Dunlap starting to turn it on


Before the start of the season, junior defensive end Carlos Dunlap was talking big about the things he planned to do this season. He wanted to set the UF season sack record. He wanted to be a dominant player on what he said could be the greatest defense in the history of college football.

Then he went out and basically did nothing for the first few games. He was barely noticed. He was rarely a factor.

But he’s turned that around in a big way recently. Dunlap has started to play like one of the best defensive players in the nation. In Saturday night’s victory at Mississippi State, he was all over the field, making plays and disrupting the MSU offense. He was perhaps the most noticeable player on the field. He had three sacks, tipped a pass that was intercepted and recorded three tackles for losses.

“He needs to keep it going,” UF defensive line coach Dan McCarney said. “He’s got that in him. He’s got the ability, he’s got the talent, he’s got the experience. I just told him, ‘We’ve talked about your dreams and goals and what you want to accomplish, and you need to start playing that way. That means practicing better.’

“He did that the past couple of weeks, and he sure played that way on Saturday. We hope it will continue. We think it will.”

It’s no secret that Dunlap, a junior, is planing to leave early for the NFL. He has the talent. He has perhaps the biggest upside of any player on a very deep and talented Florida roster.

In the past, it’s been a real battle for the coaching staff to tap into all that potential. Now, McCarney is getting it to pour out, which is definitely good news for the Gators as they continue to seek perfection this season.

“Everybody is different,” McCarney said. “You can’t treat them all the same. There are different people and personalities inside those helmets. With Carlos, you can’t stand there and scream and yell at him all day long. But he’s got to understand this isn’t good enough, you’re capable of doing this and this is what you need to do. If you do that, we have a chance to have a great defensive end out there in No. 8.

“He was a dominant football player Saturday. The plays he made, the athletic plays, the effort plays, it was really impressive. I’m excited about what he can do for the rest of the year.”

It looks like Dunlap is ready to start living up to all that big preseason talk.


  1. Robbie, thanks for this post on Dunlap. Some of the coverage of the Gators this year has been focused on one particular topic, but as a Gator fan living deep in enemy territory (Atlanta), I was curious to know what is going on with other key players on the team, such as Dunlap. It’s heartening to know that the coaching staff is working hard to push Dunlap to tap into his potential and produce results. Was he looking ahead to the draft and not giving it his all? Hopefully he is now focused on the task at hand this week – beating UGA!

  2. As famous New York Yankee Manager Casey Stengel onece said “potential means you haven’t done anything yet.” If Carlos leaves it all on the field the rest of the year, he’s a true Gator and one of the great college football players in Florida history. 20 years from now, probably no one will remember what NFL team or teams he may have played on (can you name the 4 NFL teams Danny Wuerffel played on?) but every Gator will remember how he dominated the Georgia offense on Halloween 2009. Being a Gator, especially on a Championship Team, is forever….something that never goes away, something no one can ever take from you. My hope is that Carlos bleeds Orange & Blue, plays like the unstoppable force he is, and goes down as one of the greatest to ever play defensive end at the University of Florida. Go Carlos! Go Gators, Beat Everybody!

  3. Carlos does not need to leave for the NFL yet in my opinion. I’ve played with guys that have all the physical skills and talent and don’t put forth that extra effort in practice and think they can just show out in a game. He’s started showing some signs he treats this football thing like it’s his dream career, cuz that’s what football should be for these guys, a passion that they continuously perfect and put forth 100% too because they love it. He’s is great, but consistency is the key to life and a great career. Plus I want him to kick butt for Florida as long as possible!