Gators look to Auburn


Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2005 at 3:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 12, 2005 at 3:59 p.m.

Billy Donovan Media Luncheon 1/10/05

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Opening Statement:

"We'll be playing a team on Wednesday that is very difficult to play against because of their ability to shoot the three. Not only do they shoot the three, they have guys on the perimeter that have the ability to put the ball on the floor and drive it to the basket.

They've got a combination of both things. If you get out there and pressure them and take away the three-point line, they've got the explosiveness and athletic ability to put it on the floor and get by you.

To me, they are a very hard team to play against and guard. Obviously from a size standpoint, with the loss of Killingsworth and Davis from last year, they aren't as big up front as they were.

But in my opinion - from last year to this year - they are much more difficult to guard because we had an idea where Davis and Killingsworth were going to be most of the time.

These guys open it up and they are going to take a lot of threes and let it go. Any time you play a team like that on the road, in the gym where they practice, the ball is in favor of Auburn.

We've got a lot to prepare for today and tomorrow to get ready to play them."

On playing at Auburn:

"I hope (the Florida State) game helped us get better as a basketball team. We've got two road games this week in Auburn and Vanderbilt.

Our total focus is on Auburn right now. I hope we respond a little better than we did in Tallahassee a week or so ago.

We had a great opportunity for our basketball team to improve (last week in practice) but I don't know how our young guys will do because this is our second road game."

On Auburn's defense:

Auburn is a little different defensively because they double and change their defenses and do a lot of different things.

They play zone and they'll do some run-and-jump coming out of timeouts or after free throws.

They are a basketball team that changes for the sake of changing. Overall, when you look at them defensively, sometimes they invite you to take quick, early jump shots because of their lack of size up front. In my opinion, there will be a lot of open shots on the perimeter.

But we have got to balance between inside and outside (shooting) in this basketball game.

I don't think we want to get into a situation where we want to match them three-point shot to three-point shot because they have a lot more three-point shooters than we do."

On Matt Walsh:

"He's getting better but I don't anticipate him coming back for four to six weeks, unless we get a miraculous discovery.

He has not been able to run at all. He got the boot taken off his foot this morning and he can walk without the boot.

The trainers have him taped up and he will get an air cast that fits inside his shoe. But Matt Walsh will not be Matt Walsh the rest of this year.

When he does come back, you have to understand that this is an injury that will take him until the end of this season to get back to the way he is capable of playing.

I think people think that once we get Matt back, he'll pick up where he left off. That's the furthest thing from the truth.

We've got to understand that Matt coming back will help our team, but I'd be sadly mistaken if I thought Matt Walsh will come back and pick up where he left off."

On the Southeastern Conference this year:

"Our RPI is down to about the lowest it's been heading into conference play in a long time.

A lot of that has to do with some of the losses that our league took in November and December.

One of the reasons why Vanderbilt is doing what they are doing is because they have a lot of experience and older guys.

Our league as a whole will get a lot better as we move into late January or early February.

There are certain teams relying on new faces, and that just takes time."

On Corey Brewer being able to pressure without drawing fouls:

"Taurean and Corey have the most defensive potential on our team, but they are two of the worst defenders on our team.

Corey is always in passing lanes and reaching at the ball. But a lot of times he takes himself out of defensive position.

For instance, at the end of the game on Saturday, Ronnie Brewer got by him a few times because he took himself out of defensive position.

Sometimes those guys aren't getting fouls because they aren't in place.

Corey has a lot of potential defensively. People look at the spectacular plays he makes when he runs through passes and gets in passing lanes and that happens a couple times a game. But there are also times when he gets beat too much.

He needs to be a lock-down defender with his length so he can knock down threes and keep people in front of him."

On the experience of the freshmen:

"They make a lot of mistakes but I know they will gain from them. There are some things that I wish I could fast-forward with their experience. Unfortunately, they have to go through these things."

On defending the arc:

"One of the things with our basketball team right now is if you take the four games going into Arkansas, our opponents have shot 46-percent against us from the three-point line.

A lot of that has had to do with us over-hoping in certain situations and not being in the right defensive position or losing sight of the basketball.

Our guys have a better understanding of how important it is to take advantage of the three from an offensive standpoint and how important it is to defend it."

On Auburn's Tony Douglas:

"I thought he was a very good player. I'm impressed with what he has done.

For him to come in as a freshman and lead the conference in scoring, he is going to be a great player.

He fits into Auburn's system very well, and he's another guy we will have to deal with on the perimeter."

On Adrian Moss possibly having surgery:

"From what I gather from the doctors, surgery comes when the herniation is hitting against a nerve.

The hernia he has, I believe, is actually going forward towards his stomach.

He's not having any numbness or pain in his legs. He's going to have to deal with it and it will hopefully correct itself.

I thought Adrian came in and played very hard and gave us a great effort.

He wants to contribute more and help more, but we have to get more minutes out of him in practice to get his timing and rhythm back. I don't think anything but rest will help him."

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