Florida Gators assistant coach for outside linebackers Mike Peterson instructs during a drill during fall football practice at Sanders Practice Fields at the University of Florida on Aug.1, 2023. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

Florida Football’s Mike Peterson Sees Improvement On Defense

The Florida Gators football team held its sixth spring practice open to the media Tuesday.

After practice, Mike Peterson, Florida’s assistant coach in charge of the Edge position, was made available to the media for questions. Here are the highlights:

Young Guys Stepping Up

One player Florida fans expect to see a lot more on the field is T.J. Searcy. Searcy had a solid freshman campaign, recording 26 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, 0.5 sacks, two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

Peterson spoke highly of the sophomore, saying he believes Searcy can “do it all.”

Boone Back From Injury

With all the young Gators on Florida’s D Line, the impact of getting Justus Boone back from injury can not be overstated.

Boone was injured in the first fall scrimmage before the 2023 season, tearing his ACL. At the time Boone was regarded as a leader on defense and a year later that sentiment holds true.

“Boone is the leader in the group,” Peterson said. “He’s the guy that’s been around.”

The redshirt junior rounded out his 2022 campaign with 24 tackles, one TFL, one sack and a quarterback hurry.

Addition of Ron Roberts

The Gators made plenty of changes to their coaching staff, primarily on the defensive side. The most notable addition is Ron Roberts. Roberts is the executive head coach/co-defensive coordinator and is also in charge of the inside linebacker unit.

Since getting to Gainesville, many coaches on Florida’s staff have come out praising Roberts for the experience he brings.

What’s Next

The Gators have seven spring practices left that are available to the media. The next practice will be Thursday.

Florida will wrap up spring ball with the annual Orange and Blue Game at 1 p.m. on April 13 at the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

About Alexander Vafeas

Alexander Vafeas is a second-year Sports Journalism student at the University of Florida. When not writing about high school sports for WRUF, Alexander works as a communications intern with the University of Florida Athletic Association.

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