On Monday afternoon, a pair of Gators defenders were recognized for their play against the Tennessee Volunteers.
This is the first time this season a Florida player has received conference player of the week honors.
Castell, who started each of the Gators’ first three games, is the SEC Freshman of the Week, while Jackson earned co-Defensive Lineman of the Week honors.
Against the Volunteers, Castell chipped in with 10 tackles and one pass breakup. He is now sitting at 20 tackles on the season. The Under Armour All-American covers a lot of ground and boasts intriguing size and ball skills in the back end of the defense. The stage has not been too big for him.
As for Jackson, he finished Saturday’s contest with six tackles and also batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage. His nine tackles (six solo) is good enough for first along the UF defensive line.
Jackson is the first UF defensive lineman to win a weekly SEC award since week one of last season.
Castell and Jackson are also the latest Gators duo to win SEC weekly awards in the same week since Trevor Etienne and O’Cyrus Torrence did so last November.
Billy Napier on the Gators’ defensive execution against Tennessee
“I think, first of all, Coach Armstrong and the defensive staff had a terrific plan. We obviously spend a lot of time on these things not just in season but off season; we did our homework. We spent extensive time in the off season and certainly a little bit in training camp and obviously throughout the week,” said Napier.
“I think what gets overlooked here is maybe the scout teams and the job they did throughout the week replicating the tempo. Numerous walk throughs. We put them in the indoor with crowd noise. We threw two teams at them. I’m not sure how many reps we took this week, but we took a lot. And, ultimately, we played well. We tackled for the most part in space well on the perimeter, especially as the game settled in.
“We created negatives and we knew going into the game, first down would be important. We created some negative plays. They had procedure penalties. The crowd affected them. And, ultimately, you talk about third down stops and fourth down stops, right? So those guys played their tail off, man. I can’t imagine playing much better outside of that first possession. Don’t forget the turnover in the short field, right? That was a huge momentum play in the game.”
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