Muschamp Expects Sophomores to Lead

The divide in the 2010 Gators isn't much of a secret. It came between the freshmen class and the rest of the team. Those freshmen are now heading into their sophomore seasons, and they will be counted on for production on both sides of the ball. It's a recruiting class that came to Gainesville as highly touted as any. They now have a chance to shine.

Head coach Will Muschamp doesn't want them to just shine on the field. He also wants them to take responsibility and lead the team.

There's a strict code to follow in order to be a leader on a team coached by Muschamp. The most important part is production. If a player is going to be a leader, he has to be respected because of his play on the field. He also preaches that leaders can't have a bad day on the field. Muschamp wants his leaders to have a position energy that affects everybody on the team.

"You have to stay humble in what you do, so you cannot be a negative guy who sits in the locker room and complains about how we're practicing, how hot it is, or what we are doing offensively or defensively," Muschamp said. "Stay humble and move forward with mistakes and don't do them again."

Muschamp doesn't focus much on the player's age. If they meet the characteristics above, he wants them to get involved and take leadership responsibility immediately.

For this year's team, that will likely come through plenty of sophomores.

As freshmen, some saw the field and others pouted about not seeing the field. There seems to be a renewed energy throughout the sophomore class that Muschamp believes will help lead the team this year.

"I am not really worried about being a senior and looking for senior leadership," Muschamp said. "I think you can be a sophomore, I think you can be a freshman and be a great leader. I have seen guys do that. They positively affect the organization and how they play and how they approach things every day. We've got some guys, especially in the sophomore class, we are counting on to be very productive players and good leaders on top of that."

BURTON FOR UTILITY ROLE: Trey Burton did whatever the Gators needed last season, and it looks like it will be more of the same this year. He could still play some positions this season that didn't happen last year.

It looks like the only position Burton played last year that can be ruled out in 2011 is quarterback. He'll be used as a fullback, running back, tight end and potentially some wide receiver. The sophomore is a unique weapon that offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will use all over the field.

"I think he fits very well here with what we want to do," Muschamp said. "We want him to play, what we call the F position. That position is going to be a full back, it's going to be a slot receiver, it's going to be a match-up on the outside linebacker, and it's going to be a guy to motion and create leverage in the rush and pass game. He's going to do so many things for us. He's a guy that is going to be catching the football, he's going to be blocking, he's going to be carrying it. He was a short-yardage situation guy in the spring that was probably our best short yardage back."

Burton's knowledge and understanding of the game is what makes Muschamp think he's capable of handling it. Burton also said he has spent time watching New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker, whose versatility has been important in their recent success.

"I'm a little bigger than he is but he does everything," Burton said. "He's Mr. Versatile and he helps Tom Brady out a lot."

SECURING A BACKUP: With John Brantley locked in as the starting quarterback, the focus will now turn to locking down a backup quarterback as soon as possible. Tyler Murphy had a good spring, and when adding freshmen Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel to the mix, Florida has three talented options.

Muschamp would like to nail it down quickly so they can start building packages for the backup.

"We need to find who is our backup quarterback going into the season and how are we going to tailor offense for the backup quarterback," Muschamp said. "That's a decision we need to make as quickly as we can in camp."


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