Showers with a quick transition

Usually a move to the other side of the ball for a player is out of necessity or maybe a wild shot at finding a better home for a player. For the Florida Gators who were looking to add a little bit of speed in the backfield, moving Valdez Showers from safety to running back seems to be one of those golden moves that may really surprise.

This writer has said for the last three years that Valdez Showers would be a good move to offense because of the ineffective play at receiver the gators have endured for three seasons. In an offseason when Florida signed a plethora of talented ball catchers, Showers never even crossed my mind. Of course the first time they face a dearth at running back, the staff decides Shower's speed would be a nice addition to that unit.

In fact, Florida head coach Will Muschamp said the move almost happened two years ago when both running backs Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps were injured during Muschamp's first season on campus.

"I almost took Valdez out of his redshirt," the head coach said. "We had extensive conversations about it. We feel like he's a guy that's really special with the ball in his hands. He's a guy that's got good top end speed and good ball skills."

Now he has a specific skill set that saw him see the field on Saturday and debut at his new position with four catches for 23 yards and two runs for 31 yards.

"He's different than what we have," Muschamp said. "He's a top-end speed guy."

On Saturday, the guy that had been playing safety for three years and just switched to offense less than three weeks ago was being used early and often and looking like he had been there for quite some time.

"Offense always seemed kind of easy for me," Showers said shortly after his contributions in the 24-6 win over Toledo. "It was just a matter of getting the concepts down."

He knows he has some more to learn, but playing offense felt good and familiar to a guy that was an all-star on offense in Detroit, Michigan. He looked good and comfortable running or catching the ball on Saturday.

"I just like to get the feel back," he said. "I felt like I was in high school a little bit. I felt comfortable out there pretty much. I like to show my versatility. I can line up as a receiver or run from the backfield."

The move of Showers was in part due to starting running back Matt Jones missing from the line up in the last couple of weeks. The speed Showers brings to the table was absent without Jones around.

Now the staff has an option of playing Showers in the slot or anywhere on the field even with Jones return expected this week in Miami. Showers likes the thought of he and Jones on the field at the same time.

"That is going to work perfect," he said. "When Matt is healthy it will cause a hassle. The linebackers will come guard me and then worry about the draw. Hopefully it will open up some things for us.

He was excited to see junior running back Mack Brown have a big day on Saturday, running for 112 yards on 25 carries. Brown has been seldom used after being recruited big time by several high profile programs.

"I was happy to see Mack Brown in there," Showers said. "He is a person that just kept fighting and grinding. He put in work and it paid off."

All of a sudden Florida looks to have a stable of able backs to run the ball when they play Miami this weekend.

"We have Matt Jones, Mack Brown, (Mark) Herndon and Kelvin Taylor," Showers said with a grin. "Those are good backs all around… they are going to make plays.

Starting cornerback Jaylen Watkins is missing a unit member with Showers switch to offense. He had no idea that the former safety was as good as he was on offense until he watched his film from high school recently.

"I didn't know until he watched his high school film and he was a really good offensive player," Watkins said. "I wasn't shocked (he did that) after seeing that."

Showers was scheduled to see extensive playing time at safety this year and Muschamp said he was fighting for one of the top three spots at the position before the move. His unselfishness led him to help his team and the unexpected came in just how quick it has happened.

"He embraced the fact of filling in a void with Matt Jones being gone and needing a guy to create that kind of speed out there," Watkins said of Showers. "I was surprised today, that in the first game, he made some plays."

So weren't we all.

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