Cummings taking on a leadership role

When star defensive tackle Dominique Easley went down with a torn ACL early last season, Florida turned to a former Florida State Seminole to be the new anchor of their defensive line—Darious Cummings.

Darious Cummings spent two years at the school out west, then played a year of junior college ball before transferring to UF before last season. He was expected to be an effective playmaker in one-on-one matchups with blockers while Easley took on double teams next to him. But when Easley went down, Cummings soon became the focus on the interior of Florida’s D-line. Cummings said that experience last season helped him develop as a player.

“Last year really just gave me a bit of confidence going into this season. I knew I could do it, but being thrown into that fire a little earlier than I expected it built that confidence even more.”

Cummings says he’s now dropped weight down to 285, and he feels quicker than ever off the ball. He also says he's been making a concerted effort to serve as a mentor to some of the younger defensive players.

“I’ve definitely tried to take on more of a leadership role,” said Cummings. “Not necessarily as a vocal leader, but just leading by example for some of the younger guys. Just so they know how everything is going to get done here and what the expectations are here at Florida.”

Cummings says he’s been focusing on making sure the team has the right mindset heading into this season. With all the struggles of last year’s injury-plagued season, Cummings says he felt like the team sometimes lost the right perspective when they were hit with adversity.

“We just need to come in with the mindset where we know sometimes things are going to be bad. There’s going to be some games where we’re down, some games where we feel like we can’t come back. But some of the things our coaches have put us through this offseason have built us to be able to build through that adversity and keep fighting.”

Now, Cummings says, the message is simple.

“To win, win by any means,” he said. “We’ve developed a motto: ‘Don’t talk about it, just do it.’ It’s not about what you do, it’s how you do it. And we’re not going to talk about it anymore, we talked too much last year and we were 4-8. It’s going to be different this year.”

When asked if this team had gotten their confidence back after the disappointment of last season, Cummings was quick with his response.

“Just watch.”