Nixon Ready for More Fireworks and Confetti

One of the more important young players on the Florida Gator football roster just got a lot more important. Starting left tackle Xavier Nixon will no longer be a freshman in 2010, but he will have to help protect a quarterback that isn't the Hurculean Tim Tebow. To make matters even more dicey, he will now have to protect the blind side of righthander John Brantley, instead of Tebow's left.

A few sacks and broken protections too many early in the season, offensive line coach Steve Addazio moved for a change near mid season and Xavier Nixon got a chance. Nixon completed a very successful freshman campaign where he was inserted as a starter on the road at South Carolina.

In the Gators' game against Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl, they surprised the world with their offensive performance and the line was a big part of that. Nixon said afterward that they really just wanted to show everyone what the Gators had.

"Everyone really just wanted it," Nixon said about the offense's 51 point and 600-plus yard performance shortly after the game. "It was this team's last outing together and everyone wanted to go out with a bang."

Nixon learned a lot in his brief time starting this season, he understands what it will take to be a better player in year two.

"I am going to keep working hard every day in the offseason and come back as a starter," he said.

The Gators will be without center Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey decided to bypass his senior season and make the jump to the NFL draft. Still, John Brantley will have four starters return from a very good offensive line and Nixon knows that the Gators will replace Maurkice Pouncey with a quality player.

"We train everyone at the same level and the same intensity, so who's turn it is to step up they will do it," Nixon said.

Championships and BCS games is what Nixon came to Florida for. As he was standing at midfield after the game and the air was filled with celebration, he knows that he wants to continue to be a part of that.

"This is great just looking up and seeing the confetti falling down," he said. "I have never seen anything like this and I love it."

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