University of Louisville sophomore Terell Floyd is not the most boisterous defensive back on the team. Floyd said he doesn't take a lot of chances and tries to be a sportsman, not talking a lot of trash.
But whatever the native of Fort Pierce, Fla., is doing it's working. Floyd, who had two key plays in the win over Rutgers, became one of U of L's most dependable players in the secondary this season.
Floyd played in all 12 games for the Cardinals' during the regular-season, tied for the team lead with two interceptions, was sixth in tackles at 33, had four pass breakups, recovered a fumble and forced a fumble.
"He's made plays for our defense," U of L coach Charlie Strong said.
"I did some of the things I wanted to do this season," Floyd said. "Some of my goals, I didn't reach. But I feel like I have gotten better and better each year.
Floyd, who appeared in 12 games as a true freshman during the 2011 season, said his improvement this season came with more film work and attention to detail, including a lot of the small things.
"I have become more of a student of the game," he said. "I've watched a lot more film, learning how to read splits and route of receivers. Next year, I still need to do more with technique and footwork, but I'm improving."
The U of L staff has described Floyd as one of the workman-like players on the defense. He had 13 tackles as a true freshman, starting three games including North Carolina when he had a career-high five tackles.
As a sophomore, Floyd started the first five games of the season and tied the career high with five tackles in the opener against Kentucky. He played but didn't start the next three games before starting the final two. Floyd had an interception in overtime of a 34-31 win against Cincinnati.
But it was against Rutgers he really made his presence known.
The Cardinals trailed Rutgers 14-3 late in the third quarter, but finally found the end zone when Jeremy Wright caught a 14-yard pass from Teddy Bridgewater.
On the ensuing kickoff, Floyd raced down the field and stuck Jeremy Deering, who then fumbled. U of L's Calvin Pryor recovered the fumble and on the next play Bridgewater hit DeVante Parker for a 17-14 lead.
The Cardinals led 20-17 late in the game when Floyd came up with another big play, picking off a pass from Gary Nova to seal the victory.
"It felt really good to help the team win in a big game," Floyd said. "I had a lot of people say things about it. I watched it a couple of times (on replay).
"I wasn't that shocked I was that open because we had worked with coach (Vance) Bedford all week to try and confuse the quarterback. He said it would be a chance for a free ball and it happened."
Floyd said the biggest thing the game did for him was give him "more confidence," heading forward into the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl against Florida and then into the offseason.
"When I have the confidence on the field, it helps me play so much better," he said. "The coaches are telling me all the time, play aggressive and with confidence. I just want to keep doing that now."