Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators defensive front full of energy in opening win against Florida Atlantic

GAINESVILLE — Dominique Easley made Ben Hill Griffin Stadium his own ballroom Saturday, one that relies heavily on hip-hop and welcomes 280-pound performers.

And Easley took it to another level against Florida Atlantic.

He danced on the sideline. He danced on the field. He danced before the game. He danced at every chance.

"Easley (stinks) at dancing; (stinks) at dancing," fellow defensive tackle Omar Hunter said. "But you know what? He keeps us going when he does that. He brings a lot of juice to this team, and I love that."

The Gators' front seven had more than enough juice in Saturday's 41-3 win. FAU squeaked out 30 yards rushing and didn't move the chains until 3:30 left in the first half.

Owls quarterback Graham Wilbert was sacked only twice, but he felt plenty of pressure. Meanwhile, running back Alfred Morris gained 16 yards on 14 carries.

"Their kids were coming off the ball and exploding into our offensive line," FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said.

Much has been made in the offseason about the fluid formations of coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. UF's front would shift from 4-3 to 3-4 throughout games, Muschamp said in his introductory news conference in December.

So far, so good.

Last season, UF's play at the line of scrimmage was a weak link on a unit that performed well overall. The defense was ranked ninth nationally, but the group allowed 130.62 yards per game — 31st in the nation.

Muschamp thought the pass rush was subpar Saturday, though the Owls kept seven players in pass protection. But the energy of the defensive line was palpable.

Sophomore Ronald Powell, who had one sack, was jawing and even feigning punches with offensive linemen. After one incident, a referee warned him to stop. He did it again; the referee penalized him for unsportsmanlike conduct.

And Easley? He was perhaps the only player more hyped. At one point in the first half, he lifted a pass-blocking Morris above him like a pro wrestler.

"He's a monster," Hunter said.

And a good defensive tackle. And a dancer, though not a skilled one.

Florida Gators defensive front full of energy in opening win against Florida Atlantic 09/04/11 [Last modified: Sunday, September 4, 2011 12:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Whatever USF has to say about Temple waits till Thursday

    College

    "The holes were wide open. Anyone could have run through them."

    South Florida Bulls cornerback Mazzi Wilkins (23) intercepts a pass during the second half of the home opener for the South Florida Bulls against the Stony Brook Seawolves at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Five reasons why Kentucky can beat Florida for the first time since 1986

    College

    By Matt Baker

    GAINESVILLE — Florida's 30-game winning streak over Kentucky is one of the most impressive feats in the country.

    Florida Gators offensive lineman Martez Ivey (73) celebrates Florida Gators running back Mark Thompson's  (24) touch down in the first quarter, putting Florida on the board 6-0 during the game between the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Kentucky 45-7. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times

  3. Once targeted by the Bucs, Dalvin Cook thrills for the Vikings

    Bucs

    How good would the Bucs be with running back Dalvin Cook?

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) slips a tackle by Steelers strong safety Sean Davis (28) to score a touchdown Sunday in Pittsburgh. [AP photo]
  4. Boxer Jake LaMotta, immortalized in 'Raging Bull,' dies at 95

    Obituaries

    MIAMI — Jake LaMotta, the former middleweight champion whose life in and out of the ring was depicted in the film Raging Bull, for which Robert DeNiro won an Academy Award, has died, his fiancee said Wednesday. He was 95.

    Jake LaMotta, retired professional boxer, shakes hands with Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) on the field before the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Sept. 15, 2015. LaMotta was on hand to sign autographs in the Ted Williams Museum.
  5. J.R. Sweezy shows what Bucs were missing

    Bucs

    By Greg Auman

    TAMPA —- Sunday's season-opening win against the Bears saw the debut of 13 Bucs, a mix of rookies and free-agent veterans.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive guard J.R. Sweezy (73), seen at center, runs through drills during training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, July 31, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times