Where Will They Play?

It's a new era of Florida football and with that comes a change in philosophy… to some extent on both sides of the football. With that in mind, there are several real athletes on Florida's roster that could very well see a position change and a few of them will no doubt experience that. Here is a list of players and possible destinations within the Gator football roster.

The Florida offense will undergo the most dynamic changes in this offseason and heading into 2011. Gone is the spread option offense that the previous staff wanted to use and recruited for. Instead, Florida will run a more pro-style offense, but will incorporate some aspects of the spread with the roster of players that currently exists.

With the pro-style offense comes the lack of a need for an athlete first quarterback. With that in mind, three players that played quarterback a year ago may be headed elsewhere on the roster and a real shot all three will.

As dynamic as Trey Burton was with the ball in his hands a year ago, he won't be used in the quarterback role in 2011. So, where should he end up? There were thoughts early on about moving Burton to defense and safety. He has speed and tremendous size for the position, but again we go back to being a dynamic playmaker. The Gators will use what they are calling a "MOVE" tight end spot, kind of like an H-back which is a spot that Burton played a lot in the 2010 offense and was very successful there. I see that continuing in 2011.

Jordan Reed was dynamic in his own right at quarterback. Again, he isn't a guy that fits the new offense. Reed can be a dynamic tight end. If Reed stays with it, he has a future in the pros and also has the frame to put on weight for the position. There has been talk of Reed being a short yardage "Wildcat" quarterback as well and that also makes sense.

Tyler Murphy is the big unknown. He should get a shot first at quarterback, but if that doesn't work out his athleticism could lead him to receiver or to safety, where the numbers are still a little shy at this time. I expect him to start the spring behind center.

With the pro-style offense comes the use of a fullback and with the loss of both T.J. Pridemore and Steven Wilks due to career ending injuries the roster now has zero fullbacks until freshman Hunter Joyer shows up in June. Burton should see some time at the position, but tight end Gerald Christian will likely see quite a bit of time as well. Look for Christian to play some fullback and MOVE tight end as well. Honestly, I wouldn't be against giving Christian a shot on defense where he was a star in high school. He could be a pass rusher or outside linebacker.

One player we have seen at multiple positions that could end a couple of places is senior Chris Rainey. From running back to receiver and back again at running back, Rainey is as elusive as anyone on the team but his issue at running back is his size. Still, he is a threat there or in the slot and in all likelihood will be used in both places and on kick and punt returns.

Maybe the biggest possible move and the most talked about this off-season is freshman Leon Orr from offense to defense. Orr was recruited to Florida for defense and after a couple of injuries was eventually moved to the offensive line. His speed and athleticism are documented, so is his size at (6-5, 320). Will Muschamp would like to run a multiple defense with a 4-3 base and flexible enough to switch to a 3-4 front. However, that requires a nose tackle with size and strength to hold his own in the middle of the line. If Orr was to move to defense, he would instantly be the biggest defensive lineman on campus. This has to be a move they are at least considering at this point.

There are multiple guards that could move to tackle on offense and vice versa, but we aren't going to get into that at this time. On defense, one lineman that could move inside or play outside is junior Earl Okine. Okine could actually be a viable option at offensive tackle, but the need on the interior of the defense is so great it makes more sense to try him there early. Okine has the physical attributes of a solid offensive tackle or a strong side end with long arms and body and also being very strong.

The front seven on defense have a trio of players that could play some defensive end or as a big linebacker. Junior Lerentee McCray was recruited to play linebacker at Florida and was there for his first two years on campus. Last season he was moved to rush end but his size in this defense could dictate him moving back to linebacker.

Sophomore Ronald Powell was just the opposite. Recruited as a speed rush end, during the fall he was moved to SAM linebacker and flourished with the small amount of time he actually spent on the field. Powell is someone they will want near the ball as much as possible and the BUCK/SAM is a perfect position for him in my opinion.

One of the bigger prospects that hasn't seen the field yet for the Gators is one that many expect to make a big impact in his first year. Chris Martin came to UF via transfer as the No. 1 ranked middle linebacker out of high school. The insider reports from last season suggest he was a monster on the scout team as he sat out his freshman year and all of it was as a rush end. Reports are out there he is pushing 260 and getting him close to the line of scrimmage seems like a natural thing to do. I expect big things from Martin and as a defensive end in 2011.

Joshua Shaw was recruited to Florida as a big corner in 2010. As it turns out, he is big but most likely headed to safety where he can use his size and speed to make a difference at a position that has very little depth. Shaw has a great chance to see a lot of playing time with a very limited depth chart at safety and may very well fight for a starting spot.

The bottom line is that Urban Meyer and company recruited very well when in charge, but their style of player may not fit exactly what the new staff under Will Muschamp wants to do. Taking good athletes and putting them in positions to succeed is what this staff has a calling to do in 2011, and it should be fun as we watch it unfold.

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