Florida running back Dameon Pierce answers five questions ahead of Gasparilla Bowl

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports

The Gasparilla Bowl will be the final collegiate game for more than two dozen Florida players, including senior running back Dameon Pierce. 

Pierce leads all UF tailbacks with 87 carries for 517 yards and 12 touchdowns, which ranks fourth in the SEC. He also has 18 receptions for 217 yards and three more scores.

What does this game mean to you personally, and why are you playing in it?

A: Why? Because I’m a Gator, bro. When I signed here, I signed for four good years, to get my education and I’m going to rock out that way until I die, you know? Just wanna end the season off the right way. Had a lot of ups and downs. Probably didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but we’ve got to go out with a win.

Florida Gators running back Dameon Pierce (27) scores in the second half against Florida State on Nov. 27 in Gainesville.

What has the transition been like with the new coaching staff? 

A: It’s really been smooth, honestly. The new staff and the old staff mesh well, honestly. They’re here now, both of the staffs. It just feels like family. Whether it’s the old staff or new staff, they’re going to come in and hold us to a certain standard. We’re going to have to live up to that.

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What was your first impression of head coach Billy Napier? 

A: Man, he spoke to the team, it was a Monday. He just got off the jet, landed in Gainesville and met with us. I like the guy. I like the guy. He’s a good guy. From what I’m hearing from various people on the staff, he’s very people-oriented. He wants to make a personal relationship with you. He does that with everyone individually. He just wants to know you personally and that means a lot, seeing that a coach is taking extra effort to know you personally, to know your background, to get a vibe of you. He’s probably going to take from what he learned about you and apply that to his coaching style. It’s really important to me. And it’s not only him, it’s the staff as a whole. They’re very people-oriented. They passed the first impression with me.

UCF talks about how excited they are to play this game, what about you guys? 

A: Yeah man. With it being a state of Florida game, everybody knows someone from over there. It’s a little friendly competition, a competition nonetheless, you know. We’re still gonna go out there and play ball. The ball is still gonna be on the grass. It’ll just probably be a little more talking between the whistles.

Florida Gators running back Dameon Pierce (27) runs the ball as Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Isaiah McGuire (9) attempts the tackle during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium.

With the draft process upcoming, what do you want to prove over the next couple of months? 

A: Really just want to prove that I'm a great football player and a great person to go along with it. I’ll fit in with any team, I’m dedicated to what I do, and if I don't know what I'm doing, I’m gonna try to figure it out. I’m just not one of the guys who sits around lost. And, it’s really not proving anyone, it’s proving myself more than anything. I just want to go out and be the best player I can be, the best version of myself I can be.