UF's McCray stepping up

Florida's Lerentee McCray, at left, and Dominique Easley, at right, celebrate with Gator fans after defeating Texas A&M 20-17 during the teams' inaugural game at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, Saturday, September 8, 2012.

Doug Finger/Staff Photographer
Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 7:39 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, September 30, 2012 at 7:39 p.m.

As the No. 10 Florida football team enters October, three of its four defenders injured in the first month of the season are scheduled to return to action.


Who: No. 4 LSU (5-0) at No. 10 Florida (4-0)
When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850

The one player who won’t be back for UF is Buck linebacker Ronald Powell. The junior re-injured his surgically repaired ACL in early September and will redshirt this year.

Fortunately for the Gators, Lerentee McCray has allowed them to withstand the loss of Powell. The redshirt senior switched to Powell’s position after his injury in the spring game and hasn’t looked back.

“In our offseason, we gave a list of things that the young men can work on in the weight room, watching film, and different things they needed to get better at,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “Lerentee is a very coachable guy. He listened and he understood what his weaknesses were and what he needed to improve on.”

McCay’s work has paid off, as he leads all UF defensive ends with 10 tackles. He’s also one of just five defenders with a sack and one of only two to force a fumble. Muschamp named him defensive player of the game for Tennessee after recording two tackles (one for a loss), two quarterback hurries and an interception that set up Florida’s first touchdown.

“He's a guy that's really enhanced his pass rush abilities,” Muschamp said. “He's flipped his hips in the rush, he can be a 'stand up and move around' guy, he can do a lot of things for us. He's a great leader, he's a guy that goes out and works hard every single day and he's a great example for our football team and our younger players.”

McCray is also recognized by the older ones.

“He pretty much can do it all,” senior UF linebacker Jon Bostic said. “He can drop in coverage. He can rush the quarterback. He’s physical. He’s everything you want in a player.”

And everything the Gators needed with Powell out.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top