Notebook: Lineman Shuler provides bite to UF’s defense

Colorado State quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels (1) is sacked by Florida defensive lineman Adam Shuler II (95) during the first half of the Sept. 15, 2018, game. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

After the loss to Kentucky, when Florida coach Dan Mullen started stressing that the Gators needed to be tougher, more physical and aggressive, he could have pointed to junior defensive tackle Adam Shuler as an example of what he’s looking for.

“Toughness,” Mullen said of the West Virginia transfer. “He’s got a toughness to him. He’s got an edge, a nastiness to him. And that stuff is contagious.

“That’s what I want. We get everybody on that deal, we have some solid potential here. We just got to go start taking advantage of it quickly.”

Shuler’s tough, nasty approach is what elevated him to a starter the last two games, and he’s produced. After making three tackles against Colorado State, he turned in a dominant performance in the win at Tennessee, recording nine tackles, including a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry.

“It’s just coming from the hard work, the drive to be a dog on the field,” Shuler said. “Work hard throughout the week and it’s going to show up in the game.

“I just know it’s crunch time on the line of scrimmage. Games are won up front. If you can’t bully the man across your front then it’s going to get real ugly. Just got to take care of it.”

Shuler’s angry approach is what the other defensive linemen need to emulate, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said.

“I feel like we needed that in our front, and he kind of brought that,” Grantham said. “You’ve got to have guys who have a little edge, that’s when you’re good on defense, when you have a little edge to it.”

Senior defensive end Cece Jefferson said Shuler is nasty, and that’s a good thing to be if you’re a defensive tackle.

“Oh, yeah, he’s filthy. He’s a dog,” Jefferson said. “That’s very infectious. All it takes is one guy to go harder every play, then the next guy will see it. That will be two guys and the next guys sees it and it will be three. And on it goes.

“Shuler does a good job of being nasty every day, knocking people back and running to the ball. It just trickles down and becomes a domino effect. I’m happy to have him here.

“He’s so fast and strong and his football IQ is amazing. He just loves the game. You have some who like the game and some who love the game. He’s one of those who loves the game.”

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A most memorable play

Sophomore cornerback CJ Henderson continues to draw praise for his touchdown-saving tackle against Tennessee that turned into a touchback when he jarred the ball loose and it rolled through the back of the end zone.

Henderson chased down UT tight end Austin Pope from all the way across the field to make the play.

“That’s what we strive for,” Grantham said. “We always talk about giving relentless effort, and he saved seven points there. When you see that from one of your better players on your team, I think that helps get to other guys to see this is how I need to do it.

“It kind of creates a standard in which you need to play. Obviously, I was proud of the way he played. He helped us save points and helped us win the game.”

Junior linebacker David Reese wasn’t surprised by Henderson’s play. He’s seen the same kind of effort from Henderson in practice.

“It was like watching film. He always gives that kind of effort,” Reese said. “That’s the type of effort they want in this program and what they preach about. It’s showing on the field right there.”

Living in Starkvegas

Moving to almost rural Starkville back in 2009 turned out not to be a big adjustment for Dan Mullen because he was working all the time trying to establish his program. But it was a significant adjustment for his wife, Megan.

“For me, I go to work,” Mullen said. “I get up and I go to work and I go home. For my wife, probably a lot of online shopping. We get a lot of catalogs to the house. You’d go home and always check the front doorstep, there’s usually a package on there. There wasn’t a Target or a lot of stores close to Starkville. There are some local stores and all that stuff, but I think that was an adjustment for my wife.”


  1. It is great to see the transition C.J. Henderson has made from last year under McElwain and Shannon, where he (and many other Florid players) took a lot of plays off during games and did not always give maximum effort, to this year under Mullen and Grantham, where we are seeing plays like the one he made vs. Tennessee. Henderson would have watched the Tennessee play walk into the end zone last year. He did not make it there this year. Nor did the ball, thanks to Henderson’s maximum effort. Florida will need a lot of that vs. Mississippi State Saturday.

    • This reminds me of a political satire cartoon I saw many years ago poking fun at a U.S. President’s state of the union address. The cartoon shows the president from side of his mouth saying everything is going great in this country. The country now has peace, prosperity, etc., etc. And from the other side of his mouth, he says “and it’s their (the previous regime’s) fault”.

  2. Fortunately we have at least three leaders on D now.
    Reese, Shuler and Henderson. We can build on that. Who is next to step up?
    I don’t think that Zuniga and Polite are too far behind.
    Cece needs to turn it on to get to the NFL. I expect a big game from him in Starkville.

  3. I am so pleased that Adam Schuler transferred to UF and is giving his final year to the Gators. He is a leader by example, and his performance against UT was nothing short of stellar. Thank you, Adam – please keep up the good work and show the Gator “D” what we expect of them and definitely believe they can do. Restore our defense to its glory days, and watch what happens. GO GATORS!!!

  4. Kudos also to the coach Sunseri, who had to be part of bringing this player here and helping him to be successful. good assistants are important, and this is a success in an area that really needed help after last years South Carolina effort.
    And of course I’m grateful mr. Shuler is now part of the program, and here next year as well, at least hopefully. This is also a victory that Florida is still a place where good players want to play, which bodes well for the coming years as well. I know Urban before he left criticized Mullen as a recruiter, but I never agreed with the statement in the first place. Even if Mullen isn’t everyone’s dream recruiter, I am convinced he will always be good enough, with help, good scouting, good coaching and a good program, to sign players that will be successful for the program, as opposed to be a collection of potential superstars that may not gel into a complete success.