Clay Burton Feeling Shifty

Pardon the smile on their faces, but the tight ends at the University of Florida are a wee bit giddy these days. Even if they aren't going to get the ball on any one particular play in Brent Pease's offense, they are going to get a good laugh plenty of times when their motion in the play confuses the hell out of the defense. Burton says he is catching on quick to an offense Gators will like.

Clay Burton sat down in front of the Florida media for the first time in his college career and was a bit reserved. That was until the sophomore tight end was asked about the confusion the new Florida offense is likely to cast on any defense it faces in 2012. Then he went from reserved to having a big ole smile on his face.

"I can't wait till we play someone else because I feel like in the spring just talking to the defensive players, they said the shifting was crazy and confusing," Burton said while his speech speeded up to get it out. "It really is (funny), I wouldn't want to be a defensive player and have to line up on one side and just because one person shifts you have to change everything. I think it is the best offense I have seen."

"The shifts and motions… we almost do some on every play. That is totally different (from last year) and we are very involved in the offense and it's fun."

Burton arrived at Florida as a defensive end. He stayed there for most of his freshman year but made the switch in the middle. For this sophomore, he doesn't care where he lines up, he just is ready to make his team better any way he can.

"I will do anything to help the team," he said. "They just gave me the opportunity and a chance to step up and I just did it."

It appears that the hard work has paid off for Burton and he was just listed second on the depth chart at tight end the Monday before the first game, He has had to make a lot of adjustments after coming over from the defensive side.

"Once I got the first install down, I just tried to master that and move from there," he said. "Getting better footwork, going out on pass patterns, and having to catch the ball were adjustments."

"I viewed the spring as an opportunity. Ever since the winter conditioning program I have been all in and giving it my all. Whatever has happened (since then) I have just taken it in stride."

Burton was close to not being a Gator at all. He originally committed to Notre Dame out of Venice High School because Florida didn't offer him early in the process. All of that changed and he changed his mind.

"I wasn't offered by Florida at the time I committed to Notre Dame," he said. "When it came down to make the decision that I would leave and come play early, Notre Dame just seemed so far away."

Clay's older brother Trey Burton has been a staple on offense for two years and looks to make his impression on the third offensive coordinator he will play for at Florida. Clay says Trey has been an inspiration to him and a big reason he also switched his commitment to the Gators.

"Coming and playing with my brother was also a huge factor in that decision," he said. "I think he is a big reason I played. I always wanted to be like him. We have played on the same team since I was about five years old."

And the younger Burton likes competition and welcomes it. He will have that at Florida with starter Jordan Reed seemingly entrenched as the starter at tight end and a redshirt freshman that is ready to push him as well in that second spot. According to Burton, Tevin Westbrook is coming on strong and making an impression on all of his teammates as well.

"He's a really big kid, he's athletic, smart, physical, and he's a good teammate," Burton said before elaborating on the things that he and Westbrook had to learn before switching from defense. "It is just a lot of footwork. As a defensive player you want to push the offensive player so you can see the play and offense you want to stay on the guy. We both had an issue of kind of pressing the guy instead of driving them off the ball, but we kind of fixed that."

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