With Florida practices closed to the public, it's hard to learn much about the Gators, but here's what we got about the defense today:
-Ronald Powell seems pretty excited about his new role, and an excited, focused Powell should have you pretty jazzed up. The kid's a total freak, which isn't lost on his new coaches. This year he'll be playing the "Buck" position, a hybrid DE/LB spot pretty similar to what he did at times last season. D-coordinator Dan Quinn said it's patterned after what Charles Haley did with the 49ers back when I was in diapers, and Powell is pumped about it. He said he's watched film of Jason Taylor and Sergio Kindle to learn the role a little, but he doesn't know anyone who has played it personally.
“I’m loving it,” Powell said. “It’s more freedom. You don’t have to have your hand on the ground all the time. You can stand up, and it’s kind of my choice. … It’s the best position for me. If I could have picked any position, it would be the buck.”
That's good to hear from Powell, the nation's top overall recruit in 2010 who had some problems adjusting to his freshman year, when he and Dominique Easley skipped a practice and had trouble getting along with veterans. Powell calls that "a rough start," and he turned things around pretty quickly. Now, he could be the centerpiece of UF's defense.
-Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins said they've been working in a 3-4 during practice, and they're both happy with it. Jenkins, a HS running back, is most excited about the chance to fly around a little more, which he said the 3-4 offers.
“I like it a lot because it seems like it really frees up the linebackers and allows us to run a little bit,” Jenkins said.
-Gerald Christian is one of the most interesting guys to watch this spring (well, guys to not watch but think about what they might be doing behind those locked gates). He moved to LB from tight end this winter and was listed as a starter on the preliminary depth chart, which may or may not mean anything at all. Christian played some LB at Palm Beach Dwyer, and he said high school teammate and safety Matt Elam was glad to have him back on his side. He said the adjustment hasn't been tough for him, but he also admitted he would've preferred to work his way up the depth chart rather than starting out on top and having to hold everyone off. Also of note: he could be on offense in short-yardage situations at times this year.
How excited are you for Powell? Anyone watch Christian in HS and have thoughts about him at LB? Any questions, just fire away and I'll check back.