Bostic earns praise for physical, mental growth
Published: Monday, August 20, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 11:43 p.m.
Senior linebacker Jon Bostic’s resume reinforces the claim that he is one of the top players on Florida’s defense.
He led the Gators in tackles (94) last season and was one of three UF defenders to make the coaches’ 2012 preseason All-SEC second team. Bostic is also on the watch list for this year’s Lombardi Award (top linebacker or lineman) and Butkus Award (top linebacker).
But Bostic isn’t resting on his laurels as he goes through training camp this month.
“I want to improve,” he said.
How did Florida defensive coordinator Dan Quinn react to Bostic’s comment?
“That fires me up,” Quinn said.
It was Quinn, however, who lit the fire under Bostic.
After “self-scouting” this offseason, Quinn and his staff made a profile tape for every returning player on defense that showed what they did well in 2011 and what they needed to improve on.
“I’ve done that for awhile,” Quinn said. “I think it’s been good just to let everybody know, ‘this is where you’re at and this is the skill-set you have and this is where I think you can get better.’ So that does fire me up to know that this guy (Bostic) really cares about developing his skills and developing as a player.”
Based on Bostic’s attitude, it appears he has bought in to Quinn’s method.
“There are things I see on film every day,” Bostic said, “and I ask myself, ‘why did I do that?’ So there are a lot of things I want to improve this season and I’m not trying to stay satisfied.”
Each player’s profile tape had three critical things they needed to work on heading into preseason. For Bostic, they were tackling at the line of scrimmage, inside blitz technique and in-season preparation of opponents.
Bostic has shown improvement in all three areas through the first two weeks of practice, Quinn said.
“He’s a conscientious guy,” Quinn said. “So if he says, ‘hey, these are the things I want to do,’ he would. You see him in the meeting room taking notes and that’s one of the things on the first night I was most pleased about.”
In addition to his focus in meetings and film sessions, Bostic’s body has had one of the most noticeable transformations on the team under first-year Florida strength coach Jeff Dillman. He’s up to 246 pounds and his new frame is helping him improve on the field.
“I feel like I’ve gotten a lot stronger,” Bostic said. “I feel like I’ve gotten a lot more explosive than I was in the past. I can’t really tell you why. Going into spring, I felt I was able to use my hands a lot more than I was in the past and I felt that really helped me going through spring and into two-a-days now.”
Quinn said Bostic’s added strength will give him more confidence against opposing offenses this fall.
“When you’re really strong, there’s like a confidence level that you have,” Quinn said. “You can see that confidence level where I’m able to impose my will and use my strength and make them deal with me. And I think that added confidence — when you bring that on to the field — is really something you look for where I can play at the line of scrimmage more aggressive and I can play bump-and-run tighter. Those are the kind of things I think are impressive (with Bostic).”