McCarney Making Adjustments to D-Line
Justin Trattou
Justin Trattou
FightinGators.com staff
Posted Dec 3, 2009


Junior defensive end Justin Trattou has been one of the keys to the Florida Gators’ success this season despite being the third end on the depth chart. With starting defensive end Carlos Dunlap suspended, he will see his role increased Saturday against Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game. But he will not be the only one that will play a bigger part in the Gators’ game plan.

Justin Trattou has seen most of his minutes this season come off the bench, and his biggest role on the team is playing the third end spot in UF’s 'Joker' package.

That doesn’t mean he has not played a big role in the team’s success. His interception on the first play off the fourth quarter against South Carolina ended the Gamecocks’ scoring threat and swung the momentum back to the Gators.

“There is no way we would have 12 wins right now without Trattou,” defensive line coach Dan McCarney said.

Joining Trattou in replacing Dunlap will be defensive tackle Jaye Howard. Howard came to UF as a defensive end before gaining 60 pounds and moving inside.

The redshirt sophomore has practiced some at end throughout the season, which should make the switch back an easy one.

“For him, it’s an easy transition because he’s been there before. He’s always taken reps,” McCarney said.

McCarney praised Howard’s versatility that has allowed him to play multiple different positions.

“He started as a fox, then grew into end, then grew into tackle, then into nose and now settled into tackle, but he can play end too,” McCarney said.

The size Howard would bring to the position makes it easier for him to handle double teams, making him more effective at stopping Alabama’s running attack.

Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson have combined to create quite the duo of backs for the Crimson Tide, something McCarney quickly noticed.

“Between (Ingram) and (Richardson), those are two future NFL backs, and you don’t have to watch 12 games to figure that out,” he said.

The Gators also need backup ends Duke Lemmens and William Green to step up, something McCarney has been asking of them since he arrived. Even with the increased roles of all the ends behind Dunlap, McCarney is not worried because of the depth the Gators have built up over the season.

“I rotate 12, 11 guys every game, so when a guy is out because of injury or discipline or whatever it is, it’s not like I’m going to throw a guy out there in the championship game that hasn’t played and played a lot.”

The defensive line will also get a boost with the return of defensive tackle Brandon Antwine.

Antwine has been out since the Mississippi State game with a shoulder injury that has slowed him most of the season.

His role won’t be a big one but will still give some of the starters a break.

“He’s going to play this week. I don’t know how much, but he’s practicing,” McCarney said. “If he can give us 5 or 10 quality snaps, that would be great.”

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