One of the Bam Bam Kids appeared to separate himself from the other a little bit in the spring. Defensive tackle Tedarrell Slaton did it by blowing up running plays in scrimmages and practices, explosive bursts that certainly got the attention of the coaching staff.
So Slaton may have nudged ahead of his Bam Bam brother — Elijah Conliffe. At least that’s the perception.
But that’s not to say Conliffe did not also make significant progress in the spring. He did. It just wasn’t always as obvious.
“Elijah’s been a pleasant surprise,” UF defensive line coach Sal Sunseri said. “He’s done a very good job. I see a big, strong guy that’s doing pretty good. I’m extremely pleased with the way he understands it and he learns it. He’s been a very good student of the game. He takes a lot of pride in it.
“When he’s not with us, he’s studying football, he’s taking care of his academics, and he’s shown what I think of the idea of trying to teach these guys to be pros.
“You just don’t think about football when you’re here for the two-and-a-half hours. When you’re going home at night and you’re done with your homework, you need to be studying tape, seeing what you need to get better at and applying the process.”
Conliffe and Slaton were given the nickname the Bam Bam Kids by former coach Jim McElwain last fall. Both were true freshmen who reported at well over 300 pounds and earned their way into the playing rotation last season.
Conliffe showed this spring that he’s a coachable kid, and he’s been soaking up the knowledge from Sunseri, who is considered one of the top defensive line coaches in college football.
“I feel a lot more technically sound because of coaching,” Conliffe said. “Coach Sal, he’s on me constantly and he’s helping me get better. He’s very hard on you, but he’s going to teach you everything thing you need to know (to be successful).”
With Conliffe and Slaton both improving under Sunseri this spring, the Bam Bam Kids could have a much more significant impact in 2018 than in their first season.
They appear to be growing into the Bam Bam Men.