“On the field, it’s different,” Lerentee McCray said about his persona. “I don’t talk back to my coaches, but with my teammates, I’m going to talk to them and let them know how I feel. It’s like a brotherhood. We’re a family. We talk about what we have to do, and if anybody is slacking, we let them know what’s going on. I’m very vocal on the field with my teammates because they’re like brothers.”
Being one of the older players, McCray has worked hard to learn the new defense. He wants to be one of the leaders that can be trusted in camp this fall.
As he learns more about the defense Florida will play, McCray thinks the defense will be more multiple. It will give the opposing offense more looks to confuse them, and for a defense searching for a consistent pass rush, it should be a benefit.
“It’s similar in that we’re going to run a lot of 4-3 and some 3-4, but we’re going to give teams a lot of different looks,” McCray said. “It’s about disguising our schemes. I think it’ll look similar just from how we line up, but the style we play is going to be different.”
McCray’s position isn’t settled, and it probably won’t be all season. He will switch between defensive end and linebacker, depending on the situation. When the opposing offense is in an obvious passing down, he expects to slide down to defensive end.
It would be tough for a younger player to split time between two positions, but McCray has practice with it. He came to Gainesville as a linebacker before moving to defensive end before last season. He was then moved back to outside linebacker later in the season.
“Just flip flopping between positions like that kind of got me to where I’m at now,” McCray said.
He also worked during the offseason to add more weight and become a stronger player, since he’ll be facing more offensive linemen one-on-one this season. He added ten pounds, now up to 250. For a player who came to Gainesville struggling to stay above 200 pounds, McCray looks completely different.
The added weight came from working out this offseason and following the weight plan that had him eating plenty of meat and protein.
“No complaints there,” McCray said with a smile.
He’ll see plenty of time as the BUCK in the defense. It’s a hybrid position that will focus on being a pass rusher. Ronald Powell is expected to be the starter at the BUCK position, but McCray will still see plenty of snaps there.
“It’s very influential,” McCray said of the BUCK position. “The offense never knows what you’re going to do. You can either drop in coverage or you can pass rush. The offensive linemen and receivers have to be aware of that, so we think it’s going to mess up the offenses we play.”