A Special Talent

Carlos Dunlap was one of the standouts during spring workouts and he's penciled in to start opposite Jermaine Cunningham on the defensive line. Defensive line coach Dan McCarney talked about what the sophomore brings to the table and what he needs to improve on when fall camp starts up in a few weeks.

What is it that Carlos needs to improve on to be effective in the fall?

"He's got to develop and channel [his size, speed and strength] into 4-6 seconds of football play, play after play after play, and develop that consistency. He needs to become a dominant run defender and a dominant pass rusher. I'd take four exactly like him across the front every year. I think Steve Addazio would take five exactly like him across the offensive line as well. If we keep bringing Carlos Dunlap-types in around here, we're going to challenge for a lot of national championships around here."

When you took the job with Florida, how did you become acquainted with Carlos?

"I talked to Greg Mattison. We've been friends since the ‘70s. He walked me throw every kid that I'd be coaching just to talk about strengths and weaknesses and his impressions. He said about Carlos that he's an unbelievable talent. He's got great potential. He hasn't come close to scratching the surface as a player, and he was exactly accurate. When you hear about a guy that big, you start thinking there must be something missing. He must be real stiff or he's not that athletic or he's not that tough. He's really got it in him, and it's up to me to get it out of him play after play and down after down. He's willing. He's got a lot of pride."

Will Carlos exclusively be an outside guy?

"I don't think he's an inside guy. We did try that this spring. We put him inside for some goal line and we put him inside for some three-technique stuff, but I don't think that's his forte. I think he's an end. I think that's where his strength is. He's what we call a fox where he's going to play against a tight end. Of course, he's going to play against a tackle. He'll play a lot of combo blocks from the tackles and tight ends. You can still bring him in off the edge. This spring we tried to move him around a lot to try and accentuate his abilities with our defense."

Will he need to drop back into coverage at times?

"Nowadays with zone blitzes, everybody has got to be able to drop back into coverage. We want to keep him coming though. He needs to be on the field most of the time rushing the quarterback."

How difficult will it be for opposing quarterbacks to try and throw over him?

"You talk about the range and the length of arms, and if he times it right. The idea is to pressure the quarterback and collapse the pocket. We know we're not going to sack the quarterback every time. If they get one, great, super. They'll get their picture on the wall. They'll also get a picture on the wall in my meeting room for a big play, and that can be a knock down on third down or a batted down pass."

He blocked a kick last season. Is special teams still in his future as well?

"He's a guy that we took a good look at in the middle of our line blocking kicks. I think he'd be great at that. There was one day in the spring on one of our competitive days where we were going PAT block early. Urban said if you can get a block here, it will be 10 points for our defense. Carlos got airborne and knocked one down and got 10 points for the defense. He really has it in him, he's just not that play-in play-out kind of guy on every down yet with relentless effort. That's my job. I have to get that out of him and if we can, then he has the chance to be one of the premier defensive ends in the SEC."

What does he need to do to become one of the elite defensive ends in the SEC?

"He needs to learn how to play a toss, play a trap, play an option. Everyone's going to run misdirection. Everyone is going to run influence blocks. A lot of stuff happens on the edge of a defense. Out there on the edge, they're coming from the inside and the outside. They've got all sorts of things happening. Do I have the quarterback or do I have the pitch? There are a lot of assignments and responsibilities. You have to have good feet and good awareness. That's why I'm really impressed with Carlos because he does have a lot of that."

What's his work ethic like, especially in the weight room?

"Sometimes he has a look on his face like this isn't all that important, and he doesn't want to be there. But when you challenge him, he does it."

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski

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