Sophomore D-lineman learning from UF’s best

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Florida defensive end Elijah Conliffe. [Lauren Bacho/Gainesville Sun]

Playing nose tackle is a physically demanding and sometimes thankless job.

It’s not for everybody.

But it is for Florida’s Elijah Conliffe. He loves it.

“It’s a really tough position, but I want to live that life,” said the sophomore from Hampton, Va.

That life includes having 650 pounds of offensive linemen crashing down on you on occasion with those bone-jarring double teams from the center and guard.

Conliffe embraces them as well.

“Getting them every day at practice, it just makes me better,” the 6-foot-4, 317-pound Conliffe said. “You really have to stay low with those and work on your stability.

“Seeing (my teammates) make plays after you eat up a double team, it makes you feel you’re helping out your teammates. They are where they want be and you’re helping out yourself as well.”

To perfect his craft, Conliffe has been watching tape of nose guards who have played for defensive line coach Sal Sunseri in the past. He’s also learned some aspects of playing the position from former UF teammate Taven Bryan, a first-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“From Taven I learned get-off is the best thing that makes a D-linemen really great,” he said. “And his hands, great. I always talk to Taven all the time.

“I talk to Taven just to get advice because I really look up him. (He tells) Just keep working on my get-off, my twitch. You’ve got to have fast twitch and good hands.”

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