Notebook: UF counting on freshman tackles to step up


Florida defensive linemen Jay-nard Bostwick, left, and Darious Cummings run a drill during a practice session in the summer. Bostwick is among the freshmen who will be counted on to contribute in the absence of Dominique Easley.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 5:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 26, 2013 at 5:46 p.m.

The Florida defensive line has lost a lot with starting tackle Dominique Easley going down with a season-ending knee injury Tuesday night.

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Florida defensive linemen Jay-nard Bostwick, left, and Darious Cummings run a drill during a practice session in the summer. Bostwick is among the freshmen who will be counted on to contribute in the absence of Dominique Easley.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer

Experience. Leadership. A dominant player. And depth at tackle, a critical issue moving forward.

In an attempt to fill the void left by Easley’s absence, the Gators likely are going to turn to freshmen — Jay-nard Bostwick, Caleb Brantley, Joey Ivie and Bryan Cox Jr., a redshirt freshman.

“I’m very confident in those guys,” defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. “The way we practice, prepare and test our guys every day, I feel confident with every guy we run out there. I think our guys understand there's a standard in our room that we have to play up to and they know that.

“And not just coming from myself and our staff, but also from the other players in the room. They hold those guys accountable to that standard. That's the deal. We recruit great players here and their job is to come in when their number is called. Get in there and play."

“Jay-nard (is) in the mix, he has been in the mix all year. Joey Ivie has been coming along. Bryan Cox is another guy that would be in the mix. There are quite a few that are all capable guys.”

Another option at tackle is sophomore defensive end Jonathan Bullard.

“He's been very productive for us and done what we've asked him to do,” Durkin said. “He's a guy that's had to play both inside and outside. Maybe sometimes that takes away from a guy’s production, just having to know both positions and not feeling as comfortable.

“I think you've see now he's feeling better and better with it. He'll continue to do that, play both inside and outside. That's what our defense needs. He's an unselfish guy. He embraces that. He'll continue to get better."

Arkansas game on TV

CBS is using its six-day selection window for Oct. 5 games. The kickoff time for the Arkansas at Florida game Oct. 5 will be announced no later than Sunday afternoon.

CBS will hold Arkansas at Florida, Ole Miss at Auburn and Georgia at Tennessee. The game CBS selects will be televised at 3:30 p.m. The games not selected by CBS will be televised at 7 p.m. on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU along with the LSU at Mississippi State game.

Gators vs. Stoops

Florida is facing off against Mark Stoops and his defense for the second time in less than a year. The Gators won the last matchup, beating Florida State (where Stoops was the defensive coordinator from 2010-12) in November in Tallahassee 37-26.

Stoops said the UF offense, even with a new starting quarterback (Tyler Murphy), is very similar to a year ago.

“Not too much (difference), really,” he said. “They want to be physical. They’re very good defensively, as good as maybe anyone we’ll play this year. So very good, very talented, very physical defense. Offensively, same thing: They want to control the football, keep the time of possession and be physical in the run game and, again, take their shots off of that.”

Stoops, a defensive coach, seems especially impressed with the UF defense, which leads the SEC in seven statistical categories.

“Their front four, they’re very disruptive, very dominant, and their secondary is fabulous. They cover the heck out of you,” he said. “They’re very good players in the secondary. I’ve known quite a few of those players for some time; very good.

“Their three corners, basically, that they play with have been playing for a long time. And of course with (true freshman Vernon) Hargreaves coming in, he’s a great talent. But very, very talented in the secondary and very disruptive up front.”

Fowler assists Koehne

Senior guard Kyle Koehne credits defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. with helping him get ready to play right offensive tackle in the Tennessee game. Koehne stepped in at the position with starter Tyler Moore out with a sprained ankle.

“It’s fun (playing tackle). It’s different,” Koehne said. “It's a lot different than going against 330-pounders — going against those fast 250-pound ends.

“I actually asked a couple of our defensive ends (for help). I took some reps with the ends, like (Dante) Fowler and stuff and I would ask for some pointers for what he saw was wrong with my technique and stuff. He actually helped me out a lot last week."

Moore returned to practice Wednesday and is expected to start Saturday night’s game in Lexington.

Koehne will continue to provide depth at all five offensive line positions.

“I take snaps at all positions all week to prepare myself just in case,” Koehne said. “You never know what's going to happen in a game."

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