Movement and Stability with DB's

The biggest news in terms of position movement at the end of week one is Brian Poole working at safety. The 5-star and 2nd ranked high school cornerback in the country is a very physical player in the secondary and Florida head coach Will Muschamp intimated that his ability to get on the field right away is the reason for the move. Otherwise, the secondary is looking stable and deep right now.

The plan for Brian Poole came because Florida had a little bit of luxury at the cornerback position and He is such an excellent athlete Will Muschamp deemed he needed to get on the field. Muschamp certainly wasn't calling this a permanent move.

"Early in camp Brian showed very good coverage skills and good instincts in zone," Muschamp said. "He is a bright young man and a physical player that will tackle. In the recruiting process we felt like he was a corner / nickel. He is a guy that can go in the slot and play.

"I think as young men the best thing you can do for them is get them in one spot and let them play. Athletically I feel like he is ready to play. I made the decision to move him to safety because the four corners we felt very good about. If we get Jeremy Brown in September we should have five corners we feel good about. I feel like this will put him on the field the quickest and he has done a nice job of playing where he is."

Muschamp really likes the play of the secondary and the four top cornerbacks on the team which are Marcus Roberson, Cody Riggs, Jaylen Watkins, and Loucheiz Purifoy. He refused to name two starters and instead continued to talk about the foursome as a group and how the competition has really helped them.

"Competition is our best motivator and those guys are all competing and based on the performance from the previous day is who runs out there with the first crew," Muschamp said. "If you practice well you stay out there and if not someone else runs out there. We haven't had to say anything as far as motivation and it is great. We have guys and depth and great football players we can win with."

We have four that we are going to work and all four of those have done a really nice job. As much nickel and dime that we play, we are going to have a lot of five and six DB's on the field. We have multiple guys that can play inside and do different things for us. It isn't necessarily about who is winning at the left corner position, it is about who are the best five today or six today, seven today.

At the end of the day if you are a starter in the dime package you are a starter. If you are a starter in the nickel package, you are a starter. We played over 70% in the nickel last year. Also if you are the SAM linebacker in regular (personnel) you are a starter. There will be some teams this year that we will be in nickel the whole game.

Saturday the Gators will scrimmage and Muschamp is anxious to see how all of his defensive backfield reacts without coaches screaming at them what to do.

"I want to get off the field and let them play," he said. "That is what Saturday is for, to let those guys get out there and execute and play and make plays and communicate and do the things we have to be successful.

Muschamp feels a lot of the same way at safety. His starters are Josh Evans and Matt Elam, but he has some backups that have been performing well at camp so far.

"Jabari Gorman has had a little bit of a twinged hamstring, he is pushing through it and hasn't missed a rep, (but) that has been frustrating for him," Muschamp said. "Valdez Showers has done some nice things and I have been very impressed with Brian Poole. Rhaheim Ledbetter has been getting some reps and doing some nice things as well. Pop Saunders has been playing some safety inside and corner, just because he has a feel for all positions."

As the season gets closer, they have to figure out which guys will getting most of the practice time with the first and second units. With limited time every day due to NCAA rules, you have to make sure the guys that are going to get on the field on Saturdays are getting enough time in practice.

"After Saturday we will start settling in a little bit, not necessarily in ranking depth charts but total reps of guys at several positions," he said. "We have six DB's out there and I have to make sure Matt (Elam) gets enough reps at the dime. We mostly played nickel last year.

"Who are the six best right now, where are they playing the best, and where are they the most comfortable?"


Muschamp likes his starting safeties.

Evans seems to be making a favorable impression on the head coach who says the senior is starting to really get the mental part of the game.

"I think Josh has improved tremendously," Muschamp said about the time between now and the end of last season. "It doesn't have to do with athleticism, but with communication, being on the same page, and anticipation. The safety position is a lot of anticipation before the communication. We put a lot on our linebackers and (safeties)… our corners and front guys go play. It is everyone else's job to make sure everyone is on the same page. That is where Josh has taken the next step."

Muschamp sounds he is ready to go to war with his secondary, in the SEC he better be ready for that.


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