Is Coaching in Earl Everett's Future?

In many respects, linebacker Earl Everett has come a long way from South Sumter High School. From the moment he stepped onto the University of Florida campus, he has been counted on to contribute. His two years in Gainesville are a career for many in the collegiate game.

Everett started six games as a true freshman when he recorded 460 plays. His efforts earned him Freshman All-SEC honors by both the league's coaches and The Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Last season, Everett earned second team All-SEC honors by a vote of the league's coaches. He started every game alongside Channing Crowder, and the two of them tutored then freshman Brandon Siler, who went on to secure many awards himself. In the spring, Everett tutored Billy Latsko and Eric Rutledge, a pair of former fullbacks who moved to linebacker. More recently, he's been seen working with the talented freshman linebackers.

"It's about bringing them in, sitting them down and watching film with them," Everett said. "Last Thursday, me and Brandon got Daryl Gresham, Jon Demps, and Kalvin Baker together. We brought them in without the coaches around and we watched film from practice. We talked to them about the plays and what they've got to do. The older guys take the younger guys and help them out. That's one of the main things that we've got to do. We did the same thing (earlier) with (Billy) Latsko and Eric Rutledge, too.

"It (coaching) is something that I'd think about doing in the future," he continued. "It's kind of fun teaching those young guys, you know. I go back (to South Sumter) every time I get a chance. They really get behind their (former) players and pull for them and go watch them play. That's a great thing to have. I'd hope to do that if I ever did coach somewhere."

Everett agreed with the many others who have said that improved camaraderie has been achieved among team members. He also acknowledged that it has been a busy, yet quiet summer.

"We (linebackers) definitely hang out a lot," he stated. "We just get together and chill out in the dorm with the younger guys. A lot of times we try to stay away from the clubs and stuff. All kinds of stuff happens down there. We're all very happy that nothing has happened this summer."

Earl at a recent practice

He will again help anchor a Florida linebacking crew that is short on depth, not talent. He credits his development to hard work and maturity.

"I think that I've grown a lot since I got here," he said. "Physically, I was only 204 pounds. I got the start around the sixth game of that season and I think that I weighed 211 then. Last spring I weighed 222 and now I'm 230, so I've probably made the biggest gains physically the past five months or so.

"Mentally, I've grown to just naturally react. That takes a little time. The year before last and some of last year, I was thinking a lot when I was on the field, but now I'm to the point where everything is just a reaction. It's a lot better for me."

That has not come so easy in the midst of a coaching change from Ron Zook to Urban Meyer. But, even those lessons have helped his game. Everett is doing things that he never expected to do as a linebacker. He considers it a welcome challenge too.

"I've actually improved coverage wise," Everett said laughing afterward. "A lot of times they have me out there covering receivers. It's kind of crazy, but it's something that I've just got to get used to. Those guys aren't slow. You know, Chad Jackson, Andre Caldwell, so I think my coverage has improved. The first thing that I think when we're out there (wide) is get back there and don't get beat deep. I like for them to catch the ball in front of me, that way guys will come over and help me. (laughing) You can't depend on that deep, if the safety has dropped over on somebody. As long as I jam them up and keep them in front of me, I'll be alright."

He reasoned that having players who listen and follow directions is the surest way to yield the fruits of success.

"We have to stay focused to win here," he said. "The new coaches have been amazing the way they've got us playing. The changes that they have made to the team are something, but we have to stay focused on those things and follow the game plan, and we should stay on top."

Spoken like a true coach.

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