Florida football spring training is in full swing as the team prepares the depth chart for next season. A major emphasis for this off-season is the defense under new defensive coordinator Austin Armstrong. Assistant and edge coach Mike Peterson spoke to the media about the off-season workouts and his opinions on the team for next season. He spoke about his excitement on the new hire and system.
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Peterson is excited about the new names and the depth of his edge rushers. One name that stuck out was redshirt freshman Bryce Capers. Capers is one of the young leaders of the defense, who has potential to be a difference maker in the future of Gators football. The freshman trio of Kamran James, Kelby Collins and T.J. Searcy is one aspect that seemed to really excite Peterson. These young guys are meant to be the future of the team and have high potential as pass rushers. Furthermore, Coach Peterson commented that Collins will likely become a future captain of the team.
Names such as Juniors Princely Umanmielen and Antwaun-Powell Ryland Jr. were also brought up as examples of leaders for the defense that will prove important to the team this season. He says the duo will work as mentors for the young core. Additionally, these players will lead the way for the incoming names and pass the torch to the future of the defensive line.
Peterson had the following to say about Umanmielen.
Peterson also spoke about his growing role in the defense for the upcoming season. In the new scheme, Peterson is expected to focus not only on pass rush, but to also bolster the run stuffing this season. Peterson says, “You need to earn the pass rush.”
Stopping the run allows for edge rushers to be able to rush the quarterback. Forcing teams to pass, then capitalizing on putting pressure on the quarterback is one way that Peterson feels that his defense will succeed in the new scheme.