Day 9 spring practice: defensive report

Just one practice removed from a Saturday scrimmage in which they dominated, Florida’s defense had its worst performance of the spring Wednesday afternoon. Other than a few bright moments in the secondary, it was an inconsistent day and the defense paid for it with a long session of up-downs after practice.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Jaye Howard continued his strong play this spring, recording a sack and stuffing the run game between the tackles. The offense only succeeded to run the ball consistency when they ran outside of the tackle. This was in large part because of the play by the interior defensive linemen, led by Howard.

Duke Lemmens and Justin Trattou have been the first team defensive ends all spring, and neither has made a tremendous impression. The pass rush is going to be an issue this fall unless a freshman like Ronald Powell steps in and makes a difference from day one. 

LINEBACKERS: While the play of the interior defensive line forced running plays to go outside, the outside linebackers were there to track them down. The only player they struggled to tackle was Chris Rainey, whose combination of speed and moves was too much for the linebackers to handle. Rainey also gave the linebackers fits in coverage from the slot.

The first team linebackers were A.J. Jones and Brandon Hicks on the outside with Jelani Jenkins in the middle.

The most impressive linebacker of the day was Jon Bostic with the second team. He had a good day in stopping the run up the middle, making a few big hits on Mike Gillislee. The offense later tried a running play where Gillislee tried to get to the sideline, but Bostic chased him down and beat him to the sideline.

Bostic also had the hit of the day on an inside shovel pass to Gerald Christian, the same pass Florida used to run inside to Aaron Hernandez last season. Bostic met Christian at the one-yard line and sent him backwards to keep him out of the end zone.

Don’t look into Bostic playing with the second team. Linebackers coach D.J. Durkin told us after practice they are toying around with guys in different positions to see how they perform.

Dee Finley was at practice but wasn’t dressed out to participate.

CORNERBACKS: Janoris Jenkins had two interceptions in seven-on-seven, both coming as he jumped a shorter route and took it the other way. On one return, Coach Meyer stepped in front of him as to try for a tackle, and then Jenkins dropped the ball at his feet. Meyer picked up the ball with a smile and threw it at Jenkins as he went back to his position.

Jenkins looks leaner this spring and his speed looks improved because of it.

Adrian Bushell was at practice for the second straight day, but he was just in shorts and didn’t participate.

SAFETIES: Jordan Haden made his first big play of the spring when he intercepted John Brantley during seven-on-seven drills.

Ahmad Black should have had an interception, but it hit him in the hands and fell out.

Matt Elam continues to put himself in the right position on most plays. He picked a good day to show off because his brother, Cleveland Browns safety Abram Elam, was in attendance Wednesday. Abram spent most of his time talking with Coach Meyer during practice.