Offensive Coordinator Steve Addazio
Opening Statement:  “I just want to tell everyone how excited we are to be in the Sugar Bowl and to represent the Southeastern Conference in this great bowl game. Our staff, players, program and Gator Nation, we couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity. There’s a lot of energy and excitement and we’re looking forward to a great game.”

What have the last 48 hours been like for you, personally?

“There’s obviously been a lot that’s happened. The biggest thing is that coach (Urban) Meyer and I are close friends and that I want to make sure that his health is a priority. There are a lot of emotions there in the last 24-48 hours. Secondly, of course is making sure that we keep this program at the high level that it’s at and that our players are ready to play in this great bowl game. It’s been a little of a rollercoaster ride, but at the end of the day, what you have here right now is a great situation for our program, our players, coach Meyer and for the University of Florida.”

What do you see as your responsibilities as interim head coach?

“From the recruiting to the offseason workouts, it’s about keeping that continuity and the program on a great course. This has become one of the premier teams and programs in all of college football and it’s been built on a great foundation with great players, coaches, administrative support and the best athletic director in America. All of those things are right there for us to keep this going as a great program, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

Was you taking over as the interim coach part of the original plan, or did Jeremy Foley come to you the other day after coach Meyer’s resignation?

‘All these details came together obviously yesterday. The starting point of this whole thing was coach Meyer’s health, that’s
number one. Number two was the opportunity for him to have a leave. Next thing is to keep our program totally in place, and Jeremy (Foley) thought this was the best avenue. Coach (Meyer) is in place and coaching this bowl game, and we’re really looking forward to that right now.”

Mike Pouncey, OL
What does Florida have to do to make sure that the coaching situation doesn’t become a distraction?

“We just have to make sure that we have a good week of practice and focus on getting our 13th win of the season.
We’ve had a lot of distractions this whole season.  But, if we just stay focused and have a good week of practice, we’ll have a shot at getting our 13th win of the season.”

Is the Florida coaching staff making sure the team is over the SEC championship game?

“Of course.  Obviously, we have a lot to prove in this game.  This game is the start of our next season.  We want to go out
with a win.  We got embarrassed by Alabama, so we have a lot to prove this week.”

Jeff Demps, RB
What were your emotions when Coach Meyer said he would remain with the team after a leave of absence? Were you relieved?

“Yeah, it was relief.  We came out that practice and we went hard and busted our butts.  I guess Coach Meyer got that edge that he wanted to be back out there with us.  When he came and told the team that, everybody was just so
happy that he wasn’t just going to leave. “

Was this the biggest distraction the team has had to deal with?

“I think having all those distractions throughout the season helped prepare us for this.  It’s been tough on us, but, at the same time, Coach Meyer is keeping us focused and getting us ready for the game.”

Riley Cooper, WR
What are you trying to accomplish this week?

“Personally we want to get to that 13th win. You know whatever it takes we want to get to that 13th win total.”

Are there any distractions surrounding the team this week?

“We are definitely going to be playing with a lot of emotion that’s for sure with Coach Meyer leaving and coach Addazio stepping in. We will be playing with a lot of passion that’s for sure.”

What was your reaction to the Meyer situation when he told you?

“I’ve got a lot of mixed emotions. I want him to do what is best for himself and his family, but I was sad at the same time to see your dad away from home, someone you spend 6-7 hours with a day, resign or take a leave. It was kind of hurtful but we support him 100 percent as he has to get healthy.”

How do you feel this will affect recruiting for Florida?

“Addazio’s stepping into the head coaching job right now and we are keeping it within the program and keeping all of the recruits. I don’t think it will affect recruiting that much for the program. The recruits and their families are familiar with Coach Addazio.”


Maurkice Pouncey, Center
How are you enjoying New Orleans so far?

“We got here yesterday and we were able to go site-seeing for a little while. We had a function to attend yesterday evening that ended about eight o’clock last night so we were able to take in a few sights and sounds from New Orleans.”

With everything going on with Coach Meyer, how has that changed the mindset of the Florida players?

“I mean not much. We support him and want him to get healthy. I mean he needs to focus on his health and we stand behind him 100 percent with his decision.”

Were you guys at all concerned with Coach Meyer’s overall health throughout the year?

 “I told him he needs to do what is best for him. We stand behind him and will pray for him and hope to have him back. I don’t think it showed throughout the year, though, he never showed it to us. He wanted to be strong for the team and not show any weakness. I didn’t know it was as serious as it is, but we stand behind his decision and support him. His health and well-being need to come first.”

Tim Tebow, QB
How important is it for you that you win this final game?

“It means a lot. Not just for being my last game, but for all of our seniors. I want to go out the right way and finish the season 13-1. We’re looking forward to a great week of practice, to remain focused and to play our best game.”

What’s it like to be Tim Tebow, this comic book hero?

“It’s got to be tough to live up to that image of people following your every move and thought. Well, like anything there’s a lot of pros and cons with it. It’s tough to go places and to do some things, but at the same time I get great opportunities to go to hospitals and make people smile. It’s not all going to be good or bad, and you have to juggle both sides. For me, that’s been the biggest issue.”

You mentioned playing for coach Meyer playing one final time. Will that change any emotions?

“Before all this happened, I think there still would have been a lot of emotions going into this final game. After the fact,
this might have added a lot of extra incentive. You don’t know if this is going to be his last game of the year, so you want to finish it the right way for yourselves, the team and for coach Meyer.”

With your status, what do you want to do with your life beyond football?

“With all the Make-a-Wish stuff and Dreams Come True, those are some of my favorite things to do in the world. To make kids feel better and have a special day, it puts a huge smile on my face and theirs. For a kid to say his wish is to spend a day with me, it’s extremely humbling and overwhelming. I take a lot of pride in making them feel special. As far as my future, I’m grateful for football and the platform that it’s given me, but that’s no means to an end. I want to be involved in a lot of non-profit in other countries and America and start some of my own. Just some examples are that I’d want to start boys and girls ranches, orphanages and things of that nature that can make a difference for kids.”

How ready are you for it to end?

“I think that I kind of have mixed feelings. Finishing up the last game means starting a new chapter and closing another. I’ve always had a dream of playing quarterback in the NFL. It’s a new challenge, but leaving something that’s extremely
special and something that will always be a part of me at the University of Florida. It’s very exciting on one hand, but very tough on the other.”

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