Burton Thrived in First Road Game

Neyland Stadium can get the best of any young player. When a team stacked with young players comes to town, there's never any guess how they will handle it. For freshman Trey Burton, it took some adjustments, but playing on the road wasn't as difficult as expected.

"It was awesome," Trey Burton said. "That's a big stadium and a great atmosphere. It was a lot of fun. I really didn't know what to expect."

The pregame routine allowed the team to spend time in the stadium before running onto the field. With a group that boasted 41% true freshmen or redshirt freshmen, an adjustment period was needed.

The team played in a hostile environment during the first two weeks, but the crowd in The Swamp was hostile towards the other team. Now the Gators were looking at over 102,000 people rooting against them.

Florida ran out of the tunnel to boos, which only got their adrenaline higher. After a few plays of the game, Burton and the freshmen didn't feel any different than the first two games of the year.

"Once the game started, I got more comfortable and the game was fine," Burton said.

The struggles of playing in a hostile environment were eased by the conversations the young players had with each other. The tight bond between the freshmen started well before they got to college.

Whether at combines or all-star games, the group spent time getting to know each other before showing up in Gainesville.

"(We're) real close," Burton said. "We're there for each other. If you need anything, we're there, only a phone call away. That's a huge part of our class."

With 10 of the 26 true freshmen on campus from outside of Florida, they had to find other methods to communicate in high school. Many of the players met on visits to Florida and maintained communication after that.

"We've got kids from California and Florida," Burton said. "The main form of communication is Facebook and texting. We tried to get together as much as we could when we weren't here.

"It's one of the best classes in the history of football. I think we should be pretty good in the future, and we're pretty good right now."

On the field, Burton's ability to adapt earned him playing time. He has lined up at quarterback, wide receiver, tight end and full back on offense, while also starting on the kickoff coverage unit.

"I like playing other positions," Burton said. "Other coaches have helped me get used to them. They've made it really easy for me."

Head coach Urban Meyer continues to list Burton as the backup quarterback, despite not getting consistent snaps in practice. Burton said he does throw during some portions of practice to stay fresh in case anything happened to starting quarterback John Brantley. However, it's not his main focus.

"I'm really focusing on the tight end and wide receiver part," Burton said.

Burton did make a mistake on the opening drive of the second half. On a third down play, Brantley threw a pass between Burton and Frankie Hammond, who were only yards apart. The pass fell to the ground, and the Gators were forced to kick a field goal to take a 10-3 lead.

Burton took blame for the play and said he ran his route too deep.

He isn't shy to admit his shortcomings. It will continue to be a work in progress, just as the Florida coaches expected it to be with all the moving around the field Burton has done.

The spring was a key time for Burton's development, but it's also where he laid the foundation to play multiple positions. He spent time memorizing the playbook for quarterback, but doing so also made him focus on the responsibilities of other positions in the offense.

"I learned it all during quarterback meetings," Burton said. "Playing quarterback, you have to know every position. All I had to know was the right technique or what foot to step with to block somebody."
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