Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media on Tuesday, four days before the 2013 season opener against Toledo on Aug. 31.
MAXIMIZING TALENT AT RECEIVER
With junior Quinton Dunbar and freshman Demarcus Robinson both listed as X wide receivers (Dunbar the starter and Robinson as second-string) on the first depth chart of the fall, many began wondering whether Florida would try to get both players on the field at the same time to maximize the talent at the position and give junior quarterback Jeff Driskel as many weapons as possible.
Both Pease and head coach Will Muschamp said previously that they want to bring Robinson along slow, ensuring he knows the X receiver spot perfectly before trying to move him around the field, which would mean Dunbar lining up elsewhere while Robinson has his helmet on. Pease on Tuesday addressed whether that is something that will likely happen during games.
“There will be situations like that. One thing with Quinton, you know, he’s a kid that’s been in it. Actually Quinton last year was a Z and we moved him to the X,” Pease said. “He knows the Z and will be inside for us sometimes. He’s a guy with experience. He’s learned the spots. … He’s a kid we can move around now.”
Robinson, despite being supremely talented, does not have the in-game experience just yet. Nevertheless, Pease noted this week that he is ahead of schedule for a player his age and should be an important contributor for the Gators this season.
“Oh yeah. Yeah, that guy is really developed for a young kid. Physically, he’s developed. He’s got a lot of talent. He’s got great hands,” Pease said. “You always want to see consistency, how you’re going to perform … and understand your routine and develop your trade and your professionalism, how you’re going to approach it. … With him, I think he’s getting to that point. He’s comfortable with things. He’s playing on his instincts. Now, let’s see you do it in the game because that’s what it’s going to come down to. …
“Is the kid going to make mistakes? Yes, because he’s a freshman. Does he have the ability to be fun to watch? Absolutely. Is he fun to be around and coach? Absolutely.”
PLAYER THOUGHTS AND EVALUATIONS
» On junior fullback Hunter Joyer, who was nursing a sore hamstring: “Yeah, he was back practicing [Monday]. He’s had 14 days off or so. He’s done a good job of rehabbing and he’s going to be all right. He looked fine physically. I think we kept his reps down to a minimum just because.”
» On how much time junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy will see at wide receiver: “I look at it this way. There will probably be a package each week involved for him. … Can’t overload him because he’s got defense scheme he’s still got to worry about. But I think he’s a kid where we can give him the ball 3-4 times a game, and he’s still involved in the special teams like he is. He’s got potential where defenses got to be accountable to him.”
» On how much time sophomore running back Matt Jones needs practicing in pads before Pease would feel comfortable playing him: “Zero.” (Muschamp announced Wednesday that Jones practiced in pads on Tuesday.)
» On junior tight end Clay Burton, who is No. 1 on the depth chart: “I don’t know if he really did distance himself. I think he’s established himself that he’s consistent, especially with blocking. I think he’s grown with that tremendously, size and strength, getting in there and competing, playing with effort. He’s a smart kid. I think he understands the passing game. … I think he’s grown with that, too. We’re happy with what Colin [Thompson] and Tevin [Westbrook] have done also. Kent [Taylor] is still progressing.”
» On Westbrook, also a junior, backing up Burton: “Going into his second year [at the position], he understands things. Really more importantly what we’ve seen form him, compared to last year, is how fast he’s playing now and his blocking skills have become better and he’s got some game experience. So I think he understands it and is using that in the right manner right now.”
» On redshirt junior right tackle Chaz Green (labrum) being out for the season: “I feel bad about Chaz because Chaz was having his best – since I’ve been here – his best practice habits, his best practice time. We were kind of expecting good things from him. You take a hit in the depth because of the experience that he does have but other guys need to understand it’s time to step up. The old saying goes, ‘Carry the flag.’ Someone’s down, the next guy’s got to step up. I think kids have done that. They need to see their opportunity, go with it.”