Joyer Prepared for New Offense

When Hunter Joyer signed with Florida, he never imagined a situation where he would line up at wide receiver. First-year offensive coordinator Brent Pease's scheme changed that. Joyer won't be split out when the ball is snapped, but in the first six days of practice, the Gators have already installed packages that feature Joyer and other running backs split wide before shifting to the backfield.

"I might move from another position to the backfield, but it's the same (offense)," Hunter Joyer said. "It has worked pretty well. We're disguising what we are doing so that defenses can't strategize against us or figure out tendencies. It's working out so well. It's a little different, but the offense is basically the same."

The challenge for Joyer was to learn the shifts. As the fullback for Florida, most of the blocking concepts were similar to what he learned last season. He spent most of his offseason focusing on the pre-snap shifts and where to line up.

Of the formations that have been installed through six days of practice, Joyer estimated being on the field for about half of them.

"It's trying to get used to the shifts and learn some of the new play calls," Joyer said about the toughest part of learning his role. "A lot of it is the same, but the terminology is different. It's just about getting that down."

He worked throughout the offseason to make his hands better to make him more versatile for the offense. Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease wants his backs to get involved in the pass game.

An increase in touches would be enough to get Joyer excited. He understands his role as a fullback, but Joyer wants to be used to run the ball more in 2012.

"It's a huge role, and I would love to have it," the sophomore said. "I would love to be that person. Everybody would (miss running the ball). Everyone likes to touch the ball, but I'm fine with whatever the coaches ask me to do."

Whether he gets the ball more or is just used as a blocker, Joyer is more comfortable in Gainesville while preparing for his sophomore season. At this time last year, he was swimming in the playbook and trying to earn a role.

"Having to adjust from high school to college was about learning how to practice," Joyer said. "It's a lot different going from high school kids to grown men. That's the biggest thing."

Running back Mike Gillislee wasn't scared to be outgoing with his goal for the season. Starting in the backfield will give him plenty of touches, and the senior said he wanted to rush for 1,500 yards and 24 touchdowns.

For that to happen, the offensive line will need to improve. It also puts pressure on Joyer.

"I like it," Joyer said. "He can definitely do it. We have a strong offensive line and a good running game. He'll get plenty of carries. I think it'll be pretty good."

The issue in the fall is depth at running back. That's where Joyer could come in. Mack Brown, Chris Johnson and freshman Matt Jones will all get shots at the job, but if none of them step up, Joyer could see increased touches.

Jones stole headlines when head coach Will Muschamp said earlier this week that he would play this year. That doesn't surprise Joyer.

"He's a beast out there," Joyer said. "He's tough to bring down. He's working hard and getting all the assignments down for the plays. He's doing well."

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