Joyer producing in less-glamorous role

Hunter Joyer is no stranger to the limelight on the field. He's found comfort when grasping the ball's bumped leather and producing on offense. As a youth, he was a running back — all eyes on him, the weight of scoring touchdowns resting on his shoulders. In the midst of his sophomore year at Florida, he is in a new role — one that lies in more of the spotlight's shadow as the Gators' fullback.

Joyer is settling into his new role with finesse, executing blocks for his teammate who holds the position he knows best. Senior running back Mike Gillislee is perched as one of the conference's top rushers, and according to teammate Frankie Hammond, Joyer has plenty of stock in that success.

"He springs (Gillislee) free, and those are the little things that go unnoticed," Hammond said.

Because Joyer fulfilled the running back role throughout the majority of his football career prior to UF, he said his main focus lied in developing his blocking.

"I just felt like that's the reason that I'm here," Joyer said of his responsibility to chalk up blocks. "I'm not here to get touches (or) get carries. So I just focused in on that."

The sophomore admitted he didn't know any fundamentals when he first picked up blocking. While he said it wasn't extremely difficult, he also said it's not as easy as some people may think. He mentioned his initial struggle in mastering stay-at-home blocks.

Joyer's physique certainly didn't prove to be a hurdle, though. He measures up at a solid 5-foot-10, 249-pound frame and busts out serious numbers in the weight room. Joyer is said to bench more than 400 pounds, squat more than 550 pounds and clean-and-jerk 315 pounds.

However, offensive coordinator Brent Pease commended a strength that lies deeper in Joyer — his mentality.

"He makes a lot of good decisions because he's in a role where he has to decide off a blocking scheme who he's blocking," Pease said. "He's in there on passes where he has to stretch the coverage probably not vertically, but at least horizontally."

Pease said Joyer is continuing to fit his blocks well for both Gilislee and quarterback Jeff Driskel — something that is building a confident dynamic on the offense.

"You can kind of start to see their confidence out there working together and how they're working off of each other," Pease said.

When looking at the development of his blocking, Joyer said he holds special pride in a play he posted for another one of Florida's offensive weapons: Trey Burton.

Joyer referred to his block in the Tennessee game on a play where Burton notched a career-long 80-yard run to tie the game in the third quarter. Joyer's block proved to be crucial, as Burton was able to clip through the Vols' creases untouched. When asked if Joyer had to adjust from being the guy in the spotlight to the man clearing the hole, Joyer said he doesn't' mind his new role.

"It's just a little different," Joyer said. "It's kind of like a smaller role, but it's not a worse role, or a bad role."

Joyer said he's not looking for TV time or for his name to be buzzed about — he's simply focused on the success of the team. But despite his modesty, his teammates aren't blind to his impact.

"He's just a guy that just comes to practice every day, does his job, doesn't complain and he doesn't get in the spotlight and doesn't do anything," Hammond said. "But us as a team, we understand what he means to us."

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