For David Sharpe, it’s been a grind of an early career at Florida. As a freshman he came to start and although that didn’t happen in year one, he got on the field quite a bit. As a sophomore a year ago Sharpe was pushed to start and did so. He played well at times, but on a line that struggled with consistency the entire year he also struggled.
He feels like the journey so far has been ripe with experiences and teachings that have made him ready for that next step, having a strong full season.
“I just feel better about the game, period,” Sharpe told the media this week. “I learned a lot more technique wise and have gotten a lot stronger, and I know what to expect this year. That helps a lot.”
Watching film ad his nose in the playbook has helped a great deal as well.
“All that is important,” he said. “All the technique, knowing your playbook, knowing defenders, knowing the defense. All of that.”
One thing that was an issue since his arrival is too much girth. Extra weight helps push on defensive linemen, but it also keeps you from maximizing your energy over time and before the end of games he was too tired to be fully effective or he had to come out altogether. Sharpe has worked on that as well.
"I definitely ate much better,” he said of the offseason. “I gave up a lot of the bad (fried) foods I used to eat and just take everything more serious in the summer training and doing stuff after."
"I can go much longer. When you get tired you get a little sloppy and we need to get away from that."
The three most veteran guys up front now are center Cameron Dillard and Martez Ivey and Sharpe on the left side. The latter two are after each other to get better and Sharpe feels like they have something for their opponents this season.
“It’s great… I feel like it’s Batman and Robin,” Sharpe said f he and Ivey as a combo. “We’re taking pride in not getting beat every day. We do those line games and one-on-ones. It’s great playing next to him.”
One thing that the staff asked Sharpe to do this year is be a leader. As the most experienced lineman and the left tackle up front, the still really young offensive line needs some guidance. He should be a natural fit. He’s taken on that role and tried to push his teammates as well.
"In the Spring I talked to coach and he wanted me to be that guy and be a leader and take the leadership role.
"We always want to get out there on the sleds and work on our footwork. We always get out there in the summer workouts. When we get in here (indoor practice facility), we do a lot of stuff."
Everyone knew last season was going to be rough up front. Sharpe says this season will be a lot different.
"A lot of confidence,” he said about the offensive line group. “I feel like a lot of the guys can do the job. Got to get a little more confidence in Fred (Johnson) and work on his game, but other than that, everyone else looks good. Even Jawaan Taylor, he’s taken a big step over the summer and the spring and he looks good."