One Last Season for Hines

There might not be a player on the Florida roster that understands the new offense better than Omarius Hines. The redshirt senior has lined up all over the field during spring installation and fall camp. He came to Florida as a receiver and split some time at tight end before moving to running back in the spring. Now, his versatility could be a big part of the Gators' attack.

"It has been a long journey," Omarius Hines said with a laugh. "From playing receiver to tight end and now doing everything—I love it. I'm really enjoying it."

That doesn't mean it was easy for Hines. He committed to Urban Meyer and signed with Florida to be a downfield threat at wide receiver. Once he got to campus, Hines added muscle and made himself into a playmaker from the receiver position.

Depth issues at tight end caused him to spend time there in recent years, but injuries kept him from making an impact on the field.

He's hoping this will be the year. The transitions are over. He's happy with his role on the team and understands it well, despite being the first year under new offensive coordinator Brent Pease.

"It's transitioning into different roles," Hines said about the toughest part of his career. "I'm in the tight end, running back and fullback role. The transition into those different positions (is the toughest)."

With the transition behind him, Hines wants a successful season. He acknowledges that his career might have been more productive if he was placed at one position and stuck there throughout his time in Gainesville, but the senior believes the role he's in this year will fit him well.

It features his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands. Even at running back, where he hadn't played since spending some time there in high school, has come back quick. He notched a 61-yard run between the tackles during Friday's scrimmage that was the biggest play of the day for the offense. He's hoping to take that impact into games this fall.

The rallying cry for the seniors is the same every year. It's their last season in Gainesville and their last chance to make an impact.

"That's every senior's mindset," Hines said. "It's the last one, so you've got to play it like it's your last. You never know when your last snap is going to be, so you've got to play every snap like it's going to be the last."

Hines has taken snaps at wide receiver, running back, tight end and fullback this fall. There's still room to grow and improve, but he's comfortable enough with his knowledge of the offense at this point in the season.

"At first, (the new offense) was a little overwhelming. I've been trying to make sure I get everything set so I have a great season this year, and we can have a great season this year.

"It's going to help us a lot this year. I can create a lot of mismatches and keep the defense on its toes."

Hines and Trey Burton give the Gators two versatile players that can line up at any position on the offense other than the line. He didn't shy away from the "Trey Burton 2.0" nickname given to him by a media member on Monday night.

"We do pretty much the same thing, but I would say I'm stronger and faster than he is," Hines said. "We're both equal, but I'm stronger and faster."

Hines has the physicality to be a between the tackle running back if Florida needs him to, but with Mack Brown, Mike Gillislee, and Matt Jones, they might not need him to be that. Jones has impressed Hines in his limited time on campus, saying the freshman's pass protection also continues to get better.

"He's big, fast and learning the plays a lot quicker," Hines said. "He's going to be a big help to us this year."


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