Notebook: Fowler, Bullard making strides


Florida freshman defensive lineman Dante Fowler, left, works to get past freshman offensive lineman D.J. Humphries in camp. (Photo courtesy of UF Communications)

Published: Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 6:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 6:10 p.m.

Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said he's been impressed with highly rated true freshman defensive linemen Dante Fowler and Jonathan Bullard, but that it's too early to project how much they will play this season.

“I haven't really been too far down that road yet,” Quinn said. “I'm waiting to see how we come through another scrimmage. I'm into camp mode right now. I want to grind everyone hard. Then I'll let that slip (how much Fowler and Bullard will play) as we're moving forward.”

Quinn said both are impressing in camp.

“Fowler plays with a lot of power,” he said. “He's really strong through his lower body. If he can get underneath you, he can knock you back.

“Bullard is the same way. He has some size and length. You get him on the perimeter and he pushes the pocket. He needs to learn to get off (blocks).”

While Quinn was being asked about the two five-star defensive linemen, he threw out the name of another true freshman — linebacker Antonio Morrison, an early enrollee and one of the defensive stars of the spring game.

“Antonio Morrison continues to impress,” he said. “He's a very physical linebacker. We're playing him at Mike (middle linebacker) and Will (weakside linebacker). He really answers the bell when you challenge him. He's somebody I'm impressed with so far as a rookie.”

Improved pass rush?

Quinn said the Gators have been working hard on generating a strong pass rush, something that was missing most of last season.

“That's one of the things we came out of the offseason saying, how are we going to generate pressure and affect the quarterback more?” he said. “Having (linebacker) Neiron Ball back, and Lerentee McCray back, and adding some of the new players in the system … now we can spend a good bit of time on that area.

“I'm anxious to put that out there and show that.”

Elam looking explosive

Quinn said the rigorous offseason strength and conditioning program has made a noticeable difference in junior safety Matt Elam's play.

“The training he's done, you can see the explosive movement happening more quickly,” he said. “The way he can hit, the way he can tackle, the way he can break on the ball. He looks more explosive from the training he's done.”

Quinn, a former NFL assistant, said Elam is pretty much physically and mentally ready for the NFL.

“I think he would be (if he comes out after his junior season),” he said.

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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