Durkin seeking versatile linebackers

The speed at the linebacker positions for Florida sometimes even amazes new position coach D.J. Durkin, who coached defensive ends and coordinated special teams at Stanford University for head coach Jim Harbaugh. Durkin realizes he has the capable parts for a good group, but the spring is being used to see how players respond to playing different positions.

GC: “What is your assessment of your group of linebackers so far this spring?”

DJD: “There have been a lot of positives to build on and some negatives. I think we’re a little inconsistent right now. Some guys are playing new spots and some young guys are in there, so it’s expected, but we’ve got to clean that up.”

GC: “Is it just young guys getting adjusted?”

DJD: “I think it’s just lack of concentration. When you come out here every day, you’ve got to have in your mind what you need to do. That’s lacking right now. We’ve got to just keeping pounding until we get it.”

GC: “How weird is it that you have a lot of veterans at linebacker, but most of them, besides AJ Jones, haven’t really played a lot?”

DJD: “I think that’s part of any team, but it’s something to consider. Yeah they’re older, but they haven’t played a lot. In the end, they’ve been in the program for a long time, so those are the guys we’ve got to lean on for leadership and consistency.”

GC: “With all the mixing and matching you guys have done, is it just a product of trying to see how guys play at different spots?”

DJD: “We’re just trying to find the best three. I’ve told the guys a lot that we aren’t going to get locked into “these guys play (middle linebacker), these guys play (weakside linebacker).” We’re going to find the best three guys to get out there. I think it’s been a plus because we’ve seen some things that were unexpected. There are some guys doing things well at their position. We’re just trying to find the best three.”

GC: “Where does the linebacker speed line up with what you’ve seen in the past?”

DJD: “Our guys run really well. I’d put that up there against just about anyone. The thing we need to clean up is doing things right and being consistent with our footwork and technique.”

GC: “How has Lorenzo Edwards looked this spring?”

DJD: “Lorenzo has had a great spring. He has really impressed us. He is making a lot of plays and playing all three spots for us right now. It’s great and provides a lot for our team. I haven’t been here every spring with him, but for the guys who have, it’s consistent that they’re saying it’s the best spring he’s had.”

GC: “Is Jelani Jenkins a player you guys just need to get on the field in some way?”

DJD: “Yeah, Jelani needs to be on the field as much as possible. He is a dynamic-speed, explosive-type player that we need to get out there. He’s making a lot of plays and seeing things well right now. He’s a guy we’re going to try to have on the field as much as possible.”