Floyd, D-line shine in spring game

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd helped pressure John Brantley in florida's spring game on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of UF Communications)

Published: Monday, April 11, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 11, 2011 at 12:00 a.m.

Sharrif Floyd has a message for Gator fans concerned about their team's offense in Saturday's Orange and Blue spring game.

“I wouldn't call John Brantley's play today a struggle,” he said. “I would call it not enough room. Me and Dominique Easley, we collapsed the pocket. That's one of our main goals. We forced offensive linemen into his face and he had to roll out. That's just how our defensive line plays. We play physical and fast.”

Floyd, the massive sophomore defensive tackle who anchored the Gators defensive line, had a standout performance. He tied for the team lead with four tackles, three of them for a loss of yardage.

In all, Florida's first- and second-team offenses mustered few yards or points against the Gator defense. Coach Will Muschamp gave credit to his defensive line.

“A lot of the coverage today had to do with a good four-man rush, and there was a tremendous push in the pocket on every snap,” he said.

Floyd said he, Easley and fellow sophomore Ronald Powell expect to break through in 2011 and put their turbulent freshman season in the past. The three were so highly touted coming out of high school, questions of work ethic and entitlement followed throughout a difficult season in 2010.

“So much was expected but most of it wasn't in our hands,” Floyd said. “Our play was in our hands but us getting sent on the field wasn't our call. We're young. The coaches wanted people with experience, so that wasn't mostly our fault. Last year we felt as though we should have been out there more. So this year we wanted to change all that, and I think we did.

“The d-line has come very far. Inside we're young, the young starters, and outside we've got some young players, too. I felt as though we did our job and we did it well.”

Powell echoed the sentiment of a defensive line that is growing up, getting better and moving forward.

“As individuals we're good players, but together we can be great,” he said.

Said Floyd: “We can be one hell of a force if we really, really come together and get it done. ... We will be.”

That kind of maturity no doubt pleases Muschamp, who foresees a major impact from the three talented sophomores.

“They are disruptive players inside,” he said. “Dominique is extremely quick with his first step. He's got great initial quickness, punch and power, good change of direction. Sharrif is a really good football player who's starting to feel blocks inside. Ronald's a power player on the edge, he's a very powerful young man, plays with great effort, plays with great toughness, plays the way we want to play at Florida so I'm very pleased with his effort to this point.”

Muschamp's one caveat?

“They're good football players and they need to stay grounded with where they are.”

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