Simplicity is a key for Freshmen DB's

There is no getting around it this year. As loaded as Florida was in the secondary with depth and experience in 2013, they are going to have to rely on an influx of freshmen and red-shirt freshmen to play in 2014. The Gators always recruit well in the secondary, so the talent is there. Florida head coach Will Muschamp likes to simplify for the young guys to get them on the field and ready quicker.

When looking at most depth charts you will find a free safety and a strong safety, and a great deal of them you will find a field corner and a boundary corner.

The Free safety is usually that guy that is the last line of defense. In a cover –one, which is man-to-man coverage across with one deep safety, he would be the guy in the middle of the deep field. In Gator terms, it is Reggie Nelson, the 2006 safety we lovingly called "The Eraser".

At corner, the boundary guy is the one that plays the wide field, the largest area to cover receivers, and is usually a very quick and fast guy that can cover a lot of ground. The boundary corner is the guy that plays on the short hash, less ground to cover and a guy that you want to get up in the face of receivers and keep them from getting into their passing routes.

For Will Muschamp and company, he will eventually get to that, but when he trains his young guys up, he simplifies and wants them to learn quickly and be comfortable with everything on the field. He does this at corner and safety, and they actually play this way sometimes, but that depends on situations and the ability of the guys he has on the field.

Sign up for Fightin Gators!

In his manner of teaching, he has a left and right corner and a left and right safety.

"I think the best way of teaching is you play right and left and you take the right guys and put them on the left side a couple of days and the left guys on the right side for a couple of days so they are seeing the ball and angles of tackling (from both sides)," Muschamp said on Friday. "From the teaching progression, it is better to do right and left instead of narrowing it down."

Guys like Vernon Hargreaves, the All-American sophomore at corner, kind of force you to diversify a bit, but with the different offenses and the speed at which they are running plays, Muschamp feels they are better off staying simple and letting their athleticism take over.

"We will look at some things in the fall when we have a guy like Vernon from a matchup standpoint," he said. "As far as installation in the secondary I always like to look at a right and left safety and a right and left corner. When you do see some teams that give you some change of strength motion, you have to sometimes play the strong safety or free safety position as most people would look at it. When you motion, you aren't the free safety any more, now you are on the strong side of the formation.

"In the season, we like to have a box guy and middle field guy. You can't always dictate that based on formation, because teams in hurry up can make you change how you do that."

Florida signed five players that will come in at the cornerback position in the 2014 class. Two of them, Jalen Tabor and Duke Dawson are already on campus and practicing this spring. Muschamp likes what he sees so far from his young guys.

"Duke Dawson and Jalen Tabor are both really good players," Muschamp said. "Duke is playing corner and NICKEL. He is very physical and very heavy handed. He gets his hands on people and is very effective. He's very strong and is weighing about 195. He's very well put together, he is a ball player and both of them are quick learners.

He wants to see Tabor be a little more physical and own his man at the line of scrimmage.

"Jalen is a guy that has some length on him. I sat him down the other day and said, ‘when you're a fast ball pitcher, you throw fastballs'." Muschamp said. "He has to stay on the line of scrimmage more on his press. "When you are fast ball pitcher throw fast balls. Don't throw curve balls. Back off every now and then, but stay with your fast ball. What you do well is play on the line of scrimmage with your hands on people.' He did a much better job with that Wednesday and Thursday as opposed to Monday.

"The great thing about both of them is they are very coachable. Both of them are good listeners. They adjust very well on the run. We have to a lot with our defense and what we are trying to do. I have been very pleased with both players."

Fightin Gators Top Stories