INDIANAPOLIS -- The 7-6 record the University of Florida posted in the 2011 season was not good enough in the eyes defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd.
The sophomore and his teammates found a way to come together, and that camaraderie resulted in the Gators posting an 11-2 record, and Floyd having the best individual season of his collegiate career in 2012.
“The big difference is that our team came more together,” Floyd said at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “We trusted each other as a unit and there was no personal interest in it. It wasn’t, ‘Let me get my stats or do what I’ve got to do to get out of here.’ It was, ‘What am I going to do for my teammate, and what am I going to do for the guy next to me who’s going to give everything he’s got? Can I do the same thing? He trusts me to do my job and the linebackers trust that I’m going to be in my gap while they’re in their gap.’ It was more of a team thing than a personal thing this year.”
With him and his teammates playing more for each other, Floyd registered 29 unassisted tackles, 46 total stops, 13 tackles for loss and three quarterback sacks. He also blocked two kicks and earned All-SEC and All-American accolades from various media outlets.
In addition to improvements in the team morale and togetherness, Floyd said playing for coach Will Muschamp helped him achieve a higher level of success.
“I think it was great because he’s a head coach that was a defensive player, and you get to see his excitement,” Floyd said. “He’s not walking around like a mummy on the sideline, get mad and get back to normal. He gets excited, as well as gets mad.
“When he gets on you, it’s like, ‘Alright, I’ve seen you get excited, so you see when I’m doing (well), and now, you’re just getting on me because I probably did something that you corrected during the week of practice.’ I love it. I love his excitement and the way he jumps around.”
Floyd and Muschamp had such an honest relationship that it was actually the coach who convinced him to leave Florida with a year of college eligibility remaining.
“That took a chip off my shoulder, whereas I didn’t have to focus on what I’m going to do after this season, and started focusing on my team,” Floyd said. “At the end of the year, after the Sugar Bowl, Coach came in and shook my hand and said, ‘Congratulations. Now, go make your name known in the league.’ That was him telling me to get out of Florida. I shook his hand; I shook all the coaches’ hands. We talked a little bit and he told me if I needed anything to give him a call.”