Graham Mertz, Ricky Pearsall discuss career days in comeback vs South Carolina

by | Oct 15, 2023 | 0 comments

In a fourth quarter comeback, Florida Gators quarterback Graham Mertz had a career-high of 423 passing yards and tied his season-high in passing touchdowns with three. Wide receiver Ricky Pearsall also had a career-high of 10 receptions and set his career-high with 166 receiving yards. Both players discussed their performances and more after the big road win.


Graham Mertz, QB

On the comeback…
“The last drive was a little wild. When you’re first, second, third down don’t go right and then fourth down I knew they were bringing some pressure. I knew I had man coverage. I knew Ricky, slot C, came out of it. Credit to all the coaches. We rep that all the time. We talk about all the time when you get a defender in trail mode and his head is facing the receiver you can’t catch a ball behind your head. So, I gave Ricky a chance to make a play and he does what he always does and just made a great play.”

On having the performance he had…
“It’s a blast. I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. I’m not really consumed by the stats. I’m truly just having the most just genuine fun I’ve ever had in my life, during the week, in meetings, on gamedays. I want to win with this team. Stats are good, but it’s not my main focus. I just want to help this team win.”

On starting hot and this week’s preparations…
“One thing I’m extremely proud about, like you said, is the week of prep. I think it’s across the board. The urgency from the coaching staff to the support staff to the players. Across the board there was a sense of just complete urgency. Like everything we do we are starting fast whether it’s a workout, whether that’s film, whether that’s a team meeting, across the board I think that translated to tonight and I’m really thankful for that.”

On Eugene Wilson III’s tip drill catch…
“Crazy heads-up play. It was a bad ball. I threw it behind Ricky [Pearsall] and it could’ve gone in another direction. I owe a bunch of credit to [Eugene Wilson III] there. That was a huge play.”

Ricky Pearsall, WR

On the importance of the win…
“It was really important for us, especially being a road game. We needed a road win. We’ve been emphasizing it this entire week. Starting fast, putting the pressure on them right away. I’m just proud of the guys for doing that. I just remember coming into this stadium right away and looking at everyone in their eyes. They looked ready. That was one of the first times I’ve really seen everyone in the locker room just locked in and ready. I think that just starts at practice. We had a lot of energy throughout this week. Just proud of everyone.”

On the mood of Florida’s sideline before the comeback…
“We’re gonna go down there and win, that’s what I was saying, that’s what I was telling all the guys. I saw, I looked on the sidelines and I saw gator chomping at 10 minutes left, and I said, “ok guys, look in the stands right now, they’re gator chomping. Take that as disrespect. Go down there, and listen, when we get the ball we got to go down there and we gotta score, get the ball back, the defense is gonna stop them, get the ball back and score again and we did that. So hats off to the defense, obviously the o-line, everybody else.”

On the deep ball…
“It felt really good. As a receiver, it felt really good. I think we needed that. It’s going to bring confidence to the room. All of our guys in that room are capable, man. They’re all skilled. You just have to have that mentality to go up and get the ball so I’m proud of the guys.”

On Eugene Wilson III’s tip drill catch…
“Sometimes it takes luck. Really honestly, shoutout to [Eugene Wilson III] that is a really difficult catch, especially being around a hot ball like that and tipping it and being that close together. Just snatching it, not only that, he got yards after the catch.”

Photo credit: Molly Kaiser, UAA Communications

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