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. Storm routs Cleveland

    Storm

    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  2. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  3. Rowdies shut out Charleston

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Former closer Sergio Romo acquired from Dodgers

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays made a move to help the bullpen Saturday night when they acquired RHP Sergio Romo, who had been designated for assignment last week by the Dodgers.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (23) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 7, 2017.
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. backs wife's "not worth risk'' opinion on Daytona

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Saturday defended his wife's Twitter post — and blamed himself for putting her in a position where she believed she had to speak out and upset some of his fans.

    Amy Earnhardt worries about Dale Jr.’s concussions.