Powell Remains Optimistic in Recovery

Every word out of Ronald Powell's mouth at Florida's media day about his recovery from a torn ACL happened with a smile on his face. Head coach Will Muschamp and Florida players have spoken about the junior's positive attitude to his ACL recovery. Powell showed it on Thursday. Powell won't put a timetable on his return but keeps it in the back of his mind as he works out the knee every day.

"It's going good," Ronald Powell said. "It has been good for me. I'm attacking every day and trying to do the best thing for me, my family and my team, which is my family."

The injury happened during Florida's spring game and will test the depth in the early part of the season. Powell led the team in sacks last season from the BUCK position, which will be manned by Lerentee McCray and Neiron Ball until Powell returns.

Muschamp has remained optimistic about getting Powell back at some point in 2012, but there hasn't been a commitment for what his timetable could be. Powell isn't targeting any game. Instead, he says he's trying to put his head down and go into rehab with a positive mindset every day.

"I don't have a target date," Powell said. "It's whenever God blesses me with the opportunity to be back on the field. I don't plan on redshirting, but if it's in God's will to do that, then that will be my decision."

The injury has been hard because of how injury-free Powell has been before it. He called the surgery to repair the ACL the first of his football career.

"This was my first time going through it," Powell said. "I've always been a fast healer. I've always been able to push through things."

The rehab was a challenge in the early process. It became boring as Powell went through the same exercises over and over. That changed recently.

"It switches every day," Powell said. "Early in the rehab, it was really repetitive. Now it's every other day with balance, strengthening, running and other things."

While Powell will spend his time at practice on the sideline, that doesn't mean he won't still be involved. He wants to help. Ball and McCray will see time at the BUCK position, but freshman Dante Fowler will also get reps during practice.

"I find myself working with all of them—the whole defense," Powell said. "We're all coming together and playing as a team. That's what we plan on doing this year. I plan on working with whoever wants advice from me. If they come to me for advice, I'll give it to them." As soon as Fowler got to Gainesville, Powell decided to take the freshman under his wing. Fowler's size and athleticism caught Powell's eye from the beginning. They've spent time together off the field to build their relationship.

It's not just a friendship. Powell has been on top of the freshman to make sure he's staying in his playbook and learning the Florida defense.

"It's a good thing that me and Fowler hang out," Powell said. "We all hang out. We can be sitting at the house playing (a video game), and he can ask me, "What do I do on this play?" I can spit it right back at him. That's a pretty good thing.

"We'll be sitting and talking, and I'll ask him how he's doing in his playbook and picking it up. He'll tell me and spit it back to me. Sometimes he just spits it out either way."

Powell was thrown into the fire to learn the defense on his own without many older players to help. There were reports of a divide between the older and young players during his freshman year, and going into his sophomore season, Powell was on his own to learn Muschamp's defensive scheme.

Fowler has the benefit of older players to lean on.

"I really do think he's going to be a wonderful player," Powell said. "He's going to learn how to work hard and be a team player. Once he gets that down, he'll start putting the team first, which we aren't having a problem with now, but he'll pick up and follow to bring it together with the rest of the d-line."

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