"I had to take on a vocal role and being a leader out there, so I'm going to take that on and bring the young guys along with me," Jaye Howard said.
In previous seasons, Howard watched as the older players on the team took the reigns as leaders. They spent extra time in the film room and on the practice field to set the example of what needed to happen for the team to rebound.
Sitting back and watching others lead in past years, Howard feels like he is ready to take over that role now.
"Looking back at the '08 team, we took a devastating loss against Ole Miss," Howard said. "That team responded well. I feel like we have enough playmakers and leadership on this team to respond well next week at LSU."
It's hard to take the immediate sting out of Saturday night's loss to Alabama, especially for the defensive line. The unit was viewed as the strength of the defense and maybe even the best unit on the team. During the game, it didn't look like it.
"He's a force," Howard said. "I face scat backs every day in practice that are shake and bake, but he's a powerful guy that will try to run through you. It takes eleven hats to bring him down."
After the 65-yard touchdown strike from John Brantley to Andre Debose to start the game for Florida, the defensive took it on the chin. The Alabama offensive line enforced their will, allowing the Crimson Tide to run the ball wherever and whenever they wanted.
"The defensive line, we didn't control the line of scrimmage tonight," Howard said. "There were times we looked good, and there were times they ran right through us. We've got to come back and correct it. I feel like we could've shed blocks better."
Howard wasn't throwing his defensive line under the bus. He took plenty of responsibility. Despite being second on the team with eight tackles, Howard isn't going to waste time looking for improvements.
"I'm going to be in here (Sunday) watching film and correcting my mistakes," Howard said. "I feel like I left some plays on the field that I should've had. We didn't come up. Our front has been making big plays all year long, but we came into this game and didn't make big plays. We were (in the backfield), but we just couldn't wrap them up."
His leadership on and off the field could be even more important if Brantley misses significant time after he was injured when sacked on Saturday night. Driskel 2-for-6 through the air for 14 yards, but Howard said they still have confidence in him.
"That's why the twos get reps in practice, to be ready for situations like that," he said. "Yeah Driskel is a freshman, but we have trust in him that he can come in and perform for us.
"It hurts us when he went down, but we have enough confidence in Driskel. He's a great player."