Playmaking ability of Purifoy shines again

Loucheiz Purifoy's eyes lit up when he heard the call. While walking in front of the line of scrimmage and stalking the punt protection of Louisiana, the sophomore cornerback heard the word bounce out of each Florida player's mouth — ‘BLACK.' It's the word Purifoy always wants to hear before the ball is snapped because it means he can use his aggression to his advantage.

"That's when everybody goes to block the punt," Loucheiz Purifoy said with a smile, running the play back through his mind.

The sophomore cornerback has shown his knack for the football in multiple ways this season. It started early in the season when he showed his ball skills in pass coverage and his enjoyment in hitting the ball carrier. Purifoy then came onto the scene as an elite gunner on punts against LSU.

Two weeks later, it was his ability to strip the football, as he showcased twice against South Carolina. Every week has showcased another area of Purifoy's game.

On Saturday, it was his punt block skills.

"He's a fantastic player, and a guy that has really developed himself in his sophomore year," Will Muschamp said. "We saw it coming his freshman year, but they've got to mature and go through the growing pains of becoming a good player. He's fantastic.

"He's got a knack for blocking kicks and has good ball skills. He has a knock for those things. We always try to put him in a situation where he came block a kick."

The knack for the football on special teams may look familiar to Florida fans. Chris Rainey left Gainesville with six career blocked punts to give him the school and SEC record. Purifoy and Rainey spent a lot of time together last year, and Purifoy tried to mimic his every move on special teams.

"I ain't Chris Rainey, but that's what he did," Purifoy said of taking over Rainey's spot on the punt block unit. "He was kind of like my older brother. I just watched him a lot. I looked up to him. Once you watch somebody that long, you kind of take after them."

When the Gators needed a big one on Saturday, Purifoy was there to provide it. The Florida coaching staff had already instructed punt returner Pop Saunders not to field the ball. If the Louisiana punter got off an average punt, the game would head to overtime.

Purifoy changed that with a move. Special teams coach D.J. Durkin dialed up the black pressure, and after challenging Purifoy throughout the week to make a move on the shield that protected the punter, that's exactly what the sophomore did.

"We just needed a play," Purifoy said. "(Durkin) told me to go make a move on the shield. I made it, and he bit on it. I made the move inside and then came back outside. I just barely got my hand in there to touch the ball."

There were still struggles for Purifoy. That's part of what made the blocked punt so special to him. He was called for a defensive pass interference and a defensive holding penalty at critical moments in the game that lengthened drives for the Ragin' Cajuns.

Even when the mistakes happen, the expectation for the cornerbacks doesn't change. Muschamp wants his cornerbacks to be aggressive. When mistakes are made, it's not always a surprise. The coaches want the players to maintain their aggressiveness on the field.

"I always tell them, especially when you play corner for us, you better have a short memory," Muschamp said. "We put a lot of pressure on our (corners) with the way we play. Our guys rise up and make plays when they have to.

"If people understood how much pressure we put on our guys on the outside to play, they'd probably be a little more understanding every now and then of a pass interference call, but I doubt it."

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