8/20: Floyd back where he belongs – at tackle

By Adam Silverstein
August 20, 2012

Three Florida Gators players met with the media on Monday following the last practice before the third and final offseason scrimmage of 2012. Junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd and redshirt junior offensive linemen Jonotthan Harrison and Jon Halapio discussed the strides they made and the overall team’s improvement.

GOODBYE DISTRACTIONS, HELLO COMFORT

For the first time in his three years with the Gators, Floyd is beginning a season stress-free with a clear head. He started his freshman season as a highly-publicized five-star recruit trying to fit in with a bunch of accomplished veterans and began 2011 suspended from Florida’s first two games and out of position at defensive end.

“It feels really good because this is probably the first year going into a season I didn’t have any controversy,” he said Monday. “It feels good and I’ve been focusing on football since the bowl game, so that feels great, too. And to know that I can just focus on one thing and it’s something I love.”

Floyd compared moving back to his natural position of defensive tackle to “winning the lottery,” explaining that it feels great to finally be back where he belongs. “I love what I do, love what I can do for the team,” he said. “The chemistry of the team is great, so I’m happy to be back where I’m comfortable at and still doing what’s best for the team.”

He added that the transition back was not a tough one and instead something that he jumped right back into once he put the pads on for the first time in the spring.

“It’s just…that was my comfort zone so I knew what it could be and what it was,” Floyd said. “I didn’t lose focus of how to play or the things to do. I know it’s more attacking on the inside than it is on the outside as far as defense between the defensive linemen and offensive linemen.”

HALAPIO: A DANTE FOWLER FAN
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the rest of this post.]Halapio may be a bit biased when it comes to evaluating freshman Buck linebacker Dante Fowler, Jr. (the two St. Petersburg, FL projects have known each other since Fowler was in the eighth grade), but he did say Monday that he has been the top performing freshman thus far in practice.

“Dante Fowler has done really good, just coming in he had the right mindset. He was determined to play this year, and he’s having a great camp,” he said. “I’m definitely happy he’s up here. He hasn’t changed one bit aside from his body. He’s still a little kid at heart. […] I honestly didn’t think he be performing how he’s performing now. It’s really good to see that he’s been working hard, even in the summer.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Floyd on when the team as a whole bought into head coach Will Muschamp’s way of doing things: “It took a little bit [of time]. I’d say we got the whole team on it during the Ohio State [week]. That bowl practice really jump started this year. We like the direction we’re headed in, and we’re going to keep striving to get further. […] I’m not surprised and I’m not saying I expected it to be this way, but some people learn in different ways and some people grew together in different ways. And it took us a year.”

» Harrison on competition breeding improvement: “I’ve noticed a lot more players taking practice seriously as they compete for a starting spot. This competition is just helping the team as a whole. […] There’s no room for complacency…just because there’s always somebody competing for your spot.”

» Harrison on junior defensive end Dominique Easley: “He’s definitely come all the way back. At first when I first saw him get out there he might have been a little sluggish but now it’s night and day since when he came back.”

» Halapio on open practice: “I liked it. It was a long, long two weeks of camp, and it was good to see fans out there cheering us on.”[/EXPAND]

3 Comments

  1. Mr2Bits says:

    Sounds like this team is really playing together. I think were going to surprise some people this year that’s for sure.

  2. Joe says:

    I agree, no hype just consistency. I’m really interested to see this defense. I made a (wild) statement last year that this crew would be one of the best to ever play defense for UF by the time it’s all said and done with. I’m really hoping they prove me right!

  3. G2 says:

    I hope they stay together for one more year!

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