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December 2, 2006

Jemalle Cornelius

Percy Harvin

Chris Leak

Urban Meyer


CLAUDE FELTON: We have Coach Meyer along with Percy Harvin, who's the MVP, Chris Leak, and Jemalle Cornelius. Mike mentioned Percy Harvin is the first freshman MVP since Justin Vincent of LSU in 2003.
We'll ask Coach Meyer for some opening thoughts, comments on the game and then we'll take questions just for the student-athletes and then let them return to the locker room.
URBAN MEYER: I'd like to congratulate the University of Arkansas. That has to be one of the greatest college football games as far as momentum shifts and terrific football players. Their two tailbacks are as fine as they come, Marcus Monk. Some of the play-calling on the trick plays, that was a great football game.
I also like to thank our senior class. At some point, I'm not sure when, maybe it's 20 years from now, but we're going to write a book and let everyone know what this senior class has gone through. They've earned my admiration, the coaches' admiration, Gator Nation's admiration for some of the obstacles that they've overcome.

Q. Percy, would you talk about the long touchdown there, how the play developed and what you saw?
PERCY HARVIN: Coming into this game we were challenged to beat man-to-man coverage. I did the easy part. It was good blocking because the five up front, so we knew once I made my man there, wasn't nobody back in the secondary.

Q. This is for both, I guess, Chris and Jemalle, can you describe the feeling of winning an SEC Championship after all you guys have been there?
CHRIS LEAK: It was a great feeling. The senior class, what this team has put in since August, all through the years. Me and Jemalle over our careers here, it just makes you real proud of the guys in the locker room and that all the hard work is paying off and we were able to cap our senior season off with an SEC title.
JEMALLE CORNELIUS: It feels real good to finally get an SEC Championship. That's why you come to the University of Florida. We had a rough couple of years, but Coach Meyer and his staff came in, picked us up and showed us what it meant to win and how to go about winning.
It's the greatest day of my life. I've never won a championship, and it definitely feels real good right now.

Q. Percy, talk about your advantage of being in different spots on the field and moving around as an offensive player.
PERCY HARVIN: It just comes with the offense, just getting the playmakers and getting us the ball, me, Jemalle, Dallas, just getting us around on the field.

Q. Jemalle and Chris, would you guys talk about how nervous you're going to be tomorrow and your feelings about whether you deserve to play for the National Championship.
JEMALLE CORNELIUS: You know, we're going to enjoy this win and we'll think about that stuff in the morning. You know, we definitely want a chance to go out and play. We played a tough schedule. We found ways to win games this year. We definitely feel like we deserve to get a chance to play in the big show.
CHRIS LEAK: Yeah, just knowing how hard these guys have worked through the offseason and just through training and how hard our coaches have worked to get us where we are today, we know if we get the opportunity to play for the title, we know it'll be well deserved. We fought through a lot of adversity this season and hung tough, and we know it'll be a great deal for us to be able to play for a title.

Q. Chris, if you could just tell us, what feedback did you get on the sidelines after the two turnovers and how were you able to focus and not get down on yourself after that swing in momentum?
CHRIS LEAK: All credit on Arkansas. They played excellent defense. They capitalized on our mistakes. Through those things as a quarterback you just have to have a short memory because there's going to be adversity in the game, there's going to be momentum shifts. The main thing is I looked at my teammates and guys kept encouraging me and I kept focusing on the right things, on my reads, and just tried to make plays when I could.

Q. Jemalle, would you talk about getting a championship. You came so close, you were like at three state championship games in high school, never came away with a big one and now you played in a championship game and won one finally.
JEMALLE CORNELIUS: We came close three times in a row at Fort Meade High School, never won, always got close, ended up being a touchdown or a field goal away, and finally getting it my senior year, couldn't have done any better. It was definitely worth the wait. It's feels good to walk around and put your finger up as No. 1. It feels good to do that.

Q. For Chris and Jemalle, at what point did you find out USC had lost and how did you find out? Was there an announcement or did word just kind of leak through the locker room?
CHRIS LEAK: I think you just told us really. I think guys were saying it on the field after the game. It just made us, I guess, even happier that we have a better opportunity to play for the title.

Q. So you didn't know during the game?
CHRIS LEAK: No, sir.
JEMALLE CORNELIUS: We didn't know until after the game. The celebration started, people started talking about it, and we were just kind of like, "what's going on?"
Everybody started talking about it, so that's how we found out.
CLAUDE FELTON: We're going to excuse you fellows and you can return to the locker room. Thank you.

Q. Talk about your decision at that time to go for it on 4th down down there. You knew the momentum shift, everything had been going wrong. What in the world made you to decide to go for it on 4th down?
URBAN MEYER: The fake punt? I think if we're not going to be successful, we're going to shoot everything we got, and I think you saw us shoot everything to take through Bubba to Casey. Take a guy like Cornelius Ingram, we were looking for match-ups. We were looking for every opportunity. I've always been a coach who had a hard time facing a team if I didn't believe we shot everything we could to beat that team.
That play has been practiced a couple thousand times in the last two years. The same one we ran against Alabama last year. I had great confidence in the guys executing. A senior punter flipping it to a senior receiving. I was pretty confident.

Q. Right after that on that series you had another 4th down there, called your last time-out. Did you tell the punter to punt it 54 yards and recover a fumble?
URBAN MEYER: And he did exactly what I told him to do (laughter).
No, I have smarter coaches -- I was going to go for it there, and the comment over the headset, Greg Mattison is actually the one, I flipped over on defense and he kept saying, "It's early, a lot of football left. Let's pin them in there and play some great defense," which most of the time we have. Obviously I listened to my assistant coach and we punted down there, and a good thing happened. Great punt.

Q. To all the folks who would say there hasn't been a lot of style, what would you say after this ballgame?
URBAN MEYER: I don't really listen to that. I've heard it a couple times, and I am beat to death right now. I can't move, and I can imagine what our players -- what a tremendous football game that was.
See, I kind of like special teams. I kind of like field position, and I think that's what kind of team we are, so I'm not sure style points, with the schedule we play, we just have to find a way to win a game. I'm not too concerned about style points. I'm concerned about 21 seniors playing their hearts out and find a way to win 12 games in the No. 1 most difficult schedule in America.

Q. Did you say anything to Chris specifically after the two turnovers? Could you just talk about how he was able to regain his focus after that.
URBAN MEYER: We just coached. Chris is a senior quarterback, and the one thing when you run a shovel, the first thing you need is speed to get around that defensive end. He kind of -- actually shoveled to the guy that intercepted and then the interception is the one -- that's the movement key. We weren't cheering for each other, I was just patting them on the back. That's the key, let's go back and get organized and get going. Chris has been through the ringer and we had great confidence. Obviously some of the play calls we did after that to get him the ball and let him go again.
We just coached it. There was no group hug or anything like that. We just tried to coach him through two bad series.

Q. I know the players said they didn't know that USC had lost. I guess did you know at any time during the game?
URBAN MEYER: It was firing through the locker room pretty quick. I heard it and I was kind of like, let's worry about what we have to worry about. Obviously I looked up and I saw it on the video wall third quarter.

Q. Make your case for Glendale. Do you feel like you belong?
URBAN MEYER: We certainly do. Florida belongs. The other team had a shot. We went 12 and 1, and I think the country wants to see the Southeast Conference champion against a Big Ten champion. I think that's what this is all about.

Q. How did you keep your team focused this whole week through all the talk about BCS and style points and one-loss teams? How did you keep the Gators focused on the Razorbacks?
URBAN MEYER: I want to give credit to the senior class. Monday we addressed it, we discussed it, and a year ago or a lot of times I would have a problem with that. This team is a focus team. That's the way they play. That's not by accident. When guys block punts and guys make plays and you hold the best tailback in America, Heisman candidate, to 73 yards, that's not by accident, that's excellent football players, some great kids, and guys that are buying into everything we're telling them.

Q. It appears it's going to come down to the voters' decision. How much faith do you have in the voters looking at, crunching the numbers between you and Michigan? If you do that, you guys are probably in better shape. Do you have faith in voters doing that?
URBAN MEYER: I hope. And I saw ESPN doing a lot of that. ESPN is a powerful, powerful organization, and I hope they list all the statistics, and I think this is -- put it all out on the table, here's what it is. The offense, where we're ranked and just exactly. I think that's important. If there's a lot of people making a lot of decisions out there, this is a big one. We're going to tell a group of young men that just went 12 and 1 in a most difficult schedule against six ranked opponents that they don't have a chance to go play for a National Championship? I'm going to need help with that one.
I have great respect for college football. I'm a fan of college football. I think the country is a fan of college football and I'm glad they got to watch a great football game tonight. I have great confidence that the University of Florida is going to get that opportunity, I really do.

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