5 Questions with … Martez Ivey

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Florida offensive lineman Martez Ivey (73) walks off the field after the Gators' 38-17 loss to Missouri at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Nov. 3. [Brad McClenny/ The Gainesville Sun]

Florida senior offensive tackle:

Q: You have only two more games in The Swamp. What does that mean to you?

A: It’s big to me. I grew up wanting to go to Florida, always. I dreamed about playing in The Swamp. I think it was one Senior Day I watched, it was Andre Debose. He was on everybody’s shoulder pads and he was crying. It just showed how much it meant to be a Gator, how much it meant for him to have the logo on his chest and just to play in The Swamp. I don’t know how I’ll feel when it’s all said and done and it’s my last game here. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Q: How important is it to end strongly for the future of the program under Dan Mullen?

A: Everybody knows what Dan Mullen is doing around here and how he has changed the program significantly and just how good we can be. It’s just about doing the little things, it’s just being technically sound and knowing what to do and how we got to do it and executing it. That’s all. That’s the whole game plan. There’s no funk around here. It’s just execution here. That’s how I see it.

Q: How much have you improved under strength and conditioning coordinator Nick Savage and offensive line coach John Hevesy?

A: I definitely got stronger with Nick. With Coach Hevesy, there’s a lot of learning. He’s a teacher, one of the best coaches I’ve been around because he’s technically sound. He’s all about technique, you know, one-two punch, everything you do is all teaching. He won’t tell you to do something for no reason, everything he does has a reason why. He’s a great teacher. He made me a better player.

Q: Summarize your four years. Have they been a roller coaster?

A: I guess so … not really. Besides last year we had a 10-win season, the second had a nine-win, whatever we had last year. And this year we were going steady, and it’s now not how we wanted to be and how we expected it to be. But guys around here, they’re going to change that. We’re steadily changing the culture each and every day, going out every day and practicing harder, wanting to win, wanting to bring championships back here. I know for a fact it’s going to get done. Once everybody gets used to everything and just starts buying in more and more and more, and steadily increasing and increasing and increasing, I feel like it’s a matter of time before it happens and Florida is going to be an elite program once again.

Q: Are there signs the culture is changing?

A: You can just tell how guys come out, the attitude towards practice. Last year around this time, it was like, whatever, just get in, do what you got to do and leave. That’s all. There’s a chemistry around here. Everybody’s tight and everybody wants to compete. There’s a competitiveness around here. It’s different than it’s been the past couple of years. That makes everything better. It builds chemistry. It builds competition. Everybody wants to win, nobody wants to lose. Once you get that kind of mentality, they built that in, that’s how the culture starts to change.

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