For UF defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, it's all about the team
With two-thirds of its team comprised of freshman and sophomores, including members of the Gators’ No. 1 2010 recruiting class, coaches can often find it difficult blending veterans with young players, potentially if the young players may be more talented.
"It always is (tough to keep both happy),’’Florida defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “But the guys who really work at their craft and then are maybe not as talented, I'll tell you what, they earn the respect of their teammates and when they play they give your team something. You've really got to have a backbone to your team. It's not always the 11 most talented guys on the field that win. It's the 11 guys that play together the best, and sometimes it's that guy that plays within the framework of the defense, that does everything right, maybe not as talented but does everything right, that gives your defense a backbone. There's room for those guys.''
When reports surfaced this week that defensive star freshman Ronald Powell and Dominique Easley were disgruntled and considering leaving, UF coach Urban Meyer said neither had talked of transferring, but acknowledged it can be hard for young players who are used to being stars in high school to make the transition to just another player competing for a spot in college.
For Austin, keeping one or two talented players happy will never take precedent over the team.
"I'm not worried about that,’’ he said. “I'm worried about keeping our team happy and keeping our team happy is the best players on the field that give us a chance to win. So that's really what I care about. I could care less about . . . the only thing I care about is our team. What is best for our team? If guys don't understand that, they can have a hard time here. But all I care about is what is best for our team and the best guys that give our team a chance to win.''