Five questions with … Cristian Garcia

File photo of senior linebacker Cristian Garcia. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Florida senior linebacker:

Q: How has David Reese done assuming the role of a leader?

A: Filling the void of Jarrad and Alex. He’s done a great job. The thing that’s improved the most with him is his preparation from week to week. I think at the beginning of the year he didn’t really understand what it meant to prepare film room-wise. Right now he’s rolling and he’s hitting the books every night. He’s definitely improved a lot and he’s the leader of this defense.

Q: Has this team lacked leadership this year?

A: Yeah, definitely. I think where the leadership is lacking is not so much in the speaking but in the example. We had so many older guys on the team last year. Maybe Jalen Tabor and Marcus Maye and Q (Quincy Wilson), they weren’t big speaking guys, but they came out here to work, they watched film and they worked on their craft. That’s really what’s been missing. From a senior I’ve tried to do that every day, come out and work and show the guys what they have to do. It’s definitely been hard because we don’t have as many leaders and as many seniors. I think this team will be all right in the future because they’re all going to grow up and get a great head coach next year.

Q: What’s the feeling like with all these injuries?

A: You just get the punch and you keep moving. That’s all you can really do. Coach Skip (Tim Skipper) tells us we can’t get hurt. I’ve been getting an injection in my shoulder every week (to play), so I might be limited these next two weeks because of what’s happened. We just take the punches and roll. That’s’ all you can really do.

Q: How will this senior class be remembered?

A: I think what we’ll be remembered for was our tenure with Coach Mac. We made it to back-to-back SEC Championship Games. It’s been a tough ride. We’re so close to these coaches, these guys are like father figures to us. That’s really the toughest part. Seeing what they have to go through now, moving their families, getting new jobs. That’s been the toughest part.

Q: Any changes with Chris Rumph calling the defensive plays?

A: No big changes. We still run the same calls. I think he tries to simplify it a little because we do have a lot of younger guys on the field. I mean, definitely simplification. It’s great because our guys won’t make mistakes, but it’s easier to gameplan for us. It’s like a win-lose situation. We’ll see how it goes on from here.