Tight Ends Vital to Pease's Scheme

The pre-snap shifts that first-year offensive coordinator Brent Pease wants to run will involve all skill positions. They're all important to the overall scheme, but it's the tight end spot that could be the most important. Pease is happy with the ones the Gators have. With an offense based on versatility, it's imperative that the Florida tight ends be able to do multiple things on the field.

"They're very important in this system because they create so many things we can do—formationally, running the ball, creating gaps, spreading out and stretching the field in the pass game," Brent Pease said. "They create mismatch problems. You're matched up on linebackers."

The leader at tight end is returning starter Jordan Reed. The redshirt junior signed with Florida to play quarterback in Urban Meyer's spread attack, but it was clear soon after he got to campus that his athleticism was a better fit at tight end. The 2011 campaign was his first full year at the position.

Reed made an impact in 2011

It was inconsistent as he learned the position on the fly. There were times where he lost track of where he was on the field or lined up wrong, but those hurdles were expected since his experience wasn't what it was for veteran tight ends.

This fall, Reed has put together a strong camp and is now back healthy at practice after missing last weekend with an MCL injury.

"Jordan is an exceptional talent," Pease said. "He's got wide receiver ability but in a body like his. He's a nightmare for defensive coordinators."

Westbrook has surprised

There has been an emerging player at tight end this fall. It came as a surprise when Pease said last week that Tevin Westbrook, who played defensive line last season, was earning some playing time at the tight end spot. The 6-5, 265-pounder was a basketball player in high school and has used that athleticism well on offense.

"Tevin has had as good of a camp as anybody," Pease said. "He has been a complete bonus. He's getting better and the kid has a great attitude. I probably can't say enough great things about him. He has done a great job of catching and blocking. He is building our depth and makes our packages better."

Taylor will be a red zone threat

The depth isn't ideal at the position with four that can play this year, including Clay Burton and Kent Taylor. It's a group that should all see the field during the 2012 season in different spots. Taylor has proven capable of being an important part of the pass offense throughout camp.

"Clay has gotten a ton better since the first day I saw him in spring ball," Pease said. "Then you bring in the young kids with Kent Taylor. If we had one more, it would probably be ideal, but it is what it is now. We've got a good mixture of speed and size."

Burton will be involved this fall

The depth would have been ideal at tight end but sophomore A.C. Leonard decided to transfer in the offseason. He showed flashes as a freshman and was going to be counted on at the tight end position this fall, but his transfer ended that.

Leonard staying would have made the depth ideal, but Pease isn't concerned about it.

"If a guy leaves, a guy leaves," Pease said. "You don't worry about that. A guy left… see you later."

OFFENSIVE LINE MESHING: Pease thinks the best part of the offensive line has been the ability to build depth at all positions. The Gators haven't needed to cross train as much since the depth is better on the line, but they still have with some backups to make sure they're as deep as possible.

"They've meshed and built depth, especially a guy like Kyle Koehne that plays all positions," Pease said. "Coach (Tim) Davis has moved guys around. If we ever get in situations, guys know them all. We've gotten reps for a lot of the young kids like Humphries and Dunker."

Tim Davis has been a big help to the line

Pease also pointed to the added strength helping the unit. He admitted that the players weren't as strong during the 2011 season, but they've added bulk and size to make sure they're capable of handling the inside run game he wants to implement for this season.

The run blocking is the main area Pease and Muschamp have spoken about improving.

They've also improved their chemistry. They're spending more time together off the field to help their communication on it.

"They're with each other so much in the individual periods of practice," Pease said. "It's working together like that and creating matchups with who is in there. There's a lot of communication on the line. They've been very consistent through camp—very, very consistent.

"Anytime you go against people like Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley, you're going against some of the best ones," Pease said. "They compete. You've got to be good in fundamentals and techniques. You're going against two of the best in the SEC."

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