Floyd Turning the Page on Last Season

It wasn't long after the 2010 season ended that the freshmen class had a realization. It wasn't a secret that the season was a disaster compared to their expectations before the year. The freshmen knew that they needed to change their mindsets and work ethics to make the 2011 Gators a better team.

"After the season, we reflected on everything and realized that we needed to get this thing better because it's not what we came here to do," Sharrif Floyd said.

Ronald Powell didn't hesitate to agree with Floyd's point that the young players knew something needed to change.

Last season's poster child for uncertainty was freshman defensive tackle Dominique Easley. There were times that he didn't even practice with the team, and the possibility of him transferring after the season was rumored throughout the fall.

Now in spring ball, Floyd already sees a difference in Easley.

"He's my roommate and my brother," Floyd said. "I take care of him, and he takes care of me. I know he's a lot more focused than last year. He's seeing the bigger picture now."

Floyd ended his freshman season tied for fourth on the team with eight tackles for loss. He was a disruptive presence from the defensive tackle position that the Gators didn't have in anyone else.

Hearing Floyd talk about his freshman season on Monday, he spoke of the season like the opponent's offensive line threw him around the field all year.

"I had a lot of bad tendencies last year," Floyd said. "It was my fault. It's consistency. You've got to do it in practice and shoot your hands."

Floyd said he played with his pad level too high and didn't use his hands enough. He was upset about not playing physical enough. He went into the offseason knowing these were the areas to work on, but his weight was another focus. Floyd played at 310 pounds last season and is currently down to 290 pounds while "feeling better and moving a lot more."

Floyd pinpointed the areas to work on this offseason, but he was happy to hear that new defensive line coach Bryant Young saw the same issues to work on. The two hit it off immediately after Young was hired, and Floyd is already seeing the differences.

"It's amazing," Floyd said of working with Young. "I learn so much more each day and getting better as it goes on. I can't wait for the spring game to show what we've learned. Just listening to him and getting in his ear has helped because I want to learn what he knows."

The transition from Dan McCarney to Young has been an easy one for Floyd. It's not a slight to his former coach, there is just a new comfort with Young that is already benefiting Floyd's performance on the practice field.

"He's very hands on," Floyd said about Young. "He doesn't just give you a play and have you go do it. After each play, he'll tell you what you did wrong and what you did good. He tells you what to work on. He wants you to get better and wants to teach you."

The new coaches have also brought a 3-4 defense that the defensive players are raving about. Floyd said he has lined up in all three of the defensive line spots in the defense.

"I've got to learn it and get it down pat," Floyd said. "Most of our stuff is based off what I do. I love (the 3-4). I get to run more, I get to hit more and just do what I do."

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