August 27, 2008

Marsh has cleaned up his act

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Urban Meyer, surrounded by reporters, looked at Lawrence Marsh as he ambled off to the locker room and told him he needed to clean up his act.

"Marsh, get a shave before Saturday," Meyer said.

Marsh's hygiene is his only problem right now.

After two years of barely getting off the bench, Marsh is now the Gators' best defensive tackle and has earned the starting spot at nose guard.

He took the off-season weight-training program more seriously and the red shirt sophomore fully committed himself to UF's program.

"I approached this year like I'm a senior, like there's no tomorrow," Marsh said. "I know I can do these things I just had to put my mind to it and buckle down."

The good part, for UF and Marsh, is that he's not a senior and is still only a sophomore. But with the rest of the inside of the defensive line jammed with injuries, if Marsh doesn't play well - neither will the Gators' defense.

Even as just a sophomore, Marsh is an elder on the inside of UF's line.

"I'm a little older than they are," Marsh said. "I was basing my season on working hard every day and taking it from there."

"Probably at the beginning of two-a-days, I just went home, talked to my family and when I came back I was just ready to go and get a starting position."

If he plays like he has so far in camp, though, things should go well.

"I usually pump guys up too much, and they break our hearts," Meyer said. "But he's really worked hard. He's had a good camp."

In his first two seasons at Florida, Marsh was more of a defensive end. But he put on some extra weight and got stronger to move to the guard spot. With Carlos Dunlap and Jermaine Cunningham manning the end spots, the depth on the inside was needed.

"As long as I just keep working at it I can (be) better," Marsh said. "(You) just line up at a different position. Line up a little bit farther inside than outside. That's it."

Defensive line coach Dan McCarney called Lawrence his most consistent tackle so far this camp.

"He needed to make major improvement with his footwork," McCarney said . "He's done that. … I feel better about him right now than I did any time last spring."

Now he'll get to go out on the field and prove it. And that certainly beats the heck out of the sideline.

"You think you're going to start, but you don't really know sometimes," Marsh said. "Your play just takes care of it if you keep making plays during practice and working hard. If the coaches start believing in you, then you know you're going to start."

Now, as Marsh puts it, he just has to keep proving himself to everyone, and he means everyone.

"I got to keep proving myself to my coaches and my teammates, the Gators, Gator Nation and the whole world," he said.

For now, the coaching staff will just take him proving himself to Hawaii's offensive line.



 

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