Chris Rumph Sees Plenty of Improvement

Florida defensive line coach Chris Rumph likes what he sees from the group; confident they can fill those holes left by Jonathan Bullard and Alex McCallister.

Florida is over halfway through spring practice and defensive line coach Chris Rumph is impressed so far. 

"See improvement in guys," said Rumph. "Seeing the picking up concepts better from last year. They know where to go." 

Rumph has quite the task though this spring. The Gators are losing two of their leading pass rushers in Jonathan Bullard and Alex McCalister. Together Bullard and McCallister recorded 13 sacks and 27 tackles for a loss. 

"At first it has to be a committee," Rumph told reporter, "and then hopefully one of those young guys or one of the old heads will take the bull by the horn and run with it."

"They say it was hard to replace Dante (Fowler Jr.), but Jon stepped up," Rumph added. "So somebody will have to step up and be whoever that guy is this year."

There are a couple of potential replacements or guys that can help fill the gap left by those two guys: CeCe JeffersonJoey Ivie and Caleb Brantley are three that will need to step up. 

Jefferson's versatility will help Florida down the line, and although the defensive tackle has been banged up, Rumph understands his potential. 

"He's been hurt," said Rumph, "hasn't been able to go full speed. The little bit I have seen of him has been pretty good. He's a guy that can play all four positions if he really wanted to. To have a guy like that inside is going to create some problems for people."

Both Brantley and Ivie are also coming off of injuries, however, Rumph has been equally pleased. 

"He's [Ivie] fighting. He's a tough kid," Rumph said about the senior defensive lineman.  "I'm very pleased with him and just his toughness. It's tough, man, to come out there off of hernia surgery and stuff like that, and then he had a knee surgery as well. He's doing good."

Brantley "just made up his mind mentally that he wants to be a player. He's not giving in to some of the things from before. He's conditioning, being in shape and pushing."

The Holley Transformation 

Hip injury sidelined Thomas Holley for two years, however, this offseason he took matters into his own hands and lost 60 pounds. The redshirt sophomore is now listed at 260-pounds. 

"I didn't [recognize him]," joked Rumph about Holley's transformation. "I thought it was somebody's uncle running out on the field. I was looking around thinking it was some punk."

This weight loss was most likely Holley's last chance at playing football. 

"Just happy for him, just pleased with him," Rumph added.  "It’s a blessing to see him out there and see him going. I don’t care or really worry about how he does, just him being out there is tremendous.”

Younger Guys Stepping Up

Keivonnis Davis has seen some reps with the first team this spring, and Rumph has certainly seen improvement in Davis. 

"That guy's done a really good job of just picking up the defense. The other guys have done a good job of just coaching him up, helping him, calming him down and just giving him confidence in himself and his own abilities," said Rumph about the sophomore defensive end. "He’s slowing down and he’s playing within himself. He’s not out there reaching and trying to do something outside the framework of the defense. He’s just getting better."

Although Holley needed to lose wright, redshirt freshman Jabari Zuniga is working on putting weight back on. 

"He's looking really good," said Rumph. "I'm trying to get some more weight back on him in the right way. But it's good to see guys in the bowl prep that really did a lot of good things and then you've got a break and the season's over and you've got spring ball and you want to see if that guy's gonna pick up where he's left off or if he's going to start all over. He's been one of the guys who picked up. It's been really pleasing.

"He's going to be somewhere on the end. His frame's not big enough to be an inside guy, but he's definitely going to cause some havoc on the edges for us."

Gray a Welcome Addition

"I think the guys respect him," said Rumph.  "Not trying to be fake for them; he is just Torrian Gray. Same thing with the staff, he is talking and bringing ideas and things they did at Virginia Tech He is telling things he liked on film and things he didn't like. He is doing a really good job." 


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