Kitchens an all-around linebacker

This fall will mark the last chapter for senior linebacker Darrin Kitchens at the University of Florida. And with that chapter marks another new position for him. Kitchens has lined up mostly at SAM during his career, he ventured into the MIKE position last year, and now he will likely start at the WILL linebacker position in Will Muschamp's defense.

At 6-2 and 238 pounds, Darrin Kitchens will bring a little more size to the WILL linebacker position after the exodus of Jelani Jenkins. He hasn't played the position before, but in the past, when he has been asked to produce on the field, he has done just that. He likes the challenge of completing the trifecta of learning all the linebacker positions for Florida.

"I'm just smoothing around the rough edges trying to hone my skills," Kitchens said with a huge smile at Florida's media day on Thursday. "I don't just want to be great, but great in all areas of football." For a guy to play all three he has to be exceptional athletically as mentally. He also has to be patient and non-selfish. That doesn't mean it will always be easy.

"It has been tough, but fun," he said of the transition phases for each position he has learned. "It has been exciting. I am actually glad that I have had the chance to play all three just to be a better football player all around. Now I know what the other guy is thinking and know what angle he will take, it helps me be in a better position."

Knowing all three and being verse in the playbook now helps him play at a higher rate of speed.

"It makes it a great deal easier, knowing all three positions," he said.

The Gators not only lost Jelani Jenkins, but the true leader of their defense Jon Bostic. Guys like Kitchens are going to have to step up in their absence. He believes this 2013 version of the Florida defense, which has even more big holes to fill, is going to be good because of the effort they put in daily.

"We are going to be as good as we train," Kitchens said. "Everyone is as good as hard as they work, hard work is better than talent any day."

When Kitchens has beeen called upon he has routinely performed at a high level and that is something he is proud of. Now that should translate to a starting position and a chance to play much more.

"It's very exciting to be able to play," he said. "I love being a part of the team and a teammate people can count on. That is what I am proud of myself in being someone that can be there for my teammates when I am needed."

And this new position is right up his alley. He prides himself in leaning the things that he may not know in the game he loves. He says it is part of his make up and he uses one word tp describe that intangible part of his being,

"Determination... I may not know something, but I am determined to go learn it, he said. "When I am playing in a competitive sport, it is just the will to never give up."

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