Florida traveled to Miami in the second game of the season in 2013 and ended up losing to the Hurricanes 21-16. The Florida offense actually had a good day but couldn’t put up a lot of points. The same could be said about the defense, but they gave up two big plays on the day and that was enough for the difference in the game.
One of the two big plays was a long touchdown pass where Marcus Maye was caught peeking at the quarterback who made him pay with a play action long touchdown pass. Maye says he has learned from the play.
“That was last year, I don’t harp on that anymore,” he said. “It was a learning lesson. Every time that I step out on the field, I make sure that my eyes are on the right spot.
“Stuff can definitely happen like that. That’s why you want to be on top of your assignments. I’ve just been working on everything like that. I try not to go back to that.”
It took several games for Maye to really get back on the field, and he never really got back into the swing of things last year. But, spring came and he started most of the spring at safety. Now he is working at NICKEL, and a starter, but he is battling some inconsistencies at the position according to head coach Will Muschamp.
“You try not to have those days and stuff like that,” Maye said. “It’s just going out every day and trying to work on it. Some things don’t go right, you watch film and work on it the next day, try to cut those days out. As we get closer to the season you try to be more (consistent) and trying to have those days.”
The staff likes Maye at the NICKEL position. His background as a basketball player supports his athletic ability to cover receivers in the slot. He says he likes the change a lot.
“I feel good about it,” he said. “It’s great; they told me that I was probably going to make the change in the summer. I feel like (there are) a lot of plays…they are around the ball a lot, covering and stuff. I feel good about it. I’m just learning, learned it pretty well. It’s going good.
“I feel like I can be around the ball, in the box and stuff like that. I also can cover out wide. I feel like it’s a great spot for me. It requires a lot of things but I’m being the player that I can be so I like that responsibility.”
The position is really a starting position at Florida who relied 80% of the time running NICKEL defense in 2013. With spread offenses the norm, his adjustment to the position has been all about learning to play man-to-man defense.
“A lot of the offenses go five wide, four wide all the time. We cover a lot. I’m pretty excited about all that, being at that position.
“Just the technique wise and covering wise, (there’s) a lot of man-to-man and stuff like that. Also in the box, you gotta be able to tackle and be around the ball a lot. I like it. It’s just another position on the field that I gotta learn. Being able to play safety and nickel is a good thing.”
He’s had his bumps and bruises early in his career and this team is coming off of a tumultuous season. But, Maye is just ready to get on with it and make amends.
“I feel like this season is going to be a big for me and for everybody,” Maye said. “I’m just taking everything head on.”