Cox Ready to Take Over for Dawgs

One of the biggest advantages the Florida Gators have this season is the presence of Tim Tebow behind center. While the Gators have a proven star who has won the Heisman and a BCS Championship, their biggest rival in the SEC East has an old rookie at the helm.

Senior Joe Cox takes over for departed No. 1 draft pick Matthew Stafford, but he's confident he is up to the challenge. That confidence comes despite throwing just 15 passes last season, completing 11 for two TD. One of those TD passes came in mop up duty with the Gators and was Georgia's only TD in a 49-10 drubbing in Jacksonville.

Cox spoke to the assembled media in Birmingham Thursday morning.


On becoming a leader:

"I have stepped into my role as a leader of this team. I am right where I want to be. I've worked hard and a lot of guys look up to me and are ready and willing to follow me.

On his leadership style vs. Matthew Stafford's:

"We are different types of leaders. I'm more vocal that Matthew was. That's not a good thing or a bad thing. Matthew was a great leader, but the distinction is the team. I don't think he had enough help. This year a lot more guys have stepped us as leaders as well.

On the pressure as a starting quarterback:

"Obviously there is pressure, but it's not something I think about. The success of this team is not all on my shoulders. There are 10 other guys that get the job done as well. I won't carry the team. We'll work together. And that is where our success will come from, the team.

On having taken a snap before:

"The only game I ever started was Ole Miss in 2006. It's good to have the experience I have, to have taken snaps before. It gives me confidence.

On the off-season:

"It really brought our team together. With people telling you, 'You won't be as good' you turn it around and use it on the field and in the locker room. When someone tells you, 'You can't do something,' it motivates you and you better yourself. We preached about that a lot this off-season.

On the competition with back-up quarterbacks:

"I think you always have to look over your shoulder. There are three strong guys behind me, but it only makes me work that much harder to keep my job. Competition can be a good thing.

On Coach Richt:

"He's really approachable. You can go to him anytime about anything. I see him as a 'father figure.' And because of that it makes it easier to follow his lead on the field. He is the easiest coach I ever played for.

On Coach Richt being in the "hot seat":

"I think it's a joke. With his history and a ten-win season just the talk of it really bothers our team. When you also look at the things he does for the school off the field, there is no way you can let a guy go like that.

On the season opener against Oklahoma State:

"They are a team deserving of their top-10 pre-season rank. They will be toughest season-opener Georgia has had in a while. They are good on both sides of the ball. We look forward to the challenge.

On playing in the SEC:

"It is an honor to play in this conference. Not only are there so many talented players, there are so many talented teams. With each week, you have no idea what is going to happen.


The job Cox does replacing Stafford is not the only issue facing Georgia's offense this season. The Bulldogs also have to replace last season's top runner Knowshon Moreno (1,400 yards, 16 TD) and receiver Mohamed Massaquoi (58-920, 8 TD). One thing Cox has going for him is sophomore receiver A.J. Green who caught 56 passes for 963 yards and 8 TD in his rookie season.

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