Five questions with Florida defensive back Kaiir Elam

Graham Hall
Special to The Sun
Florida defensive back Kaiir Elam pulls in an interception over Vanderbilt wide receiver Chris Pierce Jr. (19) during the fourth quarter of the Nov. 21 game at Vanderbilt Stadium.

Florida sophomore defensive back Kaiir Elam:

Q: What was the key to stopping Kentucky’s offense in the second half?

A: We just had to figure out how Kentucky was trying to attack us in the run game, and once we stopped that, we shut all their plans down.

Q: What’s it going to take for the defense to play “a complete game” against Tennessee?

A: Honestly, I think it starts from within. Every day of practice, just really coming out and executing on all cylinders from start to finish in practice. And hopefully that will translate to the game. I feel like as leaders, we need to do a better job of getting our teammates — if we see any slack or any lack of effort, or any communication — to lock guys in and make sure we focus. Because I feel like we’re super talented, we’re very talented, enough to go win a national championship or an SEC Championship, but now we need to start playing like it from first to last quarter.

Q: How much does it help knowing Florida’s offense is capable of scoring quickly and often?

A: I think it’s pretty cool. Honestly, I feel like we just have to get stops, get turnovers, give them back the ball, and I feel like they have the ability to score every time they touch the ball, every time the offense touches the field. So, I feel like it’s very helpful for a defense, especially a defense that — we kind of struggled at the beginning of the season. So they really give us energy and motivation every time they score, so we compete every day to dominate each other or win, and I feel like it’s amazing. And I think their energy translates to us, and when we’re out there, our energy translates to them. So I think it needs to be balanced at this point.

Q: How would it feel to stop Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano on Saturday?

A: I think it’s less on him and more on us to really show improvement from last (week) to this game. I think our goal every week is to go 1-0, but it's also to improve from our last game. So, I think it's on us to improve from where, we had three interceptions, maybe we can try to get more, or more turnovers in general. So, I think that's really our goal, going into this game.

Q: Mentioned those three interceptions, all in the second half against Kentucky, is that the turnover margin this defense expects to have each week? And what does it say about the team’s potential?

A: Yeah, turnovers in any type of form — interceptions, forced fumbles, anywhere we can get it, honestly. You know, three-and-outs, we try to do it all, so, I mean, I think that's a goal going into a game, but I feel like turnovers, any type of manner, is what we're trying to do. I feel like we’re the most talented defense in the SEC. I feel like we have all the tools to be great. I feel like now it's on us to execute, listen to coach (Todd) Grantham, and execute and really step up our game from week to week.