Possible Breakout Year for D-Line Trio

Ronald Powell joined Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley as the most hyped defensive players in the 2010 recruiting class, but none of them lived up to their own expectations last fall. Powell believes this spring was the first sign of change. All three have improved this spring, and with a better understanding of their roles, the sophomore believes this could be the trio's breakout year.

"As individuals, we're good players," Ronald Powell said. "But when we're together, we can be great. We're still team building a lot and coming together as a front. Once we get that chemistry, it's going to be unstoppable."

The difference between the players this spring couldn't be more different than where it was last fall. None of them can single out exactly what has made them come around, but for many freshmen, it takes one year to get accustomed to the differences of high school and college.

The trio now knows what is expected of them, and they have stepped into positions of leadership, too.

"We're a lot more motivated," Powell said. "We're in a position where we can lead by example, and the best way to do that is on the field. We can do that because we've all earned spots."

The lessons learned last season won't soon be forgotten. Powell, Floyd and Easley all came to school ranked as five-star players with reputations of athletes that could make an immediate impact. The highly regarded freshman class felt the weight of expectations, and they found themselves frustrated when they didn't see immediate playing time.

It just took some time for them to realize they had to work their way into more trusted roles on the team.

"We were a little frustrated when you come from being leaders on your team and being the stars where you're from, then being set down is frustrating," Powell said.

Powell will spend time at the BUCK position this fall, which allows him to play some defensive end and standup linebacker on the outside. Floyd and Easley will line up at defensive tackle, and from what Powell has seen this spring, he might not record many tackles because the two defensive tackles will be recording so many.

"If I don't get to the ball before they do, it's a wrap," Powell said with a laugh.

The spring game showed off some of the ability the Florida defense has. Powell said that the defensive play calling was "real slim" compared to the depth of the playbook, but that was expected after spring practices were closed to allow the element of surprise in the fall as much as possible.

Powell was still happy with how the defense performed. With quarterbacks wearing no-contact jerseys, Powell felt like the defense recorded more sacks than were blown dead, allowing the quarterbacks to create some plays.

"I know you saw the sacks where they're still throwing the ball down the field," Powell said with a laugh, "but we did pretty good."

Despite the lack of diverse play calling keeping Powell from lining up much in the BUCK, he has learned the position in-depth this spring.

"We didn't go into a lot of stuff (during the game)," Powell said. "We were mostly in four-lineman stuff, so I wasn't in the BUCK too much, but the experience has been good. It's just like practice.

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