Howard Wants to Improve Tackling

Jaye Howard doesn't see a lack of talent or ability on the Florida defense. It's a lack of desire to get the job done. The Gators struggled with tackling for the second straight week in a 41-11 clobbering by LSU. It's not that tackling would've given Florida a chance to win after they were dominated in every facet Saturday, but it's a recurring issues that isn't showing signs of improvement.

"You have to have the will to want to go tackle someone," Jaye Howard said. "Whenever I see a running back, I have the will to go do that. I want to bring him down. If we can get everyone like that, we'll be okay. I'm not blaming anyone, but we just have to play better as a defense.

"We just have to run through our man. That's one of the biggest things we have to work on—d-line and everyone."

Three of LSU's five touchdowns were of at least 23 yards, and on the drives that ended in short rushes for touchdowns, they were set up with big plays. The Tigers threw deep for big plays or the skill players wiggled their way through Florida tackles for big gains.

Despite forcing zero turnovers on Saturday, Howard thought the biggest problem was Florida defensive players trying to make too big of a play.

"Everyone just has to do just do their own job and not worry about trying to be a hero," Howard said. "We just have to do our own job and things like that won't happen. It's just one or two plays here and there that are gashing us for touchdowns. We've just got to clean those up."

Muschamp said depth is an issue, as Florida is playing three defensive ends and "three or four" defensive tackles. Howard agreed that it was an issue, but he didn't want to use it as an excuse. It does mean that the starters have to carry more of the weight.

Heading into the rest of the schedule, there isn't a shortage of good running backs that Florida will face this season. The Gators will see Auburn's Michael Dyer next week before facing the talented freshman Isaiah Crowell for Georgia at the end of the month. Then there's Marcus Lattimore, who torched Florida last season, lurking in November.

It means the Gators need to patch the holes in a hurry.

"We're not intimidated by anyone," Howard said. "We're going to come out, show up and play. We're trying to play to the best of our abilities, and we won't give up. We need to work on developing the team as a unit, especially as a front seven.

"Our offense is struggling right now and we have to carry the weight. We have to score on defense."

The kick to the gut for Howard came in the fourth quarter. LSU ran a jump pass from Jordan Jefferson to Mitch Joseph for a two-yard touchdown, a play that Florida broke out in 2006 with Tim Tebow against LSU.

Immediately after the play was complete, Howard looked to the LSU sideline for a familiar face. LSU receivers coach Billy Gonzales, who was the receivers coach at Florida in 2006, was laughing.

"That was tough that they did it against us," Howard said. "I looked at Billy G on the sideline and he was laughing. I feel like he had something to do with that."


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