Freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford had an impressive debut in Sanford Stadium last Saturday against Western Kentucky. Stafford was 3 of 5 passing for 40 yards and one touchdown along with a 19-yard rush on a scramble. UGASports caught up with the freshman to ask him about the game and going up to Columbia to start SEC play.
UGASports: Has the quarterback depth chart changed since the Western Kentucky game?
Stafford: "As far as I know there has been no change and I am just getting ready for South Carolina."
UGASports: What is your mental preparation going into the South Carolina game?
Stafford: "I am going out there and preparing as if I am going to start and I will do the best I can and study these guys as much as possible to get ready."
UGASports: Is the quarterback position the most harshly judged on the team?
Stafford: "I think so, but I can throw a five yard hitch and the receiver can go 80 yards and I will get the stats for that, so we get helped a little too."
UGASports: What do you think about South Carolina?
Stafford: "They are a very good team and they will definitely ready to play. I watched them play on Thursday and they fly around to the ball. Their defense has a lot of new starters and new faces but they hustle and they are sound on defense. Coach Spurrier is always going to have something going on offense. He is a great coach and he will have them ready to play."
UGASports: With a few days to think about your first game, what are your feelings looking back at the events Saturday?
Stafford: "It was awesome and something I really did not expect to tell you the truth. It was pretty nice to have the people out there behind me like that and that is all you can ask for as a freshman."
UGASports: What quarterback would you compare yourself to style or play wise?
Stafford: "The guys I like and try pattern my game after are (John) Elway and (Brett) Farve. Those are my two favorite guys ever, but I am not even close to what they are doing."
UGASports: What are your personal goals for this season?
Stafford: "Just to help the team win in any way I can. Do whatever the coaches ask me to do to help us get to play for that National Championship."
UGASports: One thing you did in the game Saturday was mix up your passing style throwing normal over hand pass, sidearm passes, and changing speed, is that something you work on?
Stafford: "It is not like on this play I am going to throw sidearm. It more of just an adjustment to what the situation calls for to get the ball in there anyway I can."
UGASports: Do you feel like you have to live up to the hype of being so highly rated coming out of high school?
Stafford: "To tell you the truth high school means nothing right now. As far as how you were recruited and what your ranking was it does not matter. What matters is coming out here and performing and getting the ball to the playmakers, so they can do what they do best."
UGASports: What was the toughest part of the game Saturday for you mentally or physically?
Stafford: "There was not anything tough for me. It was awesome to go out there the first time in Sanford Stadium and get a couple of snaps in to help the offense drive down the field. I threw a touchdown and I never imagined I would do that in my first outing, so I just had a great time and there was not anything hard."
UGASports: What do you expect from the environment going into Columbia with that crowd at night?
Stafford: "It is going to be an awesome place and if you do not like playing away in big games you are not at the right level of football. Everyone here is excited and knows we are going to have a big challenge and we are going to prepare the best we can for what we know is going to be a big game."
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