‘B' position up for grabs

Spring practice ended with most positions decided on the offensive depth chart. The ‘B' position isn't one of those. Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper installed his offense this spring and was happy with the progression, but the lack of a player emerging at the ‘B' position frustrated the Florida coaches by the time spring ended.

The ‘B' position provides a hybrid look from Kurt Roper's spread offense. It can serve the same roles as a traditional fullback, tight end or even a receiver. Because of that, all three of those positions have players working at the ‘B' position.

The Florida offense has been searching for someone to fill the tight end role since Jordan Reed went to the NFL. This new position will ease the burden of not having a true tight end that can make an impact.

Tight ends Clay Burton, DeAndre Goolsby and Tevin Westbrook joined fullbacks Gideon Ajagbe and Hunter Joyer at the position in spring practice. Goolsby likely won't fill the position this fall in his first season on a college campus, but his athleticism makes him an option in the future.

Burton and Westbrook have been used mostly as blockers and neither provides a dynamic pass catching threat. The wildcard from the tight ends is Jake McGee, a Virginia transfer that will play his final year of eligibility at Florida. He led the Cavaliers in receiving yards last season and will likely start for the Gators.

However, McGee didn't get to practice with the Gators during the spring and will be learning Roper's offense for the first time when Florida opens fall camp. He'll be behind the returning tight ends, but he is the most talented of the group.

The fullbacks had to adjust in the spring. Gideon Ajagbe and Hunter Joyer became more involved in the passing game. Ajagbe showed the ability to do it last season, but Joyer showcased soft hands in the spring and the ability to catch the ball down the field. It's a new role for Joyer, but he was more than capable of handling it in the spring and will likely play a big role of it during the spring.

"I feel pretty comfortable with it," Joyer said in the spring. "I enjoy it. Any time you get a chance to have the ball in your hands it's a good thing, so I'm really enjoying it so far."

The coaches discussed potentially using a receiver like Latroy Pittman or Valdez Showers at the ‘B' position, but it makes the Florida offense predictable, indicating to the defense that a pass play is coming.

The interesting name at the ‘B' position is Matt Jones. The running back was held out of spring as he continues to rehab his knee, but he is expected to be cleared for fall camp. When he does, Will Muschamp has already indicated that Jones will learn the ‘B' position.

His ability to catch the football is one of his strengths, making even more sense to use him at the ‘B' position to get him the football through the air. However, Muschamp did make it clear that he will still be getting carries in the fall.

"He will learn the B because we think one of our best personnel groupings will be three wides and two backs," Muschamp said. "That'll be something we told him before spring that we felt like that fit well. Matt's got great hands. He's a guy that can do some of those things. Matt is extremely bright so he will be able to play both positions, but one of our best personnel groupings is three wides and two backs.

"Because of our backfield, we feel like we've got some talented guys, so lets get both of those guys in at the same time and try and create multiple formations and motions from there. That's certainly something we'll look at in the fall."

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