Notebook: Lawing a good fit at UF
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 6:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 6:20 p.m.
Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said new defensive line coach Brad Lawing, who came to UF this winter from South Carolina, has been a good fit on the staff and with the players.
“He's been great,” Durkin said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge of the position, a wealth of knowledge and experience. He's a great staff guy, a great guy to work with.
“He's done a great job molding some of the things he's done for a long time into what we do, putting it into our terms of our scheme. We also changed some things up a little bit how we do it because of how he coaches it. It's worked really well.
“He's a great asset to our staff and our players. Our guys are all seeing it as well. He does a great job.”
Durkin was asked to compare Lawing to former defensive coordinator/line coach Dan Quinn.
“Our guys all love him and respect him,” Durkin said of Quinn. “They also love and respect coach Lawing now just as being different.
“They have a different approach how they do things. Both guys are effective how they communicate with our players. Our players have responded to both guys. It's been good.”
This spring's Morrison?
After Antonio Morrison's strong spring last year, the Gators have another true freshman linebacker who is making a favorable early impression — Daniel McMillian from Jacksonville First Coast.
“He shows flashes of what we thought it was, which is a guy that has unbelievable ability and talent,” Durkin said. “He'll be a great player eventually.
“He's still learning the defense, which is common for a freshman and a guy his age. It's coming in flashes right now. We'd like him to be more consistent. It's not there yet, but he'll be fine. He's going through the normal process.”
Riggs makes adjustment
One of the big moves of the spring was Cody Riggs going from cornerback to safety. It's turned out to be a good move, Durkin said.
“It's going really well,” Durkin said. “Cody is another older guy, experienced guy who has an understanding of the defense, so that helps him a lot to be in the right place at the right time.
“He's embracing the transition and the role playing safety. We're very pleased with it. When you have safeties that are able to cover, it allows you to do a lot more things in terms of pressure and those sorts of things. We're very pleased with Cody.”
Perhaps Durkin's favorite move of the spring came Monday, when Loucheiz Purifoy returned to cornerback after spending the first seven spring practices at wide receiver.
“Happy to have Loucheiz? Absolutely,” Durkin said. “Thrilled to have Loucheiz (back). Loucheiz to me is that dynamic player. He's a great guy to put out there at corner and match up. You feel better about playing some man defense and some press (coverage) when he's out there.”
Durkin said Purifoy is still adjusting after playing wide receiver for the first two weeks of spring.
“He showed some rustiness,” Durkin said. “There was some rust when he came over to corner there the first couple of days. But we're coaching him hard on it, and we'll get him back tuned up and ready to go here before the end of the spring.”
Orr, Jacobs step up
The Gators appear to be feeling better about their situation at defensive tackle thanks to strong springs from two players who have struggled with consistency in the past — Leon Orr and Damien Jacobs.
“Both of those guys are doing well,” Durkin said. “We need both of those guy to play with more consistency. That's something that goes along with the whole group.
“Damien and Leon are both having their best spring and playing their best football since they've been here.”