Line Looking for Pressure

One statistic that stood out in Florida's 34-31 overtime win over Georgia Saturday was the success on third down and especially in third and long situations in the second half. On three of Georgia's four scoring drives in the half, the Bulldog offense was held at 3rd and 9 yards to go or worse and on all three occasions Georgia was able to overcome with a long pass play. More pressure is needed.

The Florida defense did conjure up four turnovers in the win Saturday night, but they also allowed 313 passing yards to a very talented freshman quarterback that is still learning the ropes of SEC football. Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney understands that the defense, and especially the line, will have to start stepping up and getting more heat on quarterbacks.

"If you leave quarterbacks back there very long, they can hurt you," McCarney told the Florida media on Tuesday. "Especially on third down, we have to get more heat, pressure, and disrupts. We don't need 7-8 sacks, but we have to disrupt the timing."

McCarney doesn't expect any changes in the rotation up front. He believes they just need to continue to work harder at making things work and the1y have to work on all aspects of pass defense.

"We have the right people on the field, we just have to get better at it," he said. "You work every day and grind every day at practice. You work on fundamentals and techniques. There are times when there are fast throws and they get the ball off quick. There is play action, which means you have to play run first and transition to pass, those are things we have lots of room to improve on."

His unit was a little banged up Saturday. Lawrence Marsh is coming back stronger and played a lot against Georgia as the backup to Omar Hunter at the nose. Brandon Antwine hasn't played in weeks, but is expected back this week at nose.

"Marsh is getting stronger and back to almost complete health," McCarney said. "Antwine hasn't played or practiced in a month but he should be back to practicing (Tuesday). We have a good rotation going on in there and whenever BA comes back, he plays winning football. It's just a matter of overcoming all of these injuries he has."

Starting quick tackle Jaye Howard missed the game as well and his return is not evident at this time. With him out, the rotation at the position has included two true freshmen that are both playing pretty well in the eyes of McCarney.

Sharrif Floyd is playing beyond his years, and Dominique Easley is starting to show progress as well after missing a few games.

"Sharrif Floyd…he's the most improved freshman that I have on the defensive line right now," McCarney said. "You saw him almost in a regular rotation with Terron Sanders, Jaye Howard was out and I don't know if he will play this week. It has given Sharrif more of an opportunity and he is really gaining confidence and improving. I think he is one of the most improved players on our defense right now….He is the most improved guy on the defensive line in the last few weeks. He is really getting this thing figured out and you will see him more and more as time goes by."

McCarney thinks Floyd is a real student of the game as well as being a phenomenal athlete at his position.

"He is playing lower, with better fundamentals, better techniques, he is understanding the game, the game plan, and understanding the schemes and what people are trying to do to him," McCarney said of Floyd. "He is one of the most talented and most mature freshmen I have been around and I have been doing this a lot of years."

Easley has missed some time on the field due to injuries and off the field situations, but McCarney can see some good things coming with Easley with the play he has seen.

"(Easley) is getting better and learning how to use his hands better," McCarney said. "You can get away with some bad habits in high school and you can't in the SEC, they will really take advantage of you. It is a matter of learning the fundamentals, techniques, and assignments. We don't want to put someone on the field we can't trust from an assignment standpoint, because it could cost you a touchdown."
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