Riles encouraged with position change

Antonio Riles wasn’t always accepting of the move to offensive line. Florida coach Will Muschamp sat him down and suggested it, but it took multiple conversations and prayers before Riles was comfortable to give up his spot on the defensive line.

There were multiple reasons why, too.

Riles had only played defensive line in his entire life. Outside of some time at tight end during his high school days, offense was a foreign concept to him. Then there was the thrill that came with making a tackle. He loved that feeling and, seconds later, hearing his name announced over the stadium speakers.

So it took some time thinking about it. A lot of time, actually. Riles called close friends and relatives, weighing the pros and cons of a potential move to the offensive line.

“I had to do a lot of thinking about it, considering the fact your name will never be called on the intercom again,” Riles said. “That was kind of hard for me. I just wanted to do what’s best for my team. Coach said I have great potential at that position. I’m doing what I have to do for the team.”

When Will Muschamp brought up the idea, Riles isn’t shy to admit he didn’t like it. He loved life on the defensive line. The Florida coach just asked him to consider it, making sure that Riles knew he wasn’t being pressured into the move and didn’t need to be at a position he didn’t want to play.

However, conversations with Muschamp and offensive line coach Mike Summers convinced Riles that he has the talent to play on the offensive line in the Southeastern Conference and even at the NFL.

“I believe in coach,” Antonio Riles said. “I’m behind coach. I believe everything he says. He has been on that level before and seen the talent. Considering that, I went and took the chance.”

The move put Riles working on a daily basis with Summers. Ask any Florida offensive lineman about their new position coach, and they all say one word -- “technique.” He harps on it every day, whether in film study or at practice. Summers studies the smaller points of each of his players, making sure nothing is going wrong.

And if there is a problem, he makes a point to fix it, no matter how small it is. That has been a perfect fit for Riles, who is learning the offensive line position for the first time. The 6-4, 288-pounder has the size already for the position, and he has the frame to even add more weight. But it’s the technique that is getting plenty of attention this fall.

“I’m just trying to tie in on my technique now,” Riles said. “Coach Summers is our coach and he’s a real technical guy. That’s really good for me. I’m glad he’s here and I can ask him or even the seniors for more guidance to be a better guard.”

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