Injury Brings New Dance Moves for Easley

Florida junior defensive lineman Dominique Easley is well known for his high energy on the football field. The talented lineman is as energetic as ever heading into the 2012 football season. After overcoming an ACL injury, Easley is ready to get back on the field and try out some new dance moves in between plays.

Despite having the added pressure of overcoming a torn ACL, Dominique Easley had a positive offseason in Gainesville.

"The offseason has been good. Everybody's rolling," he said.

According to Easley, everyone had impressive moments during the offseason workouts. In his mind, the difficulties of the past season allowed numerous Gator football players to gain maturity. With the sting of last season still fresh in their memories, the Florida Gators were determined to make every moment count.

"Everybody has stepped up in their own different ways. Everybody wants to be more a part of everything and everybody is trying to work hard," Easley said.

Another change that Easley noticed was that the team seemed more comfortable in Florida head coach Will Muschamp's system. Since they have had time to learn the system, they are able to rely more fully on their instincts to make plays.

"I'm definitely more comfortable being under the system and being under Coach Muschamp for a year now it makes it a whole lot better because we are used to it so we know what he expects and we know what he wants so all we have to do is just give it," he said.

During the offseason, Easley also noticed the difference in the strength and conditioning program. Since Jeff Dillman took over as the strength coach for the University of Florida, Easley thinks that the strength program has been more closely related to what they are trying to accomplish on the football field.

"We've noticed a big difference in the strength program with Coach Dillman. Coach Mickey Marotti has a great strength program but certain people aren't meant for certain strength coaches. I think Coach Dillman has made us advance in many ways that Mickey Marotti has but it is just better for us. I think it is a better fit," he said.

For Easley, the offseason was full of struggles as well as positive moments. The talented lineman had a lot to overcome. The most significant battle that he faced started when he was forced to leave the field during the game against Florida State in 2011.

"When I got hurt I heard it pop, but I wasn't really too worried about the injury. I was just trying to get back out on the field," he said.

Easley is moving around great

Although there were some hard times, Easley was able to remember that he would emerge from the trial as a stronger person and football player.

"There were a couple of tough moments during my rehab but the tough moments are the best moments to remember. Getting my hip and my leg strength back was kind of hard," he said.

According to Easley, he is once again feeling up to speed.

"I feel great, like a horse," he said.

"I wish I could eat a hundred donuts right now I'm so excited to be back running. It feels good," he added.

Now that his teammate and close friend Ronald Powell is going through a similar trial, Easley is happy that he has gained wisdom that can help him outlast the ordeal.

"I tell Ronald every day to just make the experience fun. Don't make it like it's an ACL injury; just make it like it's just another challenge that you have to get through," Easley said.

Apparently, Powell and Easley are not the only Gator defenders motivating each other on and off of the field.

"When I see [junior defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd] do something good I want to be right there doing it. When he makes plays I want to be right there beside him. His excitement is my excitement," Easley said.

This season, the pair is planning on providing the Gator Nation with multiple forms of entertainment.

"I'm going to have to save my new dances for the season. Sharrif actually got a new dance for himself. It's called the cowboy dance," he said.

Clearly, Easley is a very emotional player. He is well aware that his emotional playing style will be influenced by the disappointing results of the 2011 football season.

"This season is going to be very emotional because last season was a hurtful season so it's going to be an emotional season," Easley admits.

Since the team shared the hurtful experiences of last season, Easley thinks that they have been able to form a closer bond in the offseason.

"We were really worried too much about what people were thinking about us. We came together as a team and we're more into each other's lives so we just closer and we hold each other accountable more. We trust each other more," he said.

It is this trust that Easley hopes will make the biggest difference on the field. Certainly, the players and coaches will use the experiences of the previous season to motivate themselves during camp. Time will tell if their experiences have equipped them for the trials that are still to come.

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