Austin Still Experimenting with LB Corps

In just the third week of spring practice, the Florida Gators defensive coordinator is already starting to see what type of team he is inheriting. The new coordinator is expected his team to be a fast, physical defense that plays hard every play. But Austin still has plenty to figure out about his team before the start of next season.

Teryl Austin has wasted no time getting to know his team, something he said started in January during offseason workouts.

"You start figuring out what type of team you're gonna be right now," Austin said.

Austin has toyed with different lineups in order to find one he likes. One position that has seen a bunch mix-ups is linebacker.

"We are trying to create competition there, and our goal as coaches is to make sure we have the best guys on the field," Austin said. "If that means moving some guys around, that's what we are gonna do."

One of the guys who has moved around is Lorenzo Edwards. Edwards moved to inside linebacker this spring to compete with Jon Bostic and Brendan Beal for the starting job, but he saw time at outside linebacker at practice Monday.

Edwards delivered one of the hardest hits of spring practice when he rocked Jordan Reed on a draw play.

"It's going to see Zo get in there and make a nice hit," Austin said. "He's had a good spring so far."

Edwards hasn't been the only one at the spot who has impressed Austin this spring. Austin also has liked the play of Beal.

"He had a good scrimmage Saturday," Austin said "He's a thick body in there who can deliver a hit."

It hasn't just been linebackers either that have caught Austin's eye. Austin has also been happy with the play of his safeties. Freshman Matt Elam has quickly earned praised from his new coach.

"I think Matt has the chance to be a heck of a football player. He has a pretty good football IQ, plays good with his hands, has a good base," Austin said.

Junior Will Hill has gained his coach's respect because of the leadership he has brought this spring. With Major Wright gone, Hill will be the starting free safety, and be expected to be one of the defense's captains.

"Will is doing well. He's one of the older guys now. He is taking more of a leadership role, and he is kind of a quiet guy but when you watch him, he is doing everything 100 miles an hour."

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