Adjustments Key for Florida Defense

Hands on hips and gasping for air, the Florida defense stumbled to the sideline after USF's 96-yard touchdown drive on their first possession of the game. That's when the adjustments began. Middle linebacker Jon Bostic was certain that changes needed to be made.

"We just knew we had to make adjustments for the next series," Jon Bostic said. "It was a lot about where we were lining up and moving guys into different gaps. That let the linebackers get a little more free."

The first drive of the game saw USF quarterback B.J. Daniels march the Bulls offense down the field to get into the end zone first. The Bulls converted five third downs during the drive, continuing to suck the life out of the Florida defense.

After the adjustments were made, USF scored only one touchdown at the end of the third quarter.

"We kind of came out flat, but it was a quick turn around," Bostic said. "We came out in the second half, and the offense started getting going. That was good for us going into this week."

The momentum that USF stole on their first possession was given back shortly before the half. Daniels scrambled to his right and forced a pass on 3rd-and-6. The ball went over his target and hit Florida safety Ahmad Black in stride, giving the Gators the ball at the USF 29-yard line with one minute until half time. John Brantley would hit Carl Moore for an 11-yard touchdown to tie the score at the break.

Bostic was in pursuit of Daniels on the intercepted pass, thinking he would run the ball and let the Bulls punt it away before half time.

"I was getting prepared for him to run because it was wide open over there," Bostic said. "I was real surprised when he threw it."

When the Gators emerged from the locker room for the second half, they did so with different energy and a focused plan. They would contain Daniels from breaking off long runs and force him to beat them with his arm.

"They were coming out with stuff that we were expecting, but some of the stuff, we just had to adjust to," Bostic said. "At halftime we were able to make a lot of those adjustments. It was a little bit of formation differences that we had never seen from them."

The reason for uncertainty from the defense came because of the new coaching staff at USF. When Skip Holtz came from East Carolina, the Gators had to assume he would run the same offense. Film study became a challenge without any stable of film on their offensive scheme with USF personnel, outside of the vanilla schemes they ran in the season opening win over Stony Brook.

"You try to put their players into the (roles of) players he had at ECU," Bostic said. "They were very similar. B.J. Daniels is a good player, and he gave us trouble today. We came through in the second half."

While the defense saved the offense in the season opening win over Miami (OH), it was the offense coming on that took some pressure off the defense Saturday.

"They helped us out, especially in that fourth quarter," Bostic said. "I think they took nine minutes off the clock. We were out there on the field a lot."

When Bostic looked around the sideline Saturday, he was surrounded by freshmen. Special teams, defense and offense were packed with players participating in their second game at Florida, and they are already catching his eye.

"They're doing a good job," Bostic said. "They're starting to take some leadership now. At first, they were sitting back and letting the older guys do some stuff. The coaches are trying to get on them to step up now if they get that opportunity."

The young players must mature fast. Even the non-freshmen that are new starters must prepare for a tough environment, as Neyland Stadium can pack more than 100,000 Volunteer faithful into the stands.

"I know it's a new coaching staff up there," Bostic said. "From what I've heard, it's a pretty good team. We're going into the SEC now. We've got to prepare well for this team."
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