Burton Adjusting to Fullback

Trey Burton knew that a new offense brought adjustments. He just didn't know how hard they would be. Switching from quarterback in the spread to fullback in a pro-style offense brought unique challenges. Burton had to learn how to become a consistent blocker while also learning how to take a hand off. They sound easy, but after spending his entire career at quarterback, it was a new challenge.

"I did some run blocking last year, but I'm still trying to get comfortable with it," Trey Burton said. "Especially at this level, it's just a lot harder. I'm going to always need to work on some things, especially when it's stuff I've never done before."

The blocking has improved. Players and coaches have praised Burton's understanding of the game since he came to Florida, so it's not a surprise he picked it up with ease.

It's still different though. The challenges of blocking live in a game still could be different from his growth on the practice field. There are some questions he won't know answers to until taking the field Saturday night, and the success of his blocking is one of them.

"It was hard last year to switch into it," Burton said. "I'm getting better at it, and it's getting easier. It's harder at fullback when you have to run downhill and iso a linebacker."

The hardest part came when he was given the ball. During high school and as a freshman at Florida, Burton took snaps from the center and ran with it. In Charlie Weis' pro-style offense, he'll be taking hand offs from the quarterback before he runs.

It sounds like a transition that would be simple, but after playing quarterback his whole life before this season, Burton needed some time to figure it out.

"That was probably the hardest thing I had to work on this camp, receiving hand offs instead of just getting it from under center and running with it," Burton said.

With his blocking and ability to take a hand off now secure, it makes Burton a more dangerous player than before. He'll spend most of his time at fullback this season, but his versatility allows Weis to also use him at running back, tight end and any wide receiver position.

"I'm a formation/personnel guy as far as attacks go," Weis said. "Trey gives me a lot of versatility within one personnel group. Sometimes people don't understand the magnitude of what that means, but he lets you do a lot of things."

Burton was almost moved to safety when Will Muschamp took the job at Florida, but Weis eventually talked him out of it. The coaching staffs on each side of the ball usually fight for a player like Burton.

In this case, Muschamp let Weis have him. From a defensive viewpoint, Muschamp understands how difficult a player like Burton is to prepare for.

"You better track him," Muschamp said. "He brings a lot of variety to your play calling because he's smart and gets football. He understands it. When you want to change something, you can show him what you did yesterday from a different spot. He understands that. Some guys have a harder time with that."

The perfect role for Burton is one that is undefined. There's no limit to where he could be on the field for any play.

"Coach Weis just tries to get me the ball as much as he can," Burton said. "You can't touch the ball every play, so I have to be doing something else."

His willingness to be anywhere on the field isn't just driven by his instincts for the game. It's actually driven by fear.

"My worst fear is sitting on the bench," Burton said. "I told coach I'll do anything he wants me to do."


Fightin Gators Top Stories