Floyd Adjusted Fast

Sharrif Floyd learned quickly he wasn't in high school anymore. Just a few snaps into his first practice with shoulder pads on, and the freshman was already put on his back, causing him to lose his helmet. It took only those few snaps for him to realize the need for change.

"I learned the first day that my high school techniques and habits had to get out quick," Sharrif Floyd said.

Floyd doesn't even remember who the offensive lineman was that pancaked him. It happened that fast. However, the freshman does know it was the first time he had ever been pancaked in his life.

"It felt crazy," Floyd said with a look of disbelief. "I didn't know what that felt like."

The defensive tackle's response to his mistake is the most important thing. When practice came to an end, he found defensive line coach Dan McCarney and started to talk about it. Floyd was upfront with his position coach, saying, "I got put on my back and I don't ever want that to happen again."

The two spent time in the film room as soon as they could. McCarney flipped on the tape of practice and made a few points.

The first was the way Floyd used his hands. He was passive with them at the snap of the ball, and it kept him from using his strength to his advantage.

He also needed to stay low and stop crossing his feet.

"(Coach McCarney) told me that each day I should find something from the previous day that I want to focus on improving," Floyd said.

The difference was stunning. Floyd realized right away that the strength in his hands is too much to ignore using. He stopped crossing his feet, giving him better balance. Floyd also focused on staying low to get better leverage.

"Oh my God, it was already a dramatic change," Floyd said. "Imagine if I keep applying that and doing everything I'm learning. Then I'm going to have a great season and a great career."

Since the adjustment, Floyd has been the one throwing the opposition around. He won't name the guys he has thrown to the dirt, but he wants to make it's very clear that he knows who they are.

After making the few quick tweaks, Floyd now is ready to fight. The Gators return their top five defensive tackles from last season, and they're all healthy this year. Add Floyd, Dominique Easley and Leon Orr to the mix, and coach McCarney will only play his best guys.

"It's actually refreshing because you don't have to think that you won't be on the field unless you're starting," Floyd said. "You just want to give it all you've got and show effort getting to the ball."

It didn't take long for the freshmen to bond. Most of the players knew others from playing in all-star games as seniors in high school. Once they showed up in Gainesville, they knew right away the importance of their relationships to the team's success.

"The first week we got here, we all just seemed to come together," Floyd said. "Now we're just like a fist because we can't be broken. We're ready to throw punches. We all love each other."

Through the ups and downs of fall camp, Floyd always looks forward to that first game. Running out of the tunnel September 4 when the Gators host Miami (OH) has been in the back of his mind since he signed with Florida.

He made a recruiting visit to Gainesville last year for the game against Tennessee and got a taste of The Swamp atmosphere.

"I couldn't hear anything," Floyd recalled. "Now that I'm going to be a part of it, it's going to be one hell of an experience. It's going to be crazy. People jumping around with no shirts on with "GATORS" written all over their body, orange and blue everywhere. I just can't wait. I love it."
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