Dunbar hoping for more

Quinton Dunbar didn't always understand what it took off the field. He put in the effort expected of him on the practice field and spent the necessary time in the playbook, but when it came to the weight room, he only wanted to do the minimum. That's no longer the case. The redshirt junior has changed his mindset and could be headed for the breakout season the Gators have been waiting for.

The hype around Quinton Dunbar started last month in Hoover, Ala. Florida head coach Will Muschamp was offering his reasons why he expected the passing game to be better, and he called Dunbar one of the most improved players on the team. He led the Gators with four touchdowns last season but wants to see an improvement on his 383 yards.

The breakout has been expected since Dunbar came to campus, even during his redshirt season of 2010. He was drawing raves review from teammates and coaches under the Urban Meyer regime, and Dunbar is still hoping he can live up to those expectations. He thinks they've found the route of why he didn't until now.

"We feel like it was never my playing ability," Dunbar said. "It was just in the weight room. At first, I didn't like the weight room. As I progressed, I got better in the weight room, got stronger and got my weight up."

The added weight is noticeable for Dunbar in practice. Facing one of the nation's toughest groups of cornerbacks every day in practice, the extra strength helps him get off jams better than he did previously.

"Strength plays a big part in your route. Every route you're not going to beat a cornerback off the line every time, so when they give you a little nudge, you've got to be able to take that nudge and still get into your route."

Dunbar expects the group of receivers to take the next step with him. They've heard all season about the perceived lack of talent and are hoping to erase those concerns this season. With the second year under offensive coordinator Brent Pease, the receivers know the offense better and should have a chance to improve along with quarterback Jeff Driskel.

"I just feel like everybody competing, everybody got a chip on their shoulder, so everybody trying to go out there and show what they can do," Dunbar said. "Knowing the playbook, we're out there playing fast. When you know what you're doing, it's easy for you to play. But when you don't know, it's kind of hard."

The Gators have been waiting for Dunbar's breakout season, but it has been an even longer wait for Andre Debose to reach his potential. The former five-star wide receiver came to Gainesville with the expectations of Percy Harvin but has struggled to get on the field at receiver during his first four years at Florida.

Dunbar thinks that could change this year.

"Andre Debose is having an outstanding camp," Dunbar said. "He's playing really well. He's stepping up to the challenge that the coaches gave him. He's blocking. He's catching. He's showing that playmaking ability. And he's doing it on a consistent basis."

Then there are the freshmen. Dunbar pointed out Alvin Bailey and Ahmad Fulwood as the two freshmen that are having an impressive fall camp, but he has taken another receiver under his wing. Demarcus Robinson was on campus for spring football, and Dunbar thinks the sky is the limit.

"Demarcus Robinson is like my little brother," Dunbar said. "He's special. He can be great. I help him because I see the potential in him."

Fightin Gators Top Stories