Kan Li / Scout

Burning questions about the Gators DL

The season is fast approaching and the anticipation is thick for what could be a very good year for the Florida Gators football team. With most of the practices behind closed doors, there are many with questions. We approached the members of our site to glean what they most want to know about the Gator defensive line. Here are the answers to those questions.

Fightin’ Gators Question: Think this group will be the elite in the SEC?

Bob Redman: I imagine this question comes from the note that SEC Network’s Booger McFarland called the Florida defensive line the best in the SEC. I very much think this group could be that good. As a matter of fact on the first day of fall practice I wrote / commented that this was the most impressive looking group on the field. And that comment was mean for just about every single scholarship player in the unit.

I think there is plenty of speed and quickness. There is experience and there is a nice mixture of youthful talent as well. Coach Chris Rumph should have fun with this group


Fightin’ Gators Question: Who is the best outside pass rusher?

Bob Redman: This Is a tough question to answer. If we are talking down the line I would go with freshman Antonneous Clayton. While I think he will play this year, I think he needs to add some weight and so he won’t be out there a bunch.

I will go with Bryan Cox. I think Cox is going to have a very big year and will get to play the RUSH end at times. He doesn’t have the ultra-quickness of Alex McCalister, but I think his combination of size and speed are going to be a lot for most tackles to handle.


Fightin’ Gators Question: Who will lead this team in sacks?

I think we will to see the strong line of defensive tackles come through and Caleb Brantley will lead the team in sacks. He moves over more to the three-technique and has his body in the best shape of his life. He’s still big but his sudden quickness is hard for the guys inside to handle. I think he has a Dominique Easley kind of presence inside this year.


Fightin’ Gators Question: What percentage of snaps do you see CeCe Jefferson inside vs. outside?

Bob Redman: I would go about 70-30 with a heavy lean on the inside for Jefferson. This is a move for the future as much as everything, but he too is a very quick guy inside that has extremely strong hands that allow him to combat inside at a high level. H’s definitely a play making tackle.


Fightin’ Gators Question: Which freshmen do you think play and which redshirt?

Bob Redman: Rumph showed last year that he would play a lot of players and I don’t see any of the three true freshmen redshirting at this point. I’m not sure that any of Antonneous Clayton, Jordan Smith, or Jachai Polite play a lot, but I think they all will get time on the field this year. I like Smith and Clayton at the RUSH and Polite as a guy that plays the strong side and could grow into a three-technique or combo player.


Fightin’ Gators Question: How big do we want Luke Ancrum, and how far away is he?

Bob Redman: I think getting Ancrum around 285 is optimum.  I would say he is in the 250 range now, so he still has some time to go. I will say of all the defensive linemen that looked great this fall, he seemed to make the biggest strides of any of them in terms of changing his body for the better. I like the direction he is heading.

Kan Li / Scout

Fightin’ Gators Question: Very little discussion about Taven Bryan who at times flashed a great motor last year. What is the latest?

Bob Redman: The players sometimes fall victim to the press in terms of not getting mentioned. Jim McElwain is never one to talk up an individual player, so unless asked he doesn’t usually mention some guys. Regardless, Bryan will get a lot of work and they think he is a true player that will make some noise in 2016.


Fightin’ Gators Question: Khairi Clark and Antonneous Clayton, any insight on their expected snap count?

Clark will run right behind Joey Ivie at the nose and will spell him. If passing situation, Brantley would slide in there sometimes, but figure Ivie gets 65% of the snaps and Clark getting about 30% or more.  He has had a really good fall as well.


Fightin’ Gators Question: Who has the biggest year, Clark, Joey Ivie or Jordan Sherit?

I think the hope would be Sherit, but I am going to go with Ivie. I am probably in the minority here, but I believe he is such a great compliment to Brantley this year that it will play into his hands. Doing his job doesn’t lead to stats sometimes, but that doesn’t mean he won’t do it at a very high level. I expect it.


Fightin’ Gators Question: Who are, in order, the best pass rushers....say 1 to 5?

Dang you guys…  Okay, I will try…  (1) Caleb Brantley (2) Bryan Cox (3) CeCe Jefferson (4) Jordan Sherit (5) Keivonnis Davis


Fightin’ Gators Question: Do we think we finally have some balance when it comes to pressuring the QB from the inside and outside. We haven't had balance for quite some time. When we had Floyd and Easley we were missing ends. Then we had a great end in Fowler, but were lacking quality tackles. Today, we have some nice tackles, but I question if the ends are where we need them to be. Would welcome your thoughts?

Bob Redman: I know pog noted it on the board, but I believe we had some balance last year with Bullard and McCalister. I think Cox has a big year, but do agree that we aren’t exactly certain if we will have a really quick end that will get to the quarterback. There are young bucks waiting to be that guy, but we have to see as the season goes with Sherit, Cox, and Davis.


Fightin’ Gators Question: Haven't heard much about Joey Ivie in the press conferences or the practice updates. Hurt, behind, or just coincidence?

Bob Redman: He’s fine and playing well. As mentioned above, unless prodded by the media, McElwain doesn’t really talk about individuals.


Fightin’ Gators Question: Of the younger guys -- Clayton, Davis, Reed, Smith, Polite -- which two or three do you expect to impact early and why?

Bob Redman: This is Justus Reed's third year so he is starting not to be so young anymore. I think he has a lot of potential and hope it breaks out this year. It seems he makes plays when in the game. Of the three freshmen, I expect all three to play in 2016, but Clayton the most. He may have that quick burst they can use up front, but as I mentioned he needs to gain a bit of muscle.



Fightin’ Gators Question: Which of our young defensive line players you feel have three year and done talent? Zuniga and who else?

Bob Redman: Zuniga redshirted last year, so I wouldn’t put him on that list. Clayton has to get bigger or he would be the only one I would mention at this point.


Fightin’ Gators Question: What level are our backup defensive tackles?

Bob Redman: Taven Bryan, Khairi Clark, CeCe Jefferson… athletically this is a terrific group.  Bryan is an absolute freak at 290+ pounds and Jefferson will be in the 280 pound range during the season and be very quick for inside guys. Clark lost weight and he feels great playing a little smaller. He will still play at the nose/ Last year he played more than I expected, then again Rumph was able to do that with several. I talked about Ancrum as well. I just think he is a year away.


Fightin’ Gators Question: Who is the best Florida DL you've ever seen?

Bob Redman: This question got m at first, but after thinking about it I will go with freshman center T.J. McCoy’s dad, Tony McCoy.  He was a monster inside and with the suddenness that would drive interior linemen crazy. He played so nasty in the trenches he scared people. One of my favorite and the best I have seen personally in my opinion.


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