Bostic savoring his last season

Jon Bostic saved his best season for his last one. The senior linebacker is tied for second on the team in tackles and leads the Gators with three sacks while putting together his best season at Florida. The coaching staff challenged him in the offseason to get off blocks better and become an improved blitzer, and the adjustments have worked. Bostic is impacting the game in multiple ways.

"I feel like I have improved a lot in a lot of areas—taking on blocks and really just trying to get the defense lined up," Jon Bostic said. "I'm just trying to bring everybody along. We've got some young guys that have to step up each and every week in different positions—just bringing them along and helping them. I feel like I improved in a lot of areas."

Bostic's 33 tackles are tied with Matt Elam for second on the team. Along with his three sacks, the senior linebacker leads the team with a total of six tackles for a loss. He has also broken up two passes, recorded three quarterback hurries and forced one fumble.

The senior has the size and speed to make plays, but that didn't happen as consistently as Bostic and the coaches wanted before this season.

"The biggest thing with Jon was disengage on blocks and playing blockers up front and playing more physical at the point of attack and that's what he's doing," Muschamp said. "He's getting on big linemen in our league and shedding them and getting off and making plays. You're going to get blocked. That's going to happen. Good players don't stay blocked long and Jon hasn't.

"He's been very active and a very instinctive player. He plays well in space. He covers well in space."

The play from the defensive line has also helped the linebackers. The linemen are attacking blocks and holding up blockers, allowing the linebackers to come up and make plays in the running game.

It shows in the statistics. While Bostic is tied for second in tackles, freshman linebacker Antonio Morrison is fourth. Reserve linebacker Michael Taylor is eighth on the team with 21 tackles. The linebackers totaled have 11 tackles for a loss this season.

"We're playing blocks a lot more square up front this year, and that's really helping me and a lot of the other linebackers out, too," Bostic said.

The depth at linebacker gives Muschamp what he wants on defense. Bostic and Jelani Jenkins were already on campus when he took the job in Gainesville, and the unit gives the Gators playmakers up the middle. It's that kind of depth that he wants to build on the rest of the defense, but linebacker was one of the few positions he didn't have to focus on after taking the job.

"I'm young, but I'm old-fashioned," Muschamp said. "You're only as good as you are up the middle. We've been pretty strong up the middle, and I would say the same thing offensively. Mike Gillislee, Jeff Driskel, Jon Harrison, Jon Halapio and Jimmy Wilson. You better be strong up the middle. In whatever sport you're talking about, you better be strong up the middle."

Bostic is doing his best to make sure that happens in his senior year.


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