11/2: Quinn on regrouping, Floyd, playmakers

By Adam Silverstein
November 2, 2011

As the Florida Gators prepare for their next home game on Saturday, Nov. 5 against the Vanderbilt Commodores on homecoming, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media late Wednesday to discuss the last game and his team’s upcoming contest.

REGROUPING AND MOVING FORWARD

After yet another tough loss in which the defense looked good early but faltered late, Quinn admitted the team was down in the dumps but still believe something positive can come from the experience.

“Certainly you sensed a group of men that played extremely hard and fought hard. The thing I can take out of that is that you got to look at yourself as a player and know you competed as hard as you could. There’s something to gain from that,” he said.

“There are now guys who have been through some tough times as players and competitors. There is a sense that you can come out a little bit hardened from the experience and know that you got to compete and be on your stuff all the time. The mood of the team is workman-like. They all sense the frustration. ‘Let’s all pull together and work to get it done.’ That’s the encouraging part that you like.”

Three players in particular continue to stick out in Quinn’s mind as playmakers and leaders of the defense. Those include sophomore safety Matt Elam, junior linebacker Jon Bostic and sophomore defensive tackle Dominique Easley.

Asked who stands out to him each week, Quinn started by saying he “always goes back to Elam” in his mind. “He’s the one to me that, as a playmaker, I’ve always been impressed by him. When you add the fact with how competitive he is, he’s one that really shows up to me,” Quinn continued. “I thought Bostic is one, although you may not see it in the numbers or that kind of thing, there’s a calm about him. He has a good sense about where the ball is where his instincts can kind of take over. Easley, I would say is one of the most disruptive guys for us up front.”

HELPING FLOYD IMPROVE AT END
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]Speaking on Wednesday about his transition from defensive tackle to defensive end (at least for this season), sophomore Sharrif Floyd said he is finally becoming more comfortable with his role and believes it will pay dividends as far as on field production in the near future. Quinn agrees with his assessment and is looking forward to seeing his hard work pay off.

“It’s true with all players. You hope that as we go on and they gain some experience and gain some playing that their skills will improve. I think he’s an example of that,” he said. “As the season has progressed, he’s getting better and his skills are improving. As you know, he moved to defensive end. We did that in training camp and then he missed a couple of ball games. For him, he’s kind of coming into his own at that position, and we’re excited about that.”

Floyd also mentioned staying after practice to get in some extra work with Quinn, a former NFL defensive line coach. Quinn said the two spend 15 minutes or so at a time just doing a little bit more analysis about his game.

“Sometimes you can have a tendency to try and look at too much. There’s been an old saying, ‘If you see a lot, sometimes you see not much, but if you see a little that can really lock you in.’ That was really the main thing [with Floyd],” he said. “We went back through and looked at some tape. Some from his first and then some other guys that we’ve coached through the years playing the technique. It was a combination of his wanting to come and do the extra and us kind of leading him in the right way to play.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Should redshirt junior Sam linebacker Lerentee McCray be unable to play Saturday due to injury, Quinn said his primary replacement would be sophomore Darrin Kitchens. At least four other players could figure into the rotation as well if Florida is playing in its nickel set.

» From a depth standpoint, Quinn said it would be ideal to have six defensive tackles, six defensive ends and six outside linebackers – all capable of playing – on the roster along with “a player or two you develop to come along” in the future.

» On how additions are made to the defense each week: “It’s a lot of the same package and then each week there might be a small adjustment that you make. It would be pretty rare for us [to make a big change]. We have a pretty big package [so there is not much of a need] to go out and find something new.”

» On defending a mobile quarterback: “We haven’t faced a lot of mobile QBs here. Certainly they pose a little bit of a challenge to you. There’s a little more style maybe in terms of the play call. You have to be cognizant of it as opposed to a team that’s just a straight drop-back passer who doesn’t move the pocket. It’s more the awareness that you have to talk about with the team.”

» On if he is starting to build a foundation for next year rather than focus on this season: “We’re in season and really the focus is all on Vanderbilt and how we can play our best. […] For us the challenge is right here, right now, today and then we’ll move forward week-to-week.”

» On if there will be a different approach next year: “I don’t know if the time would be any different but now that you have all our guys playing our techniques, it’s easier to pull from the [footage]. It’s a little easier to say these are all the plays for this particular player, let’s talk about the technique and go that way.”

» On what has changed the most since the last time he coached in college: “The biggest difference is in recruiting. The use of social media and that aspect as opposed to a phone call where you call the guy at his house. It’s the age of internet and cell phones – that’s the biggest change for me as opposed to before. It still comes back to building relationships – whether it be with a player or a coach and getting to know a guy.”

» On if the college game is faster now than it used to be: “I don’t know if it’s any faster. One of the cool parts about coaching is the competition. When you’re out there on the grass – whether it’s practice or the game – that competition to me. Whether it’s college or the NFL or high school – when you’re out there competing it’s just coaching it as hard as you can and doing it. It’s one of the things you love about being involved in it. When you get out on the field and into practice and into the games and trying to get into that competition, that’s really why you do it. I love it.”[/EXPAND]

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