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January 8, 2009
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA
JOHN HUMENIK: Coach, your general thoughts on tonight.
COACH URBAN MEYER: I'd like to thank Danny Ponce and Eric Poms and the Orange Bowl Committee for a tremendous week. I think the fans got one of the greatest college football games that's occurred. It's certainly one of the great BCS Bowls.
This is a great opportunity for me to thank my players and tell them that I love them, and that was one of the best football teams I've ever had the privilege to be around, certainly one of the best -- I've been a coach now 23-some years, and I've had to rank this either 1 or 1A as far as quality of people, as far as work ethic. And not many people wanted to talk about all the injuries that this group overcame, and to play like they did against the schedule we played and certainly the way they finished the season against FSU and then Alabama and now Oklahoma. So I love them, I'm proud of them, and they're national champs.
JOHN HUMENIK: Tim, your thoughts?
TIM TEBOW: You know, we prepared for a great Oklahoma team, which they were. Coach Stoops did a great job in preparing them, and we knew we were going to have to come in here and fight for four quarters. We didn't execute offensively as I wanted to the whole game, but what I'm so proud of is my teammates came out here and battled for four quarters and played with so much heart, so I'm so proud of them. Also I'd like to thank the Orange Bowl Committee because we had a wonderful week here, and it was just a dream come true.
CARLOS DUNLAP: First of all, I'd like to thank the Orange Bowl Committee, also, on them showing us a great time, putting us in a nice hotel and treating us right and bringing the Florida Gators down to Miami to win a National Championship.
We had a whole month to prepare and constantly Coach Meyer had the scout team running the ball, the whole defense running no-huddle the whole practice, running faster than Oklahoma actually ran it. We had a tough time preparing for Oklahoma, but we knew if we came to play as a defense and played like we can as a defense and got lined up, we knew we could stop Oklahoma.
Q. Tim, could you talk about the first half. It looked like you sailed a couple balls, you missed a couple deep balls. Was it a matter of being a little too fired up or were you struggling?
TIM TEBOW: I think I was off rhythm a little bit early. They were doing some really good things and some things that I personally didn't anticipate they were going to do. Coach Stoops did a great job in game planning and made me hot quite a few times and just tried to get the ball out quick. They did a good job of trying to get to me early on, and we had to try to make some adjustments. But then we just had to get in our rhythm and settle down.
Q. Tim, it seemed like about midway through the second half it also seemed like you decided to maybe call your number and hold the ball a few more times than you did in the first half. Did you consciously think, "I want to take control of this game myself as best I can."
TIM TEBOW: You know, I wanted to do whatever I could to help my team win this game, and if I was trying to run and run some people over, to get the crowd into it, to get the momentum, then that was what I was going to try to do. I'm just happy that we had some open holes and ran and made a few plays, which I think helped get a little momentum.
Q. Would you talk about first off the drive, but also I understand at the half that you kind of told Coach Mullen that you wouldn't mind carrying the ball a little bit more?
TIM TEBOW: Well, I might have mentioned that (laughter). I was just trying to come out here and play with everything I had and leave nothing on that field. But our offensive line did such a good job with that, with some of the Q runs and the pass protections and giving me some holes, I've got to credit them for the runs that we were able to make because they did a great job withstanding that front from Oklahoma and their backers, which are very good players.
Q. Given the fact that Coach Mullen did say you wanted the ball a little bit more in the second half, how physically taxing was the second half for you?
TIM TEBOW: I feel like I was in really good shape coming into this game. I had done a lot of running getting ready for this game, so I felt like I was in great shape. You know, they were hitting, and they were hitting to the whistle, that's for sure, and they were doing a good job of getting to me and trying to get some licks, but I felt my body was able to withstand it, and I felt pretty good when the game ended.
Q. Your impressions of the Oklahoma football team and the Big 12 defense?
TIM TEBOW: I think it's a great conference. I think Oklahoma is coached by a great coach in Coach Stoops. I think they're a great program. I really have a lot of respect for them. It was an honor and a privilege to get a chance to play against them. I'm just truly honored to get a chance to play against them, and they're a great program. Fortunately we were able to come away with this big win, but they're a great program, their defense game up big, and Coach Stoops did a great job game planning.
Q. Carlos, could you talk a little bit about the defensive stops inside the five-yard line you made on Oklahoma the first half?
CARLOS DUNLAP: Defensively they kind of got to us a little, got in the red zone, but as a defense we pulled together and looked to the man next to us and we knew that he was going to come ready to play and made a nice play, and we had to get the bad play, the one big play they made on us, out of our heads, and get ready to make the next play.
Q. Tim, you mentioned the night of the Heisman that you might use losing it to Bradford as motivation. Did you use it?
TIM TEBOW: I try to use anything I can as motivation. I think every player does. You try to use that, everything they said, just everything as motivation.
I don't know if it really mattered because we're playing in the National Championship, so I think you're going to automatically kind of go out there and leave everything on the field.
Q. Tim, you had some words with Nic Harris at the end, a little conversation there. What was that all about? The penalty, was that on you for unsportsmanlike conduct?
TIM TEBOW: I believe it was.
Q. Is that your first one?
TIM TEBOW: I think so.
COACH URBAN MEYER: He's running tomorrow at 6:00 a.m. We'll teach him a lesson (laughter).
TIM TEBOW: I didn't trash talk or say anything, but I did the Gator Chomp; I was pretty excited. Just gave it a little Gator Chomp, and it was also for the fans. I think they kind of enjoyed it.
Q. Were you aware you ran over the official?
TIM TEBOW: I felt bad. I had to help him put his shoe back on and everything (laughter).
JOHN HUMENIK: Again, all questions now for Coach Meyer.
Q. Would you talk about the goal line stand there in the first quarter, and it's 2nd down and 1 at the goal line, and you stop them on 3rd down, then you come back and you make the play again, stop them on 4th down. Would you talk about that goal line stand?
COACH URBAN MEYER: It was certainly one of the game-changing performances, and after the interception we gave the ball deep into territory when we didn't allow a score, either. I think we blocked a field goal.
I'm looking at the stats and it's an intriguing game, 480 yards for almost 500. They had 363. I would have said as the game progressed it was a little more sided towards Oklahoma.
3rd down conversions, 12 of 17. 4 of 4 in the red zone. That's where the game was won. They were 2 of 4 in the red zone, and that has something to do with the question you asked about the turnovers in the red zone. However, the play of the game was Ahmad Black snatching the ball away from the receiver in the third quarter. We're up by three and that's a potential go-ahead touchdown.
Q. Can you talk about the toughness of Percy Harvin bouncing back after the injury at the end of the season?
COACH URBAN MEYER: Yeah, that's one of the -- our trainers, Anthony Pass and Kyle Johnston, have done a great job getting him ready, but the guy that did it is Percy, to think he'd play in this game when it happened, to say that a lot of people -- we tried to stay positive because the worst thing you can do as an athlete is be negative with him. He went straight through, took a day and a half off after the entire time that injury occurred. That was one of the guttiest performances I've ever been around. And to look at the statistics, he had almost 200 yards of total offense for us.
Q. Along those same lines, what were your realistic expectations for Percy entering this game?
COACH URBAN MEYER: Well, I know Percy real well. We've got three years together, and the one thing about the brighter the lights, the better he plays. He's a big-time game performer, a little bit like the guy that just left on my right here. Him and Spikes. Those are the guys that show up in those big time games, SEC Championship games. I expected Percy to play very well.
Q. It's not often you get to play for a National Championship in front of a very partisan, almost-home crowd. I'm wondering how much that meant to you, your team, or is a National Championship a National Championship no matter what?
COACH URBAN MEYER: Well, Danny Ponce is a friend of ours, and also very involved at the University of Florida. He actually offered us the invitation to play in this game four years ago and we took it to go play for the National Championship -- am I allowed to say that, Danny (laughter)?
I was invited to come speak to the Orange Bowl Committee this summer and it was a real treat, and to play in front of your home state with all the recruiting going on this time of year, but also letting Gator Nation really enjoy it. The last time we played was across the country. It was a dream come true for our fans and our staff.
Q. You've got two national titles in four years. Spurrier had one after 12 years. Any thoughts on did you think you'd be able to establish your legacy this quickly?
COACH URBAN MEYER: I never thought about it. I wanted to do my job the best I could and hire a great staff and more importantly recruit some good kids. The beautiful thing about Florida football, two years ago we were a great team and a bad program. I think we're a great team and a great program right now. We have a bunch of good kids, a bunch of guys that have to earn their spots because we have a little bit of depth, but more importantly, it's just a good bunch of guys that I trust, and obviously I trust my life with them. I love these guys.
Q. Following up on that, what does it feel like? You can allow yourself to feel this right now?
COACH URBAN MEYER: I'm not sure I enjoyed that last one enough. I'm going to enjoy this one. You know why, because I've got a team I can trust. Some guys are going to make some decisions on their careers here in the next few days. I know one thing, we've got a very, very good team coming back. So we're going to get to work but we're going to enjoy this one. They deserve it.
Q. The last time after it was over you said, This is going to be great, I'm going to go on and enjoy this. You realized 24 hours later you had all this work cut out for yourself.
COACH URBAN MEYER: We lost our entire defense two years ago. There's a chance we might not lose any players on our defense. Offensively we'll lose a few players but we've also developed some great players.
Two years ago I knew exactly what was coming when Moss and Reggie Nelson and Ryan Smith said they were leaving, we knew. We didn't maybe tell you, but we knew what was coming down the pike.
Q. On your field goal drive Percy had that run down to about the 14 and then he was hurt after that play, looked like the safety kind of yanked on his leg?
COACH URBAN MEYER: No, I heard people were screaming in my headsets about it was a personal foul and everything else. We just feel good he popped up and we went over and he went back in the game.
He got caught a couple times. He didn't play 100 percent. That just tells you how tough he is to play the way he did.
Q. With Dan Mullen taking the job at --
COACH URBAN MEYER: That's a great honor. I'll let you finish this question in a second. Dan has been with me for nine years at Notre Dame as a graduate assistant, then I hired him as a quarterback coach, and then we went to Utah together, now Florida together. He's got a tough job. He's got a real tough job. He's got to assemble a staff, he's got to recruit, but he loves Florida and he loves these players. His professionalism and what he did is to be commended. I know players appreciate it, but University of Florida should really appreciate what he did.
Q. Could you talk about your staff pulling everything together, as well, in his absence?
COACH URBAN MEYER: We were terrific. Steve Addazio, Billy Gonzales, Kenny Carter and John Hevesy did a great job. It wasn't that much different. I mean, everybody has got their assignments. Coach Kenny Carter works in the red zone, Steve Addazio and John Hevesy work protections and our base run game, so that's not going to change and next year is not going to change. There's a system in place and we've hired a new quarterback coach and we've had a lot of success on offense the last eight years, and Dan has been a big part of that, but we've got to move forward.
Q. For the life of me, can you understand how it is that Charlie Strong isn't somebody's head coach?
COACH URBAN MEYER: What a job. Yeah, what a job tonight. I was looking at their stats, and to hold that outfit to whatever, what is it, 14, two touchdowns and 363 yards, that's one of the great coaching jobs of the year and certainly of the last ten years, and he does it -- he's done it many times.
What a great ambassador for college football and a great ambassador for the University of Florida, Coach Strong.
Q. Your thoughts on the close ties of you and Bob Stoops, Bob, of course, close ties to Florida and impressions of his Oklahoma team tonight?
COACH URBAN MEYER: First class outfit, first class university, the way their players played. I've known Coach Stoops, probably known of him longer than I've known him. But I think that was a great college football game between two very well-coached teams and two classy outfits. If you're a fan watching college football, it's all good, watching that game.
Q. To kind of build off that question, one of the bigger question marks for Oklahoma coming into was their running game, losing DeMarco Murray. And I was wonder what you thought of Chris Brown tonight.
COACH URBAN MEYER: The other guy was a 1,000-yard rusher, Chris Brown, and he had 110 against us. They run the stretch play and they have five or four seniors and a guy that plays like a senior.
I think DeMarco Murray, I know DeMarco, we recruited him out of high school and he's a great player, but the guy that stepped in, Chris Brown, did a great job, as well.
Q. When you win national titles, does it make success easier as far as recruiting? I mean, do national titles kind of build upon each other?
COACH URBAN MEYER: I think they do. I think USC was kind of the point school for a while, and you admired the way they reloaded their team, and I made a comment to our administration, if we can find a way to put a really good recruiting class together, it's getting close. We play in a great conference against great teams in our non-conference schedule certainly this year, and we usually schedule pretty rough. We have to be on all points next year, but when you win National Championships, the whole country saw that tonight. You've got to be out of your mind -- I'm not sure if I'm legally -- you're out of your freaking mind if you don't play for the Gators. I'd go. (Laughter).
Q. There was talk all season long that the SEC was down relatively speaking. Tonight conference-wise people said the Big 12 was better than the SEC this year. Did the SEC prove itself tonight?
COACH URBAN MEYER: I don't know, I just love our team. They played well. I think that's all great talk, and you saw the two best teams in America go after each other and play hard, and SEC versus Big 12. I admire what Oklahoma did and the way they played, and I told the coach that, and he told me the same thing, so it's all good.
Q. Could you expound on what you said on the field? You said this was one of the best college football teams in history. Why do you believe that?
COACH URBAN MEYER: Just look what they did. Look at their scores, look at the offense, look at the balance, look at the defense, and it's all relative. That of offense that you saw perform put 480 yards statistically faced more top-25 teams, I want to say nine defenses we faced, nine of our opponents finished in the top-25 in defense. I will do that myself, but one of you guys ought to do a little statistical analysis. That's real important. A lot of people overlook that, who do you play.
Same thing defensively. Our defense finished in the Top 5 in America playing the schedule with play with Miami and FSU as non-conference opponents. They've got my votes as one of the best teams in history.
JOHN HUMENIK: Thank you, Coach. Congratulations.
End of FastScripts