Pease happy with options at receiver

The weapons are there for Brent Pease. Florida's second-year offensive coordinator is comfortable with the playmakers he has to work with after an offseason search for a more dynamic passing game. The emergence of redshirt junior Quinton Dunbar is a big part of it, but the addition of freshmen Ahmad Fulwood and Demarcus Robinson gives the Gators a deep threat this season.

When the passing game struggled in 2012, Brent Pease was quick to point out that the blame fell on different position groups. However, an improved Jeff Driskel will go a long way, and he's showing signs in open practices and in comments from the coaches and players that the breakout will happen.

The difficulty this fall comes in a different passing game. The Gators leaned on the tight end position last season, watching Jordan Reed lead the team in receiving yards and becoming Driskel's go-to target.

"We took a big loss with Jordan because he was our leading pass reception guy last year," Pease said. "Things have to become more balanced out in throwing to the wide receivers."

The quarterbacks spent time watching film this offseason to see the running backs they missed out of the backfield. Pease expects that to change this year.

He also pointed out four receivers -- Quinton Dunbar, Ahmad Fulwood, Solomon Patton and Demarcus Robinson -- as the ones that he trusts to be involved downfield in the passing game. Dunbar has refined his game this offseason, but it's Robinson that is stealing the headlines.

"The kid's a phenomenal athlete," Pease said of the freshman. "I think he's got great hands. Size-wise, he's really what you want and his strength that he's got in his body. For a young kid that faces as much man coverage and have to get off of that and have the body to do it, you don't see it a lot. He can get knocked off at times on a reroute, but he has the ability to explode to go get a ball. He's got a lot of range.

"I always refer to a kid I had at Boise State, Austin Pettis, who plays for the Rams now. He had tremendous range in catching a ball. It wasn't just on his body, it could be outside the frame of his body, but Demarcus has that. He probably has a lot more speed and athleticism (than Pettis) to get that done. I'm not appointing him the greatest thing on Earth yet because he's got to play a game, but I know he's worked at his skill and I think he's understanding what his opportunity and his job is on each play."

Robinson will be a weapon

The Florida coaches have also complimented Fulwood, the 6-5 freshman with speed, for his ability to get open down the field. With Fulwood and Robinson living up to the expectations the coaches had coming into the season, they've been able to keep Loucheiz Purifoy mostly on defense during fall camp.

The injury bug has also crept up in the secondary, forcing Purifoy to spend most of his time there. Pease still expects him to have a role on offense this fall.

REDSHIRTING A FRESHMAN TAILBACK?: It sounds like the Gators would like to pick one freshman between Adam Lane and Kelvin Taylor to get carries this season and redshirt the other. Pease said on Tuesday that behind Matt Jones on the depth chart is Mack Brown, followed by Mark Herndon. He, like Will Muschamp on Monday, went on to talk about Valdez Showers before the freshmen.

Taylor is battling Lane for reps

The emphasis is pass protection and ball security, but the Gators might only need one of the freshmen to get touches this year.

"The young guys have got to continue to show their improvement in practice and consistency," Pease said. "We've got to find the spot that, at least with one of them, whichever we decide to play which I don't know the answer to that yet, is that we're going to get them some repetitions in the game."

SHOWERS ON OFFENSE: The coaches have talked about moving Showers to offense in recent years, but they wanted to see how the safety battle would play out after Matt Elam and Josh Evans departed following the 2012 season. With Showers seeming lost on the depth chart and freshmen proving capable there, Showers flipped to running back.

The coaches are planning to use him in a similar role to the one Omarius Hines filled. He can line up at wide receiver or running back, where he can carry the ball or be used as a receiver out of the backfield.

"He's natural," Pease said. "He's got great speed and brings in kind of that scatback-type of runner – all of a sudden you have the pounding back who's running it downhill, then all the sudden, you spread him out and this guy's hitting creases.

"He's a little different than Omarius because he's probably got a lot more quickness and he's a little bit more elusive. Because of his size, Omarius was so strong and Omarius could even be a little bit of a tight end type body. Valdez isn't that type of guy, but he'll be filling some of those roles."


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