Age not a factor for Gators Dante Fowler, Jr., and Jonathan Bullard
Florida may have lost seven starters off its defense, but with the return of several players who saw significant playing time as freshmen, the loss may not be as devastating.
Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said even though Lakewood alum Dante Fowler, Jr. and Jonathan Bullard are both sophomores, age isn't a factor when it comes to their ability to play at the higest level.
"Well, they both played as true freshman last year a significant amount of snaps and started a lot of games," Durkin said. "They may be young in terms of their second year in the program, but they’ve played a lot of snaps. In terms of football life, they’re not young guys anymore. Both those guys are mature. They’re mature young men. They were that way coming in. It’s not often true freshmen, especially up front, play, but they were able to handle themselves already last year. It’s not just how you do on the field. It’s how you handle yourself in meetings and everything off the field. Those guys are great.”
Bullard and Fowler played in all 13 games last season. Fowler had one start.
In his first season as defensive coordinator, Durkin said he's discovered a few new things about his players as they've progressed through fall camp.
"I think you learn something new about all our guys almost everyday out there," he said. "A lot of that is how we put them in different situations. The new guys for sure you learn new things about because you haven't been with them, but also older guys that a lot of them are in new roles. Whether it's a new position or just being counted on to do more than what they were before, you find out how they respond to different things. That's part of how we do practice to put them in those situations to find out."