Rebel Defensive End Kentrell Lockett said he had come close to blocking two other Florida kicks in the 31-30 Rebel win.
He was determined, he said, to swat down the game-tying PAT late in the fourth quarter. His determination paid off when he hurdled a Florida OL's leg, broke into the backfield and jump to deflect the kick.
But he's quick to point out it was not a one-man effort.
"I give a lot of credit to the freshman next to me - Justin Smith. He absolutely blew up the guard and opened the gap way wider than I thought it would be," Lockett said. "I just took advantage of Justin crashing the guard and the tackle not stepping down hard."
Think about the athleticism of Lockett's play for a moment. He was in a three-point stance in the gap between the tackle and guard. As soon as the ball was snapped, he came out of his stance, leaped the leg of the tackle, landed a yard deep in the backfield, sprinted two steps, jumped and swatted the kick away.
That, friends, it pure athlete and heads up play.
"I anticipated what was going to happen because of two previous kicks that I thought I could have gotten," Lockett said. "Thanks to Justin, and the tackle taking a play off, it worked out just like I envisioned it before the play. I said to myself as I was lining up if they left me a gap again, I was going to block that kick. I think I was more determined that time plus I had an idea of how to achieve it."
Lockett is not only proud of the blocked PAT. He's fired up about the play of the defensive line against an extremely physical Florida OL and elated to have DE Greg Hardy back in the fold, even though Hardy's presence takes snaps away from Kentrell.
"He makes us better. He makes us nastier. He gives us an even deeper rotation. We can be crazy good with Greg in there," Kentrell stated. "We are all in this thing together. There are no egos on this team. I got more snaps with him out, but I promise you I'd rather have him healthy for the good of the team. I'll get my chances.
"Greg is an uncanny football player. He makes things happen when it looks like there's no way for him to have a play. He's big, fast, strong and he has great instincts. I love having Greg Hardy on my team."
The DL rotation, he says, has made a world of difference in their play late in games.
"Everyone still has explosiveness and has their legs in the fourth quarter. I could not have made that play I made on the extra point if I had played every snap. I was fresh and explosive even that late in the game," he explained. "I had some juice left. That helps a lot.
"Florida, I believe, thought we were going to be soft and that they could wear us down, but we kept sending in fresh players and I think, in the end, they were more tired than they were. I think the 4th-and-1 that ended the game proved them. We pushed them back. They had no push from their OL on that play."
When the subject turned to South Carolina, Lockett officially put Florida behind him.
"It would be terrible for us to dwell too long on the Florida game. If we do, we will risk not beating South Carolina and everything we have accomplished would kind of be wasted," he ended. "We have to focus on the Gamecocks and make sure they get the same kind of effort we had against Florida."
Kentrell Lockett -
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