Florida Gators wide receiver, Ricky Pearsall, discusses the importance of getting the offense to start faster on the road and the need to open up the offense ahead of the upcoming matchup against South Carolina.
Q. What are some of the things that you think need to happen with this offense to get started faster on the road? We just talked to Billy and he said that’s huge for you guys this week. What needs to happen, do you think?
RICKY PEARSALL: Just continuing to emphasize that in practice each and every day. I think that’s where it starts, first and foremost, is you practice how you play. So come to practice with great energy and encourage all the guys as a leader.
Q. Billy said a couple weeks ago after that loss on the road to Kentucky that there was a little bit of embarrassment. Are you guys sensing that maybe there’s a sense that you want to show a little bit of redemption on the road going back?
RICKY PEARSALL: For sure. I think all the guys are well aware of we haven’t played our best ball on the road. So just continuing to emphasize that throughout the locker room. And we’ve got to highlight that each and every day.
We obviously know best that we haven’t been playing our best ball on the road. So continuing to nail that into all the guys’ heads. And everything’s got to be even more detailed throughout this week heading into that environment.
Q. Is there anything operationally, like, once the ball is live that you feel like you guys need to do better that maybe through six weeks look at and go, this needs to improve for sure?
RICKY PEARSALL: I think it’s more of we’ve got to continue to build that momentum within the start of the game and come out playing fast. I think that’s always encouraging for the guys when we go out there and we’re in a game environment and we’re just clicking on all cylinders. And I think it just gives each guy confidence throughout the game.
Q. 25 points in two road games, how much of an onus is it on the offense in terms of, like you said, starting fast and operation throughout the game in this kind of game on the road?
RICKY PEARSALL: It’s definitely a big urgency for us. They’re going to put on a hostile environment, a good environment for us to come there. It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be noisy. And as an offense we have to have better communication when you step into environments like that.
So making sure we emphasize that and continue to stress the urgency throughout practice, prepare for that.
Q. Talking about tweaks to make to get better on the road and stuff. You mentioned emphasizing sleep on a Wednesday night. Do you guys lose sleep going — I know you can speak for yourself but how big of an issue is that when you go on the road and — have you ever said I wish I had gotten eight hours instead of six?
RICKY PEARSALL: I think it’s more being a student-athlete in general. We don’t get as much sleep as maybe other people just because how busy our schedules are. Especially if you’re a dedicated guy you have a system and way of doing things.
And if you’re sticking to that and obviously want to get extra work in, I think you’re not going to get as many hours as maybe somebody that’s not doing that.
But Coach has done a good job of getting players’ feedback on certain things. And I think sleep was one of those. We just had a leadership meeting and we emphasized getting more rest throughout the week. Obviously sleep is the best recovery tool that we have. Getting more hours of sleep is going to help.
Q. Do you think with all these guys most (inaudible) how much you sleep?
RICKY PEARSALL: We don’t really have anything that’s going to track it. But we actually just did this new thing on teamwork. We have a sleep questionnaire that we fill out, so all the guys are required to do that each and every morning.
Q. Tre Wilson and Arlis catching the ball in the middle of the field, how does that open up the whole offense from your standpoint?
RICKY PEARSALL: It’s definitely going to open up the offense, having more guys out there making plays. They see it on film, the other team sees it on film. They’ll have to guard that. That’s going to benefit us across all cylinders. Obviously passing the ball will open up the run game, vice versa, the run game is going to open up the pass game. So we all kind of play with each other on that. For sure, I hope so.
Q. Tre Wilson and Andy Jean contribute to the season, two freshmen. What kind of mentor are you trying to be for those guys?
RICKY PEARSALL: Just to make sure they can operate in the building as a pro and just being a pro every single day, whatever it takes, having a set schedule each and every day. Make sure they’re handling their business. Don’t get complacent.
But those are both two really talented young guys. I’m super excited for them. I think they have a lot going for them, and I’m excited for them moving forward.
Q. Seen a lot of reverses from you guys this year. How effective do you think that’s been for the offense and being able to showcase it more?
RICKY PEARSALL: I think it’s really good to put on tape for defenses to see because obviously we have a lot of motions, run a lot of motions, a lot of (indiscernible) motions. And being able to pull the guy away from the run game is going to be really important for us. It will open up the hole a little bit bigger, get people out of the box.
Q. What’s it going to take to maybe get a little more down field?
RICKY PEARSALL: Honestly, I don’t really know the answer to that. But I’ve just got to execute whatever is planned for me. And whatever the play call is, regardless if it’s run play or pass play, I’ve got to go out there and get open and give my full effort.
If it’s blocking for one of my guys in the backfield, if that’s what it is. And if it’s running a pass play, I have to get open for Graham and be available for him.
Q. What’s it say about — the downfield throwing isn’t quite there at times but otherwise seems to really be making the best of every opportunity?
RICKY PEARSALL: He’s just a football guru. He’s a dedicated guy. He’s constantly in the film room. He’s constantly with Coach O’Hara watching film, and I’ll sneak in there sometimes and just kind of see what they’re talking about and maybe gain some new knowledge and information I need, just being on the same page.
He’s just one of those guys that’s super involved and wants to know about everything, each and every detail about defenses. And obviously I think that’s helped him tremendously.
And as a receiver we’ve got to help him. We’ve got to get open, be available for him in each and every way we can.
Q. Feels like every week just about talking more explosiveness in the passing game, getting down field more. Anything stand out for you that you can create more opportunity into being more explosive? What do you think about that aspect of offensive play so far this season?
RICKY PEARSALL: Being a receiver, I’ve just got to do my job. That’s the only thing I’m worried about is doing my job and how I can help the players around me and my own teammates.
For me it doesn’t really matter what we’re calling as long as we’re executing it and going out and giving our full effort, and making sure I’m doing my job and the dude next to me is doing their job.
It takes 11 guys in order to have success on certain things like that. I think we’ve just got to make sure that we emphasize certain things like that in practice and work at it. That’s the only thing we can do is move on and focus on what we can do in that moment in time.
Photo credit: Molly Kaiser, UAA Communications