss. That kind of helped us and opened our eyes that the preparation for every game is critical.
MG: A lot of people say the Big 12 has great stats because the defenses are not good, and others say SEC offenses aren't very good. Which do you think is closer to the truth?
BS: In the SEC I feel it is the next best thing other than the NFL as far as athletes. You have big guys who can run and are really athletic. The Big 12 is having an awesome year and they have a lot of great quarterbacks out there this season, but if you play defense you can stop the offenses and contain them you can get them off rhythm. Defense wins championships and that's what we're here to do. Our defense is ready to play well.
MG: Do you look at the Big 12 stats and shake your head?
BS: You know what gets me, I always look at the scores. Sometimes it's 54-45 just crazy numbers. We really don't want to let you score too many points. I feel our offense is very explosive and their offense is explosive and it's going to come down to whose defense is the best.
MG: There's a lot of speculation about you and the NFL draft. How will you go about making you decision about next year?
BS: I'll probably sit down with my family and my coach Charlie Strong and Coach Meyer and they'll kind of help me with the decision I have to make.
Spikes would love to stay in school, but all draft projections I have seen indicate he'll be no worse than a high second round pick which means a lot of money. That's money that will let his mother stop having to work two jobs. It's money that could pay for an attorney to help his brother appeal a questionable first-degree murder conviction.
Spikes: Gators Ready for Oklahoma Attack
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