Notebook: Fowler stopping run for UF


Florida defensive lineman Dante Fowler Jr. runs during the first day of practice at Donald R. Dizney Stadium on Aug. 2.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 5:36 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 5:36 p.m.

After seeing significant playing time last season, mostly as a pass rusher, Florida true sophomore Buck linebacker/end Dante Fowler Jr. said he’s improved his run defense and plans to be an every-down player this season.

“I’ve gotten a lot better defending the run. It’s something I’ve really worked on,” he said. “I was mostly just a pass rusher last year. I’m going to be a four-down player this season.”

To help fill that role, part of Fowler’s responsibility will be to drop back in pass coverage in certain situations.

“I actually like covering,” he said. “I actually enjoy playing cornerback when I get out and cover. I take it seriously. When I do it, working with T-Rob (defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson), him teaching me stuff, he just wants to make me do it better.”

Fowler said when he does drop into coverage, he’s usually matched up against the tight end.

“The slot receivers, I haven’t had to get a piece of them yet,” he said. “It would be nice, though.”

Bullard, Lawing reconnect

Coming out of high school, defensive end Jonathan Bullard, a five-star prospect from North Carolina, was recruited heavily by South Carolina. His recruiter from USC was defensive line coach Brad Lawing, who is in his first year at UF in the same capacity.

“It’s funny, because when we were going through recruiting, Coach Lawing would say, ‘Bullard, I’m going to coach you, I’m going to coach you,’ “ Bullard said. “When he came here (last spring), the first time I saw him he said, ‘Bullard I didn’t think it was going to be here, but I did tell you I was going to coach you.’ It was kind of a cool thing.”

Bullard said he’s improved under the veteran defensive line coach.

“I feel like he’s got some attributes that he’s putting into my game that I didn’t have last year,” he said.

Harrison feeling comfortable

Now in his third season at center after making the move from offensive guard/tackle, senior Jonotthan Harrison said he’s completely comfortable at the position for the first time.

“It’s just been a real productive camp,” he said. “I have more confidence. I didn’t come in playing center. It’s taken me time to get used to it. Now that I understand the offense, it’s almost like second nature to me now. It’s been more productive for me.”

Easley blasting off again

Harrison said senior defensive tackle Dominique Easley has regained the explosive first step he had coming off the ball before he had ACL surgery at the end of the 2011 season.

“Easley’s explosiveness. … He fires off the ball and gets his hands on me before I can get the ball back to the quarterback,” Harrison said. “He’s real quick off the ball. That’s only going to get me better, going against somebody so fast and so powerful at the same time.”

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