Lo-Ed Says He's Ready to Step Up

For some seniors, they view their final season as their last chance to play college football, but for Gator linebacker Lorenzo Edwards it's more like his first chance. The fourth year player from Orlando Edgewater said it is past time for him to make an impact and he's determined to do it this year.

Lorenzo Edwards said it's been frustrating to play behind veterans his entire career, but that's been the case with Brandon Spikes, Dustin Doe and Ryan Stamper among several guys that kept Edwards on the sidelines.

Edwards has seen some playing time in his career, appearing in 32 of the 41 Gator games in that span. He has racked up 43 tackles in his three seasons with many of them coming on special teams

Now that he's a senior, Edwards said he will be on the field more. He says there's excellent chemistry among the five veteran linebackers, citing Jelani Jenkins, A.J. Jones, Brandon Hicks and John Bostic. He says any of the five could be starters, but all are capable of making plays for the Gators this fall. I had a chance to go one on one with Lo-Ed on media day.

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LV: Is it time for you to get on the field with this defense?

LE: It's been past due time. I've been behind some great players and I've learned a lot from them. I'm ready to transition from playing behind them to stepping up and being the leader I know I can be.

LV: How did you deal with the frustration of waiting for your time?

LE: I just tried to take it out on someone at practice and go hard every day to show them what I've got.

LV: How are you a better player now?

LE: I'm working on all the little things, because it's the little things that count. (Things like) footwork, getting my reads, things like that.

LV: How important is it for the five veterans to get it done so the Gators don't have to rely on freshmen to play right away?

LE: It's very important. There's a lot of competition going on and that's showing them (the freshmen) how to get it done. I think the competition can only make each of us better.

LV: It seems like everyone is taught all three LB spots, do you have a favorite spot?

LE: No, not really. I like all of them. I feel like if you're a play maker you can make plays from all of the positions. I know all of them and am very familiar with what I have to do at each spot.

LV: You came here as a safety and pass coverage has always come naturally to you. How have you improved against the run?

LE: I've made a lot of progress against the run. That's what I've been focused on mainly. I feel like I've come a long way with that. Pass coverage is still there, but I've been focused on my run defense.

LV: How is the competition and chemistry among the group?

LE: The competition is crazy, but I enjoy it. We just go out there and play for each other and have fun without the competition in mind. The chemistry among us is fine and whatever combination is out there can do the job.

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Lorenzo Edwards is a guy many have been rooting for since he first arrived on campus. He's a genuinely nice guy who is intelligent and well spoken, and serves on the student-athlete advisory committee. He just hasn't been able to find his niche on the field. Right now he appears solidly in the top five in the LB mix, but certainly young veteran Dee Finley and the three freshmen (Michael Taylor, Darrin Kitchens and Gideon Ajagbe plan to disrupt that plan in pre-season scrimmages. It'll be interesting to see if he can hold his ground and make his senior season something special.


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