On Tuesday Florida's Urban Meyer faced the media for the first time since his resignation.
Opening statement: "We've had excellent practices and today will be our hardest in full pads. Obviously it's Tuesday of a game week. We've got a plus one so they had a good day yesterday. We gave them five or six days off for Christmas, which we like to do. But they've come back and they're going real hard. We've had some injuries and we're going to be down four starters. But we have some guys behind them that are pretty good players. It's been good and we look forward to a great challenge."
On the state of college football: "I've put in my application as graduate assistant at Penn State. I can set up the cones really well and make a good pot of coffee. College football, I don't know if this is the appropriate time, I'm very concerned about it. I can't speak for Coach Paterno. I got into coaching 25 years ago for guys like Joe Paterno, Bo Schembechler, the Earle Bruces of the world, the Unselfishness, the teamwork, the struggle. I think Fielding Yost had one of the greatest quotes of all time when he talked about the game of football in 1903. It was football is not a fad. It's turning into a fad. It's different from, with all due respect, all sports. You have to love football. Football separates people in practice. If you have a real bad day in football, you have a real bad day. I think the last line of that quote is you have to love the struggle. I'm concerned, but I'm sure I'm not the only one, and it's part of life right now. I hope to see it come back to the way it was, and that was a team sport that a bunch of good guys doing it the right way and guys getting education, graduating from college and looking at their college experience as the greatest experience they've ever had. That's what I love college football for."
On cornerback Janoris Jenkins' injury: "He had a labrum tear in I want to say the second week or third week of the year. He was strapped down all year. He fought through it. He's a competitor. He never missed practice, he never missed anything, and it got really bad near the end. He's doing great and he's a great competitor. Obviously you saw the way he played. He played like an all-conference player."
On the influence of Joe Paterno: I've known Coach Paterno longer than he's known me. I was one of those guys that knew I wanted to be a football coach. I was going to play football as long as I could and coach as long as I could. I had pictures of Osborne and those great coaches of that era. I just had great admiration for the way they ran programs. I was very blessed. I went to a great high school where football was king of the town. I knew up in Ohio where football was the main deal. I knew at an early age this is what I wanted to do. Obviously, whenever you know that, you pick your idols and pick the guys you want to pattern, you like to do it their way. Obviously Coach Paterno is at the top of the list."
On linebacker A.J. Jones: "That's one of my favorite guys. He's a person that's come a long way on the field and off the field. He's a graduate of Florida. He's one of the guys coach and I were talking about, that the best four years, five years of his life have been at Florida. He knows that and he respects it. He'll probably have a chance to play for a little bit maybe, maybe not. But he understands the value of what just happened in his life and he's very respectful of that. You just like being around guys like that. He's one of my all-time favorites."
On decision to step away from coaching: "This has been fairly well thought out. When we started this whole run, I have a great family; as close as you can imagine, and we asked them at one point in a five-year period we lived in four different states bouncing kids in and out of school, not by choice but just with that in mind that we're going to go as hard as we can and then at some point pull away. They've sacrificed for us now we're going to sacrifice for those kids. It's kind of a humbling feeling to do that. Not many people have that opportunity to step away and give back to the people that have given so much to us. The people are those kids. They deserve to have their dad go watch the games and be around. I think last December was kind of a frontal blow and let's evaluate this whole thing for a minute, and we did."
On bowl preparations and his final weeks as Florida coach: "The guy we hired is fantastic, so I think that eased a lot of the burden because the first priority is the players and our coaches. Steve Addazio getting the Temple job; I think he's one of the finest coaches in America. It's just great to see there is going to be some stability in some of our coaches' lives. Our players are fine now. When something happens everybody starts this nonsense about I'm going to do this, do this. You're not doing anything; you're at Florida. Then you hire a coach with the intensity and energy that we've hired, I think it's been fantastic. I've really enjoyed these last two weeks. I enjoyed practice yesterday, enjoyed being around the players. If there's ever a good time, obviously I don't know that there ever is, but this kind of worked out very well."
On his defensive adjustments due to injuries: "Lawrence Marsh didn't play much this year. In '08 he had a great year, the national championship year, and then in '09 he was hurt most of the year and this year he's been hurt. He's one of our captains and he's a great young man. He's graduated, but he won't play and we needed him. The other one inside that got hurt was Terron Sanders, who I'm more concerned because he's my guy in punt. Omar Hunter is going to take his spot at punt. Inside you're going to have Omar Hunter and Jaye Howard and you're going to have Sharrif Floyd, Dominique Easley and Brandon Antwine, so we have a little bit of depth there. Brandon Antwine is really feeling well. He's a great player; he's just had those injuries as well throughout his whole career. Five technique is another issue. Jaye Howard will play five technique as well as inside. We're going to be a little bit of a rotation there, but I think we'll be alright. Secondary you've got Jeremy Brown will start at one corner and Moses (Jenkins)/Cody Riggs will start at the other. Jaylen Watkins is available and I think I have one other one. We're a little thin on the back end right now, but all the safeties are ready to go. I think we'll be okay."