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  • Florida Gators defense celebrates a win over Kentucky- 1280x914

    Sep 19, 2015; Lexington, KY, USA; Florida Gators defensive back Jalen Tabor (31) defensive back Keanu Neal (42) and defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III (1) celebrate against Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Blake Bone (6) after an incomplete pass at Commonwealth Stadium. Florida defeated Kentucky 14-9. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators: Just
put the ball down

Written by Nick de la Torre, September 20, 2015, 1 Comment,
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — The gang got back together on Saturday night in Lexington and the Florida Gators defense finally lived up to their own expectations of being the best defense in the nation.

With the return of safety Keanu Neal, Florida had all of their weapons — except linebacker Alex Anzalone — and they were ready to show the world what all the fuss and talk was about this offseason.

“I definitely feel like we’re back to our complete BDN defense that, you know, we always preached,” defensive lineman Bryan Cox Jr. said. “We got two starters back in the secondary and a starter back on the d-line. It helped a lot.”

The Florida defense played a bend but don’t break style at times and completely stifled Kentucky at times. The Wildcats managed just 100 yards of offense in the first half and were just 6-of-18 on third down for the game.

It started up front with the Florida defensive line that registered five of Florida’s season-high six sacks. Alex McCalister set the tone for the entire defense when he sacked Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles on the third play of the game. Florida kept the pressure on Towles throughout the contest, hurrying him three times on top of their six sacks.

“When we do that it helps everybody,” senior Jon Bullard said. “It helps the DBs. The DBs get excited. They get locked in. We kind of started slow up front, which is something we need to work on. But overall I think everyone went out there and gave it their all. When we needed big plays people stepped up and did it. I feel like this year is my year to step up and do certain things, and that’s what I did.”

Not to be outshined, the secondary enjoyed the return of their leader Keanu Neal. Neal registered a sack, nine tackles and 1.5 for a loss in his season debut. The hit stick of the secondary was flying around the field with junior linebacker Jarrad Davis — who led the Gators in tackles for a second consecutive week.

Florida’s mentality on defense is simple. Put the ball down and play. It doesn’t matter who is across from there or where they are on the field, the Gators defense is ready to play anywhere.

“At the end of the day we just put the ball down wherever you want to play on the field,” Cox Jr. said. “We can play in the street, in an alley, it doesn’t matter, just put the ball down and we’ll play football.”

Nick de la Torre

About Nick de la Torre

A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC

  1. tmitch_2September 20, 2015, 3:39 pm

    The defense was stout Saturday.

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Florida-Gators-defense-celebrates-a-win-over-Kentucky-150x150.jpg Nick de la Torre FeatureFootball ,,,,,,,,,,,
Print Friendly

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The gang got back together on Saturday night in Lexington and the Florida Gators defense finally lived up to their own expectations of being the best defense in the nation.

With the return of safety Keanu Neal, Florida had all of their weapons — except linebacker Alex Anzalone — and they were ready to show the world what all the fuss and talk was about this offseason.

“I definitely feel like we’re back to our complete BDN defense that, you know, we always preached,” defensive lineman Bryan Cox Jr. said. “We got two starters back in the secondary and a starter back on the d-line. It helped a lot.”

The Florida defense played a bend but don’t break style at times and completely stifled Kentucky at times. The Wildcats managed just 100 yards of offense in the first half and were just 6-of-18 on third down for the game.

It started up front with the Florida defensive line that registered five of Florida’s season-high six sacks. Alex McCalister set the tone for the entire defense when he sacked Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles on the third play of the game. Florida kept the pressure on Towles throughout the contest, hurrying him three times on top of their six sacks.

“When we do that it helps everybody,” senior Jon Bullard said. “It helps the DBs. The DBs get excited. They get locked in. We kind of started slow up front, which is something we need to work on. But overall I think everyone went out there and gave it their all. When we needed big plays people stepped up and did it. I feel like this year is my year to step up and do certain things, and that’s what I did.”

Not to be outshined, the secondary enjoyed the return of their leader Keanu Neal. Neal registered a sack, nine tackles and 1.5 for a loss in his season debut. The hit stick of the secondary was flying around the field with junior linebacker Jarrad Davis — who led the Gators in tackles for a second consecutive week.

Florida’s mentality on defense is simple. Put the ball down and play. It doesn’t matter who is across from there or where they are on the field, the Gators defense is ready to play anywhere.

“At the end of the day we just put the ball down wherever you want to play on the field,” Cox Jr. said. “We can play in the street, in an alley, it doesn’t matter, just put the ball down and we’ll play football.”

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