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January 4, 2009
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA
JOHN HUMENIK: Coach, we'll start with you first, just a general comment about your preparations to this point in time.
COACH ADDAZIO: Well, we've had a great preparation. You know, we've had three phases. We're in phase three, and all the phases have been great for us. Kids have worked real hard and done a great job in preparing for the game plan, working on fundamentals and just had really great practices with a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm. So we feel that our preparation has really gone the way it's supposed to be.
Q. Tim, this question is for you: Do you think more people are making this game about you and Bradford instead of just the Gators and the Sooners?
TIM TEBOW: To tell you the truth, I don't really know. I haven't been paying too much attention to any of the hype, watching too much TV at all. I don't really care what it's about. All I know is that we're going to go out there and we're going to play our football and hopefully win. That's our goal, and I don't really care too much what the hype is about.
Q. You would admit, though, there's a lot of attention because both of you are Heisman Trophy winners?
TIM TEBOW: Yeah, they're going to try to match us up because we're both Heisman Trophy winners, both won in our sophomore year and both won with a cast on our hand, too. So I think they will try to hype that up a lot.
For me it doesn't really matter. It's just another team, another great opponent, so we've got to be ready for them, not necessarily just the Heisman Trophy winner.
Q. Can you just talk about how the transition is going with Coach Mullen, and as he prepares to go to Mississippi State and is still there. Urban has said throughout that it's really kind of an offensive play calling by committee, but how it is for you and how it is for you guys, as well?
COACH ADDAZIO: Why don't I start. Nothing has changed. We're business as usual right now, moving forward here. We have our staff that works together, always has and will work together, as Coach Meyer has stated to you guys. That's just the way we do our business. We have some great football coaches and they're all assigned areas of specialty, and we just kind of work together towards that game plan situation and calls during the course of the game.
In terms of transition, there is no transition right now. Right now we're doing exactly what we've done in the past. There's no effect on myself, there's no effect on any of the players, and it's been a great, great couple weeks here of preparation; it really has been.
Q. Jason, when you guys suffered the loss against Ole Miss, Tim came out and apologized and said, this team is not going to sit back and they're going to work hard. What did you guys think when he did that?
JASON WATKINS: Seeing our quarterback stepping up like that, that's a great motivation for our O-line and especially for our team. We took it as a chip on our shoulder, and each day we work even harder in practice to make sure we can uphold the promise that he made. And from then on we took it on ourselves that we've just got to go out and work to our potential and be the best that we can be.
Q. Tim, I asked Sam the same question yesterday: Does the media hype coverage ever get old to you? Do you ever wish you could hide away somewhere and not be known for a day?
TIM TEBOW: Well, I think it has its pros and cons, just like everything. I think you have to balance it, just like you do anything. Sometimes I think you could get overwhelmed with it, and sometimes I think it's a blessing, so I think I just really have to balance it and work with it and try to handle it as best you can.
Q. Tim, you've been involved in public speaking for many years through the missionary trips that you've done with your family. I was wondering if you could just talk about how difficult some of that was early on, and if you think being able to handle speaking in front of lots of people has helped you and how as a football player.
TIM TEBOW: Oh, it's definitely helped me. I've been blessed through the course of the last four or five years to have a lot of speaking engagements. Not all were good, but I had my learning opportunities and I feel like I got a lot better and began to understand and learn how to speak to groups, different groups, and have speeches, and prepare myself as a speaker. So I think I've really improved in that area, and I think it does help me a lot in interviews and in talking, even talking to my team and different things like that. I think it has been truly a blessing for me in just learning how to communicate with people.
Q. I was wondering if you could reminisce about the last time you played in Dolphins Stadium for us for just a second?
TIM TEBOW: Last time it was fun. We got to play in the state championship versus Armwood, and that was a special game, my last game in high school, and we were able to come away with a victory, and it meant a lot.
Q. Just following up on our earlier chat, I wanted to draw you out on, you frequently talk about how pressure is not really an issue for you, and the missionary trips and the volunteer work you do, I wondered if you could talk about what sort of perspective that gives you on football. And does that remove some of the pressure because you've seen it a different way?
TIM TEBOW: Absolutely. It totally removes so much of the pressure. Pressure is not having to win a football game, pressure is having to find your next meal. From being in a lot of places that I've been with my dad and on mission trips, you kind of find out what true pressure is and what just is a game. Even though we love it so much, football is still just a game. A lot of people bleed over it and love it, and I'm one of those people. But at the end of the day, I know what's more important, and football is not more important than life, and pressure is definitely not football.
So I think when you can put that perspective, I think it really gives you a much better outlook.
Q. Steve, I remember talking to Coach Meyer about this, knowing what Tim has done going to the Philippines and missionary work and going to prisons, what does that tell you about him not only as a player but as a human being?
COACH ADDAZIO: Well, obviously the way Tim was brought up and all the things that Tim has been involved with in his life with his dad and his family I think obviously speak to his character. I think ultimately as a leader and a leader of a football team, the leader of a family, the leader of an organization, I think it starts with character. And I think that Tim has been brought up, and he just stated it really beautifully right there, that he's been brought up in an environment where he has an appreciation for the bigger picture, and there's a bigger picture than just football, the struggles and things that go on for people throughout the worse are world. And I think Tim has a great feel for that. When I have an opportunity to sit here and listen how he articulated that right there, "pressure is finding your next meal" is a pretty significant statement. I think the appreciation for that and the ability -- what a great experience at a young age to be able to understand that whole concept and be a part of it. I'm just amazed by it, and I think it's fantastic.
Q. Coach and Tim and Jason, everybody points to your talk after the Ole Miss loss, but I was wondering if there were any Xs and Os on-the-field adjustments that you guys did after that game where the offense really took off and has been unstoppable.
COACH ADDAZIO: Well, I just think that when Tim got up and spoke, I think really it was probably a mouthpiece for our program, and just from the standpoint that you realize how fragile every football game really is. That's really what you realize in that scenario, that the margin for error is not that great. As a player, as a coach, as a program, you really have to understand that you go into every contest, you've got to bring your "A" game. I don't want to speak for Tim, but I think the reality of it was, it was a wake-up call to everybody that we've got to bring our "A" game to every game, we have to bring that intensity to every game, and I think you saw that in Tim's words, and I think you've seen that in our team's performance. And it was exclamation point I thought in that SEC Championship game in that fourth period where as a team, as a program, we bowed up. I think that really was a culmination starting with that speech and moving on.
Q. Jason, you guys have been down here a couple days now. Have you gotten into anything around Miami or has it been all business?
JASON WATKINS: No, we had a lot of free time to pretty much do what we want to, but most of the guys, we took it upon ourselves that we'll stay out of trouble, pretty much low key, just enjoyed ourselves with our family, our friends and our teammates. So pretty much we haven't been doing too much spectacular, but we've been having a good time.
Q. Would you care to elaborate a little bit?
JASON WATKINS: We got to probably the shopping malls and just go around, just view sighting, not too much.
Q. People watching?
JASON WATKINS: Yeah, that's it (laughing).
Q. Back to the Ole Miss thing a little bit, how much thought went into what you said? Because you were in the locker room for quite a while after that. And secondly, did you think your teammates would respond the way they did, so positively, not only in their effort but the reaction to what you did?
TIM TEBOW: I don't know how they responded. I thought a lot of them felt the same way I did. A lot of them tried to console me after the game, which I appreciated. They knew how I felt and I knew how they felt, so I felt that I wasn't just speaking for me, I was speaking on behalf of the team. You know, when I was sitting in the locker room trying to think and pray about what I wanted to say, I didn't want to just go out there and speak straight out of emotion or just ramble on just out of anger, I wanted to say something that meant something and something that was going to last, and also find the positive out of the situation because in any situation there is a positive, you just have to find it. So that's something that I learned a long time ago, to find the positive in that situation, and the positive is there will be no team or no player that works harder from that point on than us. That was a positive. And if that loss brought that out of us, then that's a good thing.
So that loss was a blessing to us, and that's how I tried to look at it. I apologized to the fans and let them know that, that a lot of good will come out of this.
Q. Two years ago in Glendale you were not the sole leader of this offense; now you are. Is it just more of an appreciation this time around? Because two years ago I would assume you had no idea you'd be back in this position two years later?
TIM TEBOW: Yeah, I really do appreciate the chance, the opportunity to be here. It is such a privilege and an honor to play in a game like this versus a team like this in an atmosphere like this. You never know when you're going to get another chance to play in a game like this. So I'm really just going to count my blessings and be thankful for it and really just savor all the memories that I can.
Q. Coach, would you talk about how after Carl Johnson came into the starting lineup it seems that the entire offensive line just really started to gel. I know that there was a problem at the beginning of the season that you went almost all through August without ever practicing two days in a row with the same five guys, but once he got in there and you had those same five guys, it seemed like the entire offensive line took off.
COACH ADDAZIO: Yeah, I think that up front you have to gel and you have to have chemistry, and there's a lot to that, and I just think that what happened, we went through preseason, like you said, very seldom were we able to put two practices together with the same five guys. Just the way it happens sometimes with injuries and things. We were able to settle in, and Carl came in and has done a really great job, really took his opportunity, ran with it. And as a unit I just feel that the unit has gelled together and is playing well together. That chemistry has been important and will continue to be important, but we also have some players that have really stepped up and done a great job that are also equally prepared to go in and fill any role necessary.
I think as a unit we really have come together and grown, and you've seen that happen from the beginning of the year throughout.
Q. Tim, I was wondering if you could talk about how your role changed this year versus last year? And does sitting up here right now preparing to play for the National Championship make everything worthwhile in terms of the numbers that we talk about and the fans look at and the way you were really that one-man wrecking crew last year, and this year you've sort of spread the ball around and got ahead of everybody's numbers?
TIM TEBOW: I think my role is a little bit different this year. Last year I had to do a little bit more, make a few more plays this year, more of a manager, more of trying to just be the field general out there and put our offense in positions to score points, get 1st downs, manage the clock, manage the turnovers. I think we've done a pretty good job of that this year, and it's a blessing to be up here and be in this game, and it's definitely worth it. I wouldn't trade this season for the world.
Q. Tim, are you familiar with the O'Shea Johnson story, that kid from Baker County that was paralyzed in August?
TIM TEBOW: Yes.
Q. Can you tell me about your visit to him in the hospital way back I think in September when he first got hit, and what was that experience like? What did you say to the family?
TIM TEBOW: Well, I had heard like a week before, and then we had a bye week, so I drove home to Jacksonville to visit my family that weekend, and my dad tried to refresh my memory on what happened. So we decided to go over there. I took my brothers with me, and we went over there to see him and got to see his family, as well, and just comfort him, read a Psalms with him and just prayed with him and hung out for a little bit. And that was about it. Just tried to comfort him and let him know that there's a plan for everything, and God has got everyone in his hands, so there's a plan for his life still and just tried to comfort him that way, and hopefully he found comfort in our visit.
Q. Have you got updates on him at all?
TIM TEBOW: Not really to tell you the truth. A little bit from TV, but that's about it.
Q. Tim, would you talk about Scot Loeffler? I know you met him during the recruiting process. Would you talk about him and what your general thoughts are about him? Of course there's a report that he might be your new quarterbacks coach.
TIM TEBOW: Well, I can talk about Coach Loeffler, but I don't know the rest. I think coach Loeffler is a good coach. I think he did a great job at Michigan. I think he did a good job coaching Chad Henne, and he recruited me out of high school, so we got to know each other very well then. He was actually the main reason I took a visit to the University of Michigan, and so I thought he did a great job coaching quarterbacks. I think he'll be a good coach.
Q. Jason, a lot of people talk about the Big 12, Oklahoma, Big 12 doesn't play defense. As an offensive lineman what have you seen that pretty much says they have a pretty decent defensive front?
JASON WATKINS: Actually we watched most of the games, I guess just all the defense that they play, they're pretty much hard-nosed defense. Each week we go against a great defense, and the job for the offensive lineman is pretty much to protect Tebow, so whatever is necessary to protect Tebow, that's what we'll do.
Like I said, the O-line we gel together so well as a unit that any guy that we go against, we're so much ahead of them that we're just ready to face anything we go against.
Q. Jason, do you guys as a team ever get angry at Tebow when you have to wait for him as he's signing autograph after autograph and you're on the bus waiting?
JASON WATKINS: Yeah, I get it all the time, especially when I get hungry. I'll be like, Tebow, come on, we got to go, man.
Q. Coach, you mentioned that nothing would change going into this game. Will you be in the exact same spot, your exact same routine for this game as you have been?
COACH ADDAZIO: I will be in my exact same spot, exact same routine, exact same demeanor, absolutely. Our focus is on doing exactly what we've done in preparation for this great game, and nothing is going to change from that standpoint. We're all going to do our job and do it at the highest level we can.
Q. I had a question for you guys, Tim and Jason: Talk about any special preparations you guys make right before game time, leading up to game time, any kind of rituals that you go through? I played high school football, as well, and I had a couple different rituals. Just wondering if you guys had any, as well.
TIM TEBOW: I don't really call it rituals, I call them routines. I'm not superstitious, but I like to have the same routine. I always have the same passing warmup routine, and right before every game I run down to the end zone and give me final jump around the sideline and then get down on a knee and pray. I do the same things always. I like having that routine. I don't think it's a ritual or superstition, but I like doing the same thing, it's a flow, it's natural, and it just happens, so I kind of do that.
JASON WATKINS: For me pretty much each week like at breakfast, it's kind of hard though because I don't really eat that much before, so I'll be kind of struggling a little. I don't call it a routine, but I typically do it, some kind of way I put my shoes on, a certain way, and then just get ready. Then after the game after the game I have my solo I sing. I've been working for "American Idol"; I'm ready for it -- just joking (laughing).
Q. I'm just curious if you guys view this as a Big 12 versus SEC, two different ways of doing it? How do you guys view that? You've heard the hype. I'm sure you guys talk about it somewhat. We've heard about the Big 12 and the offenses, we've heard about the defenses in the SEC. Can you guys comment on the two different brands of football?
TIM TEBOW: Well, I think they're two good ways of playing football, and I think both conferences are very good. I'm excited about playing this game.
JASON WATKINS: Enough said, buddy (laughter).
JOHN HUMENIK: Thank you, fellas.
We'll get started with questions.
Q. Louis, this question is for you. I know you can't speak for the entire offense, but after that Ole Miss loss when Tim apologized and essentially guaranteed that this team would not let up throughout the rest of the season, what did that say to you about Tebow?
LOUIS MURPHY: It said a lot. It said a lot, you know, to publicly announce in front of everyone that we weren't going to lose a game, and with all the emotion that he had, it meant a lot to me to say that my quarterback could stand up as a man of character, and when our backs were against the wall and when everybody doubted us out, he stood up and was like, we're going to make it. Everybody felt the same way in the locker room. Everybody felt the same way, all the O-line, and everybody felt the same way. Tim just came out and publicly said it. But everybody took it upon themselves to go ahead and bounce back.
So it meant a lot to me personally.
Q. Along those same lines, I was wondering if any of you guys could comment on what you did, Xs and Os-wise, on the field-wise, after the Ole Miss game, where the offense really became up stoppable. There was talk about like wider splits with the offensive linemen. I don't know anything about the Xs and Os, so I was wondering if there was anything tangible on the field that you guys did where all of a sudden you guys were really clicking?
MAURKICE POUNCEY: I'd have to say it was a lot more care, a lot more field time, taking it a lot more serious than what we did. We probably expected to go out there and beat Ole Miss, but that goes to show any team can beat you at any time. So a lot more care and passion and love for the game from the whole team.
MIKE POUNCEY: That big split thing was just a schemed up game plan. We used it two years ago against LSU and it worked pretty good. But that was just a schemed up thing. Like you said, we just started watching more film and practicing harder, and that paid off for us.
PHIL TRAUTWEIN: We just started out scheming other teams. We didn't really -- that's really it. We just went out there with energy and passion and love for the game, something that we didn't have for Ole Miss, and it was just a totally different mindset on this team. That's about it.
Q. This is for all three of the offensive linemen: As the protectors of Tebow, you guys probably know him better than anyone else. We know he does mission trips and visits hospitals, does he ever do anything wrong? Does he ever not leave a tip? Trip people in the street ?
MAURKICE POUNCEY: Tebow is a jokester, tries to make everybody laugh, but sometimes he's not that funny (laughter), but we laugh because it's Tim Tebow.
Q. Along those same lines, and any of you can answer this: There are those on the outside that wonder if Tim Tebow is the real deal because he goes to the missions and does certain things and he speaks at prisons, so you guys know him better than anybody else. If anyone wants to answer this, is he as genuine with you guys off the field as he is a leader on the field?
MAURKICE POUNCEY: Tebow doesn't do anything negative. I mean, don't even cuss around Tebow. He might even throw a punch at you. Tebow is a great guy, a lovable guy to be around and a leader on our team.
Q. To the Pouncey brothers, can you talk about, you guys were FSU fans growing up, correct? And ultimately decided to go to Florida. I was wondering if you could comment on a little bit about the recruiting process and how you decided to end up playing for the Gators.
MIKE POUNCEY: Well, we was committed to Florida State our junior year and we always wanted to go there. We grew up fans of Florida State, and I guess the whole time I was committed there, we only talked once for like a minute. When we came here, we felt like we was good with Coach Meyer. We spent time with him every day we was here, and we felt like more of a family. I guess that's why we made our choice to come to Florida.
MAURKICE POUNCEY: I feel the same way. Florida Gators know how to recruit. I mean, they can take you from anywhere, any time. It's just more of a lovable team, guys to be around, family-type coaching staff. It's just great to be here.
Q. And along those lines on a personal note, I was curious how your father is doing and will he be able to attend this game?
MIKE POUNCEY: Yeah, he will be at the game. They're coming down Wednesday. They got a hotel, so he'll be there.
Q. Were you guys definitely going somewhere together? No doubt about that?
MAURKICE POUNCEY: No doubt about it. We was always going, two twins, and never going to break up. Hopefully we're going to go to the NFL, and if that breaks us up, then so be it.
Q. It's always a package deal then, huh?
MAURKICE POUNCEY: Always.
Q. Along those lines, I'm sure you guys have been able to fool the teachers along the way. I was wondering if Louis or Phil -- Phil, you play alongside of them. Do you get confused? I mean, they're identical twins.
PHIL TRAUTWEIN: No, Mike has flames on his arm, so I kind of can tell (laughter). No, it took me about a year to really tell by the face, but the flames really got me (laughter).
LOUIS MURPHY: I still can't tell. I just call them Pouncey (laughter). When we're doing the film, I say turn around, which one are you? I still don't know.
Q. Louis, Urban yesterday was talking about how your career really did a turnaround. You started to buy into it. What triggered that for you? What made you the player that you are today?
LOUIS MURPHY: Man, sitting on the sidelines watching everybody else play and not really being a part of the team and not -- just walking around the locker room, and you've got Dallas Baker, you've got Bubba Caldwell, Cornelius, CI, Percy coming in, you have Cooper, Jarred Fayson, man, I've got to make a name for myself. I just wanted to make my family proud, make my mother proud and just work for her. That just became my motivation and my drive.
I think it also had a lot to do with just waiting my time, too. We had Dallas Baker, the touchdown maker. You can't just come in and just take over his limelight. So I pretty much continued just to work hard and just stay focused.
Q. Back to the Ole Miss game, have any of you ever been a part of one game that changed so much, especially a loss?
PHIL TRAUTWEIN: You know, 2006 we lost to Auburn, and that was kind of the same thing. It was kind of a shock and it kind of got us to play harder. Like we said, it just made us show that any game we can lose at any moment. Every play counts, every second, and losing that game just like Ole Miss was something that got us going, and it just got us to be a totally different team.
Q. Louis, have you ever been a part of a game that changed so much your season, that really turned things around?
LOUIS MURPHY: No, I haven't. Well, Auburn, yeah, was kind of the same way. But this one in my eyes personally hurt more because I was playing. It hurt, and everybody -- I never seen a team grow together as much, even in '06. The offense didn't gel like we're gelling now, the way we put up points and the way we took on the other teams, we took on a whole different mindset. I really -- I'm thankful for the Ole Miss loss. We see Ole Miss as a good team. We just saw -- who did they play?
Q. Texas Tech.
LOUIS MURPHY: And we lost 31-30, and we bombed out on, what, two field goals and a couple drives we did bad on. But I'm glad for that loss. I'm thankful, and our whole team is because it really was an eye-opener, and it really showed us that this season could end at any time. So we just made sure that we just took every rep and stayed focused and every play just approached each team. Don't overlook any team. I think Ole Miss we were kind of overlooking and looking forward to LSU, and Ole Miss got us. So we started focusing on each team, each week and don't think about anything else.
Q. You guys played well in the last two games without him, but if Percy is back and 100 percent, how nice is that and how much does that help you out as a wide receiver?
LOUIS MURPHY: Man, it helps us out a lot because even when Percy has been gone the last two games I've had a couple double coverages. When Percy is out there, he brings a whole different dynamic to the game. Can't nobody on our team replace Percy; we have to do it as a unit. When he comes back, it's just going to open up the game so much more, the inside game, the running game. So that's pretty much it.
I mean, the line sees the difference.
MAURKICE POUNCEY: We love when Percy is in there. It slows everything down.
Q. I asked Watkins the same question and I'll ask you guys: Do you ever get annoyed at Tebow when you're on the bus and you have to wait for him to sign all those autographs and you're hungry?
MAURKICE POUNCEY: Tebow has the frame of anybody -- I'm glad Tebow has that for himself. We pretty much take it like that. We joke about it, if anything.
LOUIS MURPHY: It's kind of cool being with a rock star.
Q. I'm trying to understand the dynamic of this offensive coordinator situation. You have two right now. How are you guys approaching that? Do you go talk to Coach Mullen, Coach Addazio? What's that like knowing that one is on his way out and there's a new one coming in?
LOUIS MURPHY: Really it hasn't changed anything. We have a lot of mature players on the team. Everybody is a grown man. Everybody has matured.
I think if it was last year, it would be a big problem, but this year everybody knows that you have to better your life. Everybody knows that you have to move on eventually, and everybody just handles it that way. There's a lot of jokes, a lot of comments, but other than that, everybody wanted Coach Mullen back, everybody wanted him here with us, because we don't want to break routine. That's how it was.
I don't think it's distracted any of us. We're all thankful, and it's a blessing for Coach Mullen, and we're just going to after this game go ahead and try to play our best and do what we do and keep on moving.
Q. Phil, this one is for you: SEC media day I remember you said how bad of a singer Tim Tebow was. Jason was in here before and said that he is actually trying to prepare himself for "American Idol". Have you given them any coaching? And will you manage them if they go big-time?
PHIL TRAUTWEIN: Watkins is? I actually never heard him sing, not once. I never heard him sing. I'd love to hear him sing, I guess, if he's that good.
LOUIS MURPHY: Jason Watkins said he's going to be on "American Idol"?
MAURKICE POUNCEY: Was he serious? He was just trying to impress you all.
Q. Not that you guys haven't scored points, but the amount Oklahoma has scored is just pretty unbelievable. Do you take it sort of personally that you have to keep up in this game?
MAURKICE POUNCEY: I don't think we're going to play keep-up. I think it's going to be a good game. Both teams are going to go out and play hard and physical. It's the last game of the year. The biggest game of the year, and everybody is going to be watching, and everybody has to go out there and put on a performance. It's the last game.
Q. The defensive guys were in here yesterday, and it seemed like they just let loose, had a little fun, and you guys are kind of the same way. Tebow does get a lot of media coverage, and you get guys covered a lot in Gainesville, but are you guys enjoying this moment, being able to be out here in front of everybody and let loose a little bit?
LOUIS MURPHY: Man, I'm taking it all in. I was here in '06, and this year I've got a name tag (laughter). I was in the back, like they'd school me out the picture. Right now, man, I'm just taking it all in. I'm loving it.
I mean, they weren't here the '06 year, so this is their first time, and they've reached the pinnacle of college football. I'm soaking it all in because I know how it is to be on that other side and still in the bed right now sleeping. I'm just sucking it all in.
MIKE POUNCEY: We're linemen, so we don't really care. We had to wake up an hour and a half early for a full padded practice in a couple of hours. We would have rather been sleeping.
JOHN HUMENIK: Fellas, thank you very much. Good luck to you.
End of FastScripts