A handful of Florida Gators spoke on Thursday about how they and the team as a whole is coming along heading into the 2012 Orange & Blue Debut on Saturday, April 7. The scrimmage will air live on Sun Sports and FOXSportsFlorida.com at 1 p.m.
FLOYD STILL PLAYING DEFENSIVE END
It was quite obvious during the 2011 season that junior Sharrif Floyd was not completely comfortable playing defensive end and succeed at a higher level by playing defensive tackle. However with two solid players on the inside and lacking players on the outside, Floyd bit his lip and played end to help the team. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn noted at the beginning of the spring that Floyd is indeed better suited to play inside and that he would see more work there this year although he would also continue playing end for depth reasons. That is not necessarily what is happening on the practice fields.
“It’s one of my best springs since I’ve been at Florida,” Floyd said Thursday. “I’m still out at defensive end and getting better at each day at it. Now I understand it so it’s no problem with me anymore.”
It may not be a “problem” for him but Floyd nodded in agreement when asked if he preferred to play inside. “We’re still low on numbers right now so it’s still about what we have and what we need,” he explained. “As of now, in our base front, I’m the D-end. In the nickel front, I’m the defensive tackle. It hasn’t been that way throughout spring ball because of numbers so right now I’m at D-end. Ideally, getting ready for the season, I should be inside for good or, depending the way it goes, I’ll be playing both.”
WILSON READY FOR HIS FIRST SPRING DEBUT
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]In his sixth year with the Gators, redshirt senior guard James Wilson will actually be participating in his very first Orange & Blue Debut on Saturday. Wilson, 23, has experienced a myriad of knee injuries since joining the team in 2007 and plans to use his extra year of eligibility to ensure that he leaves Florida satisfied with his career and out on a high note.
“It was really tough,” Wilson said of being injured for so long. “Sometimes I couldn’t even – I’d have to call someone to come help me and get my knees loose [after waking up in the morning]. Now it’s all good, smooth sailing. Knock on wood.”
Interestingly enough, Wilson credits new strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman for his improved health. “I really think it has a lot to do with Coach Dillman and the strength and conditioning program we have now. A lot more power lifting – the stuff I did in high school. I really feel a lot stronger,” he said.”
He also thinks that the offensive line as a whole is much improved from a year ago and is excited to see what they can do in 2012. “We’re just more tight; we communicate,” he said. “We’re comfortable with each other. We tell each other when one is slacking off and when one’s not. It’s just more like a family.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Redshirt sophomore Chaz Green said he redshirt junior Matt Patchan have been rotating at right tackle while senior Xavier Nixon has pretty much locked down the left tackle job with his much improved play this offseason. “He’s playing real well this spring. I think he’s had the best spring that I’ve seen. He’s looking good,” he said.
» Junior cornerback Cody Riggs on the improvement of sophomore CB Louchiez Purifoy: “He’s doing real good. He’s improved a lot from last year. He’s always been physical; he’s a big body out there at corner. He can really help us on defense.”
» Riggs on sophomore CB Marcus Roberson and how he’s doing coming back from injury: “He looks good. I’ve played with him since high school, so he’s very talented and he’s doing real good out there.”[/EXPAND]