Saturday offers Powell a shot at redemption

There aren't many positive memories for Ronald Powell when he thinks about Florida's last trip to Baton Rouge. He dealt with stingers through the game that kept him off the field with his teammates. On the field, the outcome wasn't much more enjoyable for the Gators. Florida suffered a 41-11 loss in the first career start for quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

Powell spent most of it on the sideline. He made one tackle on the second drive of the game for LSU, and he spent the rest of the game dealing with stingers that plagued him around that point in the 2011 season.

"Not being able to help my team and not being able to go out there and perform -- it still bothers me today," Ronald Powell said. "Getting a chance to go back there and perform with the guys I got now is going to be special for me."

Florida defensive back Jaylen Watkins referred to that game as the low point in the careers of most veteran players on the Florida roster. It was the first year under head coach Will Muschamp with a youthful defense that was still trying to figure out the scheme against one of the top teams in the country. The 30-point deficit even made the game feel closer than it was.

For Powell, it was heartbreaking to watch it from the sideline. He saw his teammates take a beating while not being able to be on the field and try to help.

The difference now is easy to feel in the locker room. The players have bought into what Muschamp and the Florida staff wants. They understand the expectations, and for a team loaded with juniors and seniors, they understand this is their last chance to change the outcome in Baton Rouge.

"I think we've got a lot more people that are bought in to what Coach Champ wants to do," Powell said. "We've got a great coaching staff, and everybody is out there and having fun, flying around and being physical. That's what Coach Champ's identity to what he wants.

"He likes tough dudes. He likes people that are going to be physical and hit people in the mouth. We've got a defense that wants to go out and do that along with a front, an o-line that wants to do the same thing."

The Florida defense will have to get to LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger on Saturday. The Tigers are having success through the air, but to keep Mettenberger on his toes, the Gators know they have to hit him.

That's not much different from most weeks. Every weekend, the goal for the Florida defense is the same -- hit the quarterback.

"That's kind of been our identity, coming after the quarterback, getting after him, getting hits on the quarterback, pressuring the quarterback, making him make bad decisions," Powell said. "That's kind of what we do, that's what we want to do. We want to play physical and force our will on people."

Once those hits come on the quarterback, it starts to head downhill for the opposing offense. The Gators try to establish early in the game that they will be in the backfield all game, hoping to spook the quarterback for the rest of the day.

"There's a noticeable difference," Powell said about what happens when they hit the quarterback. "A quarterback taking 14 hits in the game from me from Fowler, from Bullard -- it's going to take a toll on them. It's going to cause him not stand in the pocket as much."

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