Powell's Passion Shines Through

There wasn't a lot familiar to Ronald Powell when he took the practice field for the Gators. The pace of high school practice seems like slow motion compared to what he experienced the first few days of practice in Gainesville. High school all-Americans are lined up all over the field, and for the first time in a while, Powell had a sense of being just another guy on the field.

"(I have to adjust to) everything," Ronald Powell said. "Coming here is a different ballgame. I have to work hard and work within myself and keep striving every day to get better and better.

"The second day of practice, I knew I belonged."

It's hard for a player with this much hype to sit back for too long.

From the moment the Florida coaches popped his high school film in, they've dreamt for the day he suited up on the practice field. There have been plenty of mistakes from Powell since the first day of practice, but the coaches are only interested in effort during the early parts of camp.

The effort and passion for football is easy to see. Florida head coach Urban Meyer has known about it since Powell first visited the campus.

"Ron Powell is one of the best high school players I've ever seen," Meyer said. "He's an even better guy. When he came to campus (as a recruit), he stole our heart about being a worker, loving the game of football and wanting to be a Gator. That's a special player."

The hype is already starting to go through the roof. Regardless of how talented and physically impressive Powell is at the line of scrimmage, the number of college practices he has participated in can still be counted on two hands.

The Florida coaches are doing their best to limit the hype, but there is only so much they can control. When Powell is noticed on campus and throughout the city of Gainesville, the coaches can't limit interaction of the things players hear.

"We're going to try more than ever to do that," Meyer said of limiting the expectations on Powell. "How do you restrict an 18-year-old from being told he's the greatest thing since sliced bread? Then you gotta go coach him."

Defensive line coach Dan McCarney played a large role in Powell's recruitment. The two hit it off during Powell's trips to Gainesville, and it didn't take long for the defensive end to figure out who he wanted to be his position coach.

"I love him," Powell said. "He's a great guy. He pushes every guy the same and doesn't have any favorites. He's go-go-go-go type of guy."

Veteran players believe this could be the most depth the Gators have had on the defensive line in some time. Much of the depth will be provided by freshmen. Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley have opened eyes at defensive tackle.

Lynden Trail is up to 238 pounds to provide a pass rush with Powell at defensive end. Together, the group of freshmen has raised the level of optimism for Coach McCarney.

The freshmen have also come in ready to learn behind the upperclassmen, and Powell likes the way it is coming together early in camp.

"The defensive line looks great," Powell said. "We're working hard every day. They're coaching us to go hard every day. All of them (the older guys) have taken us under their wing. We have a lot of great players who work hard every day compete. We're definitely up for a challenge."

Powell has spent most of his practice time at the weak side defensive end, backing up Justin Trattou. Everyone will play, despite who is named the starters, as Coach McCarney likes to rotate his linemen.

"I'm just playing in the box and mixing it up a little bit," Powell said. "I'm just getting my end spot down and getting ready to play on defense. My goal is to come in and be the best player I can be as a freshman. I need to work on everything since I'm coming in as a freshman who is young. There's a lot to learn, especially when you have to play in the SEC."
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