Florida’s outside linebackers, a group poised to wreak havoc coming off the edge in the pass rush this season. This time last year, Sam linebacker Ronald Powell wasn’t thinking about playing football, he was on the long road to recovery from his second torn ACL. The new Powell is primed to repeat his 2011 season.
“Everything’s been good, coming along great. It’s great to be back with the team. Just the feel of running out in the Swamp again has been awesome. We’re getting closer and closer. I can feel it, man. It’s going to happen for me,” Powell said.
Last time you saw him in real games wearing the orange and blue he was busy wrecking shop to the tune of a team leading six sacks from the BUCK position in 2011. He’s back now in a new role with a new BUCK lining up to bookend Florida’s second level. He’s ready to team up with Dante Fowler Jr. on the other side of the field.
“Me and Dante, six and seven man. Six and seven off the edge, a lot of getting to the quarterback,” Powell said about the OLB tandem.
Powell’s experiences over the past year and a half have made him a unique resource for one freshman linebacker. It’s a rehab he went through twice, and difficult mental hurdles needed to be jumped each time. So when it was announced that fellow linebacker Matt Rolin tore his ACL during August 9th, Powell was there to help him at the very beginning of his recovery process.
“It’s been good because I didn’t have nobody who went through what I went through and he has me. He has me first hand in front of him. I can tell him exactly where my mind was and the types of things that I went through. I tell him what not to second guess yourself on and how to take it on full fledged. I told him to keep continuing to grow from it instead of letting it hold you down,” Powell said.
After seeing Powell in four different practices, he hasn’t lost a step. He looks every bit as explosive as he did the last time he played a meaningful game. Powell is ready to disrupt offenses just like he did two seasons ago, the question is, are they equipped to handle RoPo 2.0?