Bostic, LBs Learning in the Film Room

Most nights during spring practice, Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins could be found in each other's room watching DVDs. Instead of getting together to watch movies, the two friends spent time watching film from that day's practice. They are now in a head-to-head battle to start at middle linebacker.

It didn't stop there.

The entire group of linebackers spent most of the day in the film room of the football complex watching film. Most players would pick up lunch on their way to the voluntary film session, but there was rarely a day all players weren't present.

Sometimes they would watch practice from the previous day, but most times it was watching Florida games over previous seasons. Jon Bostic recalls watching Brandon Siler play at Alabama in 2005 among the games they viewed.

The sophomore was able to pick up on small things that players on the offensive side of the ball do to give away the play. He saw running backs stare down the hole they were about to run through. He watched quarterbacks give away the direction of run plays.

"That was one thing I picked up from him and Stamper," Bostic said. "I wasn't a big film guy in high school. I just went out there and played. I learned here that by watching film you see certain things. We just like watching film."

The focus for Bostic in camp this year is to be more vocal. He remembers multiple times last season where the play call would come in from the sideline, and he only looked around to see if all the players heard it. Now he is calling it throughout the defense to be sure everyone knows what is going on.

It may seem like a small adjustment, but it's the little things that Bostic is working to improve this fall.

"They've been trying to get me to be a vocal player this year," Bostic said. "I've never been that. I usually just let me play do the talking. I've been trying to talk a little more and teach the younger guys. I've tried to take them under my wing, but it wasn't always in front of people. I just tell them that they've done all this before and to relax. It's simple. You're taking a left step and a right step, then you're going. I just have to tell them to relax."

The key reminder from Bostic to the freshmen is to go hard. The coaches understand and almost expect mistakes from the newcomers in their first practices with the Gators. Bostic reminded freshman linebacker Michael Taylor of giving full effort on every play, and he flew around the practice field all day.

"It looked like he was blitzing on every play out there," Bostic said with a laugh.

The leadership hasn't only come from Bostic. In fact, the linebackers point to A.J. Jones as the player they go to with questions. Jones is in his fifth year on campus, but it will be his first without Brandon Spikes and Ryan Stamper getting the headlines.

"All the linebackers have taken part in that," Bostic said of the leadership. "A.J. is the leader of the group right now. It's not mandatory or anything, but we're all in there. We have a lot of fun while we're in there, but we're all getting better at the same time."

Linebackers coach D.J. Durkin came to Gainesville from Stanford before the start of spring practice. Bostic hasn't seen many differences between Durkin and former linebackers coach Charlie Strong. They're both loud and easily heard from anywhere on the field.

Durkin decided that no player would stay at one of the three linebacker positions and moved them all over the field in the spring. Bostic is now comfortable at any of the three positions.

"That was the main thing they tried to get through everyone's heads in the spring," Bostic said. "We really didn't have an idea of what was going on, but they rotated us because they all wanted us to learn the defense. Now it's like we can all play all three positions."

The Florida linebackers are now versed at each of the three positions. The attribute that made it a good fit was their ability to run. The Gators recruit speed, and it's especially noticeable at linebacker.

"I'd say we're probably the fastest linebackers in the nation," Bostic said. "Neiron Ball is like 225 (pounds), and he can probably outrun anybody on our defense. With that helping out, it gives us leeway if we do take a wrong step, we can use our speed to help take us back and get us in the right position."
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