Notebook: No worries about cornerbacks

All eyes were on Florida cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson during Monday's Pro Day. They both ran a 4.61 40 at the NFL Combine and looked to better it on Monday. Official times were not released from Florida's event, but everyone was forced to run inside the O'Connell Center because of wet conditions on the outside. Florida coach Will Muschamp believes both cornerbacks will be fine.

The two cornerbacks were projected to be first-round picks heading into the 2013 season, but inconsistencies for Loucheiz Purifoy and injuries for Marcus Roberson kept the two from having the best seasons. Purifoy ended the season with two interceptions, two sacks, 3.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and seven pass breakups.

Roberson ended his junior year by playing in seven games. He had 11 tackles and three pass breakups while battling injuries throughout the year.

Both players had strong sophomore seasons, helping Florida earn a berth in the Sugar Bowl after the 2012 regular season. Now they have to hope NFL teams can see past the issues during their junior seasons.

"Not really," Will Muschamp said when asked if he was surprised about the times. "Those guys play a lot faster than they're going to run 40 in. That's what a lot of the coaches and comments I hear from the scouts is. At the end of the day, they're going to watch the tape and see it."

The Florida defensive scheme is designed to let the corners shine. Muschamp's defense puts the cornerbacks on an island and allows them to show what they can do. The scheme prefers size, and the Florida staff has recruited to that. The two 6-0 cornerbacks have fit what the Gators wanted to do, and they look ready to be plugged into what an NFL team wants on defense.

Roberson has the instincts to thrive in man-to-man coverage, a must for any NFL cornerback. He uses his hands well and should be helped out more in the NFL by rules that allow cornerbacks to be more physical.

Purifoy can impact the game in different ways, making multiple contributions to Florida's special teams until. He has the distance speed to keep up with NFL receivers down the field.

The recent surprise has been Jaylen Watkins. He ripped off a 4.41 40 at the NFL Combine and tied for the most bench reps of 225 pounds, putting it up 22 times. He turned the heads of NFL teams and proved he's capable of an NFL Draft selection. Watkins showed his versatility last season while playing cornerback, safety, nickel, dime and special teams.

Watkins started at safety for the Gators last season, a move Muschamp said was made because the coach felt like he was "more apt to make" the change than Purifoy or Roberson. His versatility and intelligence will be a perfect fit on an NFL roster.

All three defensive backs bring different abilities and all should be drafted next month.

"Each player gives you something a little different of what you're looking forward," Muschamp said. "I think all three of those guys are going to be successful."

DEALING WITH DEBOSE: Muschamp spoke with wide receiver Andre Debose on Sunday morning about an incident that occurred on Saturday. The receiver was thrown through a window during an altercation that ended with gunshots being fired by the other men in the home.

Police said Debose tried to break the incident up multiple times.

"Andre and I talked about it yesterday morning about the situation," Muschamp said. "He told me exactly what happened. He's got to be careful who he's hanging around. He didn't know some of the guys that were there, but he's fine.

"He told me it was an eye-opening experience. He admittedly said, ‘coach, I was in a bad place and shouldn't have been there.' He didn't know all the people involved. I just told him that's where he had to be careful."

EASLEY WAITING: Despite the temptation to work out with his former Florida teammates, defensive tackle Dominique Easley will wait before showing NFL teams what he can do. After tearing his ACL despite playing in only the first two games last season, Easley thought in the past about working out on Florida's Pro Day.

He changed his mind recently because he didn't feel the knee was healthy enough to push it. Muschamp encouraged him to wait if he felt like he needed extra time. He is expected to work out for NFL teams on April 18 in Gainesville.

PATTON TURNS HEADS: Solomon Patton felt slighted when he wasn't invited to the NFL Combine, and he made sure to show it on Monday. With no official 40 times released it wasn't certain, but multiple stopwatches had Patton running under 4.4 despite running it barefoot on the O'Connell Center track.

He drew raves reviews while running routes for NFL teams and catching passes from Chris Leak in the rain on the Florida practice field.

"He came in and caught he ball well, was crisp in route running," Muschamp said. "He caught everything off his body, which is what they want to see. He did an outstanding job."

Muschamp believes the team's leading receiver will be an important piece to an NFL roster because of the versatility he provides.

"Some teams (would want him) as a slot receiver that has return skills, a big time kickoff returner," Muschamp said. "He is a great special teams guy. He is one of the better kickoff coverage guys I have been around and then you look at the amount of blocked punts he has since he's been here.

"He is a guy that will make a team, it is a matter of what is the right fit for him. He is a wonderful young man and represents our University in a first class manner."

HALAPIO HEALTHY: Jon Halapio showed 32 bench reps of 225 pounds on Monday, proving that the pec injury is now healthy after he was slowed throughout the 2013 season. He played through pain last season and the risk of the pec tearing and causing him to miss the entire season.

The Florida coaches were impressed with his toughness and ability to play through the pain.

"I don't think people really (understand) what he did last year," Muschamp said. "There's a lot of young men that would've probably taken a redshirt and had surgery. We gave him several options and he said, ‘I'm going to tape it up and play.'"

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