Gator Defense Turns it Attention to the Noles

Teryl Austin may be in his first year with Florida, but he doesn't need a refresher course on the rivalry with Florida State. He has his own motivation against the Seminoles that came in the mid-90s.

The second coaching job Austin had came at Wake Forest from 1993-1995. The most games they won in any of his three seasons came during a 3-8 year in 1994. The teams Austin coached weren't loaded with talent, and they weren't able to stay in the game against Florida State.

In his three years against the Seminoles, FSU outscored Wake Forest 182-27, including a 72-13 beat down in 1995. "I've been part of it when I coached in the ACC and they kicked the mess out of us," Teryl Austin said with a laugh.

The Florida coaches haven't had "one glance" at Florida State in the week before playing Appalachian State. That will come first thing Sunday morning.

A win would extend the current six-game winning streak Florida boasts over the Seminoles. However, Austin laughs at the notion of beating Florida State for any personal revenge.

"It's more for our seniors, our players and our school," Austin said with a smile.

The first step for the seniors was beating Appalachian State on Saturday. The Gators took away any chance of an upset early, taking a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

There is room for improvement on the defensive side of the ball, despite giving up only ten points. They gave up 157 yards through the air, with most of it coming on shallow and underneath routes. The Gators got a big lead and didn't want the Mountaineers to get back into the game with a big play, so the coverage softened up.

However, Austin won't excuse his defense giving up shorter routes because of the scheme.

"We gave up some runs that got out," Austin said. "We had a couple things where they'd run a dig or a cross, and we weren't to good coverage-wise. We'll get those things cleaned up."

Saturday served as Senior Day for the Gators. Austin has only been the defensive coordinator for one year in Gainesville, but it didn't take him long to see how special Ahmad Black has been to the Florida defense.

"I wish I could've been around the kid for another three or four years because he's that type of kid," Austin said. "He embodies everything you want in a football player and a kid you want in your program. He's really going to be missed around here. For the people that have been around here, I hope they've enjoyed him, because he is a great one. He's accountable for everything."

When the game got out of hand, the Gators were able to use multiple freshmen. It was important for them to see playing time in games to prepare for next season. Austin singled out Cody Riggs, Ronald Powell and Sharrif Floyd for their improved play as the season has gone on.

"It's good because they need that work," Austin said. "We got them that work, and now hope that it benefits them as we move on this year."

Dominique Easley was on the dress roster for the first time since the Gators played Georgia. He played well before spraining an ankle and heading to the locker room on crutches. The coaches are happy with the progress he has made in recent weeks.

"He had things he had to take care of to be available to play," Austin said. "He's had some good weeks of practice. It's like anything else, you earn your spot to play.

"It's just a young guy finding his way and learning. I have all the confidence in the world in him. He'll be right and do a good job for us."

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