Purifoy adjusting to both sides of the ball

NEW ORLEANS, La. — Practices have become especially exhausting for Florida cornerback/wide receiver Loucheiz Purifoy. He's spending time at practice on both sides of the ball while also getting increased reps as the kickoff returner. With an ear-to-ear grin after Monday's practice, the sophomore raved about how much fun he is having while impacting the game in multiple ways this season.

"I feel like I'm in high school again," Loucheiz Purifoy said with a laugh.

Most skill players are used in Purifoy's role in high school. They'll return kicks, play offense and play in the defensive secondary to give them the best chance possible to change the game. Not many can pull it off in the Southeastern Conference, but Purifoy continues to carve out a niche in all three units of the Florida team.

He returned two kicks against Florida State for an average off 22 yards each. Purifoy only touched the ball once on offense. It came after the Gators took a 6-0 lead and recorded a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease wanted to catch the Seminoles off balance and gave the ball to Purifoy on a reverse that went for eight yards.

In the stat sheet, it's the only time Purifoy has touched the ball on offense this season. But the sophomore has spent plenty more plays on the offensive side of the ball, including a dropped 40-yard touchdown during the third quarter against South Carolina.

The Gators have continued to try getting him involved on offense. It just hasn't always worked. Pease and Will Muschamp are now trying to work Purifoy into a role in the Florida offense where it isn't obvious that he will touch the ball when he's on the field.

It's a sign of the improvement necessary for Florida at wide receiver. The coaches are trying multiple things to get the ball in the hands of the best playmakers on the roster.

The bowl practices have been no different. Purifoy continues to get extra snaps on offense and says he has even worked "a little bit" with Pease after practice.

"I'm just learning how to set plays up to get open," Purifoy said.

The role could increase during the 2013 season, depending on how the wide receivers develop under new position coach Joker Phillips. Purifoy said he hasn't spoken with Pease or Muschamp about his role in the offense next year, but the Florida head coach has made it clear all the receivers have bowl practices to impress Phillips before spring ball starts.

Purifoy's goal is to continue making big plays in practice and hoping they translate to the field so that he'll be able to play both ways next season.

"(The coaches) haven't told me anything yet, but I'll be waiting," Purifoy said with a laugh.

The last test for the Gators this season comes in Louisville on Wednesday. On the defensive side of the field, Purifoy knows the big arm of Teddy Bridgewater will test the Gators. The Florida secondary has helped the Gators become the top passing efficiency defense in the country, but they'll be given a tough test on Wednesday.

"They've got a good passing team," Purifoy said. "We're looking forward to playing them. (Bridgewater) knows where to put the ball to get it to the receivers. You can tell he leads the nation in passing efficiency.

"They're a good team. They run their routes crisp and he throws the ball on time."


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