Howard Taking Advantage of his Chance

The athleticism and potential that drips from Jaye Howard's 6-3, 310-pound frame translated to the field Saturday. After being described by words like "potential," Howard broke out to record two sacks on the way to locking up SEC Defensive Line Player of the Week.

"I know I can do that every game," Jaye Howard said. "Doing it puts more pressure on me. I have to do that every week."

An article in the newspaper made its way to Howard in recent days. It spoke of how laziness was the reason he didn't produce before this season. That article is something Howard won't get out of his mind.

The reason he believes the production wasn't there is playing time. There were veteran players ahead of him that took the snaps.

"Last year, I sat behind two guys playing in the NFL now," Howard said. "It was just a matter of me getting on the field."

Despite not seeing the field as much as he wanted, Howard kept working. His athleticism shone at defensive tackle, providing a pass rush threat from the inside that the Gators didn't have.

The coaches knew Howard was going to be a productive player in time. It was just about pushing him to continue improving.

"I wasn't discouraged at all," Howard said of the lack of playing time. "I just had to realize there were people in front of me that were better than me at the time.

"I was in the rotation, but we had Dunlap, and he wasn't coming off the field on third downs."

This weekend, the Florida defense will face an improved offense. Miami (OH) didn't have the home run threat in their offense, but the USF offense will have better athletes.

The key component of the USF offense is quarterback B.J. Daniels. His running ability makes him a threat that the Gators have to focus on.

"We call him 'Baby Vick,'" Howard said. "We have to keep him contained. Our defense isn't going to step down for anybody."

The Florida defense knows it will be ready. They have practiced for three years against a running quarterback in Tim Tebow, and the running aspect to the quarterback position is still there with John Brantley.

"He's just like every other quarterback that comes in here," Howard said. "He's no different. We go against (John) Brantley in practice. You don't see it in the games as much, Brantley can run also."

The defensive line will play a key role in stopping Daniels. The Florida players have seen on film how he will scramble if there is any pressure in the area. Howard's two sacks were the only ones Florida recorded against Miami, and the other linemen must step up to make Daniels uncomfortable.

"Watching him on film, he'll stay in the pocket," Howard said. "When he feels a little pressure, he'll scramble. If he doesn't have pressure, he's just going to sit in the pocket and complete passes all day."

The Gators will be happy with any win this season, but this one carries some extra weight.

"We want to be labeled as the best school in Florida," Howard said.
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