The Gators rallied this week and facing a very efficient offense in Kentucky that was bent on pushing a fast paced style on Florida, they shut the Wildcat offense out of the end zone in another dominating performance, well representative of the games Easley was a part of.
We had to come out there and do what we do," Dante Fowler said after the 24-7 win. "We wanted to make Easley proud. We wanted to play very hard, just like he does."
Junior linebacker Michael Taylor says the other guys up front like Fowler, sophomore defensive end Jonathan Bullard, and defensive tackles Leon Orr, Damien Jacobs, and Darious Cummings all stepped up their games like Taylor thought they would.
"They are very capable," Taylor said of the linemen. "It will hurt a lot to miss a guy like Easley. He is a very integral part of what we did on defense. It will be hard to move on without him, but we will do it for him.
Kentucky is one of several teams that are imploring a hurry-up offense and wanting to dictate tempo in games. The Wildcats started the game with a quick long drive where they ran to the line of scrimmage and got into a little bit of rhythm. They went 75 yards and scored on a fake field goal. But, that was it for the Wildcats who only managed 98 yards total the rest of the night.
"We knew they were going to try and tempo us and go fast," Taylor said. "We just had to have emergency line up to the ball. The way to stop tempo teams is three-and-outs, so we stopped a lot of their tempo offense.
Indeed four of seven drives by the Wildcats ended with six yards or less production.
"Get them off the field," Fowler said. "We basically want to tempo it out. Once we tempo them and get them off the field, our offense did a good job of staying on the field so we just wanted to get three and outs and get them off the field."
Fowler had a good night notching two of the five sacks by the Gators. The quick passing game was tough to get a lot of heat on the Wildcat quarterbacks, but they were still disruptive up front and the sacks were a big part of the success.
"Just being able to get pressure," Fowler said. "The sacks kill hurry up drives and trying to get to the ball out fast. I just wanted to pin my ears back and get to the quarterback."
The Gators have seen quite a few styles of offenses and will likely be on top of most of the national defensive stats again after their fourth game of the year. The Gators are showing some intimidation as they play. The hard sacks, a huge hit by safety Jabari Gorman, and constant thuds from Taylor have to be reminders during the game that the next play could hurt.
"I don't care what the offense does as long as we fly around and get to the ball I think we will be successful," Taylor said. "Not every team we play now is like old school football. It won't be two-back run and two-back power. There are spread teams that want to spread you out. When you get to them you want to make the big hit. When you run around, we want to hit you when we get there."
Easley and Chuckie would approve.