Watkins Splits Time at Corner and Safety

Jaylen Watkins started fall camp without any idea where he would play. After playing cornerback during his freshman season, he spent the spring splitting time between cornerback and safety. The coaches haven't told him what position he will play during the fall, and the sophomore doesn't care either way. He just wants to get on the field.

"I don't know if it'll be a week-by-week thing based on matchups or what, but as of right now, I don't really know where I'll be playing," Jaylen Watkins said. "I'm good with it. I'm comfortable and good at both of them. I can produce at corner or at safety, so whatever gets on the field and helps the team, I'll do it."

The transition to safety wasn't tough for Watkins. He says the only real difference is the involvement in the run defense.

Picking up safety was easier for Watkins as he learned from the first-year Florida head coach. Will Muschamp spent most of the spring working with the defensive backs, as Travaris Robinson is the only listed assistant coach to help in the secondary. Watkins even said that Muschamp's "first instinct is the secondary." That helped him and the younger secondary members learn on the fly.

While Muschamp floats to other position meeting rooms, he continues to put his imprint on how the Florida defense will look.

"It's his defense," Watkins said. "It's good to learn from a guy firsthand whose defense it is. He's telling you right there what he wants, so you can't get anything wrong. You're hearing it from the guy who runs it."

There won't be much difference in the cornerback play. Watkins says the schemes are similar from last season to this year for the cornerbacks, but he does think they will be improved this season.

"We're more disciplined this year," Watkins said of the cornerbacks. "We'll play more as a team because we all have our jobs, and there's not a whole lot of freestyling for us. It's more of a unit this year."

The excitement level around the Florida defense was easily seen at media days. Playing for a defensive minded head coach has added energy to that entire side of the ball.

Muschamp is well known for his fiery antics on the sideline as an assistant coach, and the players don't see a difference since he was named the head coach. His passion is starting to funnel through the team.

"The intensity that he brings is unreal," Watkins said. "His personality brings the same juice to the defense. When he's out there pumped up, that's how we are. I'm sure everyone has seen how he is on the sidelines of games, and it really does have an effect on us. It brings a lot of energy to the defense.

"If your coach is now 40 years old and having energy, why can't you? There's no excuse."

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