Easley, Floyd could spark D

Florida is hoping Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd will wreak havoc

Updated: July 23, 2012, 11:03 AM ET
By Michael DiRocco | GatorNation

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida linebacker Jonathan Bostic can't wait to see the confusion.

When defensive linemen Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd line up in different spots on back-to-back plays, Bostic is expecting there to be a lot of disorder on the opposing offensive line. And a mixup on the offensive line usually results in a big play for the defense -- a sack, a tackle for a loss, a hurried throw, an interception.

"It kind of creates havoc for them because you're so worried about (Easley and Floyd) it frees us (the linebackers) up," Bostic said. "When you're not too worried about them, they're in the backfield causing havoc, causing you to get the ball away a lot sooner than you expected."

[+] EnlargeSharrif Floyd
Kim Klement/US PresswireSophomore Sharrif Floyd played most of the 2011 season at defensive end but feels much more comfortable in the middle.
Easley and Floyd are flip-flopping spots from last season. The 6-foot-2, 286-pound Easley, who started 12 games at defensive tackle last season, will start at defensive end this season. The 6-3, 305-pound Floyd, who started the final 11 games of the 2011 season at defensive end, will move inside to his more natural position. They will move around on the defensive front, though, sometimes both lining up at tackle or lining up as they did last year.

Their versatility should make the Gators' defensive front a lot stronger and help UF improve on its run defense (132.7 yards per game, fifth in the SEC, last season) and pass-rush (28 sacks, sixth in the SEC, last season).

"It kind of messes up the blocking scheme because they never know who to radar in on," buck linebacker Lerentee McCray said. "They might see a guy line up at 3-technique and the next play you see him in the 9-technique. It definitely can mess up some blocking schemes and cause some problems for opposing offenses."

Easley and Floyd caused plenty of problems for opponents last season. Easley made 37 tackles (7.5 for loss) and had 1.5 sacks before tearing the ACL in his left knee against Florida State. Floyd made 46 tackles (6.5 for loss) and had 1.5 sacks and was tied for the team lead with four quarterback hurries. That's despite playing way too many snaps, UF coach Will Muschamp said.

Floyd averaged 80 snaps a game while Easley played 50, Muschamp said. That number should be between 40-50 per game. It was an issue for the entire defense, though, not just those two.

"We wore down defensively," Muschamp said. "We weren't able to spread (the reps) as much especially late in the year when we got some guys banged up. I feel better about our depth this year. I feel better about guys being able to sustain and play through four quarters."

The Gators do have more depth on the defensive front thanks to the addition of junior college transfer Damien Jacobs and signees Jafar Mann, Quinteze Williams and Jonathan Bullard.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter