No more hit and miss for Gators' Howard

August, 11, 2011
8/11/11
1:30
PM ET
Florida's Jaye Howard has seen the evidence on tape. He's also seen the blank stares on the faces of his coaches.

How could a guy be so dominant on one play, or a series of plays, and then go the rest of the quarter and be non-existent?

It's a question that has hounded Howard for much of his career, and it's a question he plans to put to rest once and for all this season.

"That was one of my biggest drawbacks last year, and I admit that," said Howard, the Gators' 6-3, 303-pound senior defensive tackle. "I'd have sparks where it was like, 'Man, this guy is an All-American.' But then I'd take plays off.

"That's the biggest thing coming back for my senior year, proving to everyone that I can play every down as hard as I can 100 percent."

Howard was slowed by an ankle injury toward the end of last season. He underwent ankle surgery and was kept out of spring practice.

But healthy again and moving well on his surgically repaired right ankle, Howard is committed to establishing himself as one of the top interior defensive linemen in the SEC.

"With the help of my coaches, coach [Dan] Quinn and coach [Bryant] Young, I'm going to get there this year. There's no doubt in my mind," said Howard, who had 10 tackles for loss last season. "They've pushed me probably harder than anyone, every practice and every play. Effort won't be the problem this year."

The Gators could sure use an All-SEC season from Howard. Sophomore tackles Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley also have a world of talent, but the only other scholarship defensive tackle on the roster who's played in a game is junior Omar Hunter.

"It's not about how talented you are. It's about how productive you are," Howard said. "If you take plays off with these coaches, you're not going to be playing."

Chris Low | email

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