SPRING: A few minutes with Cornelius Ingram

Cornelius Ingram is probably the most intriguing player to watch this spring. C.I. struggled a bit during the first few weeks of practice, and it was very apparent that he was feeling a bit uncomfortable at his new position of TE/H-back. Monday's practice appeared to be a much needed morale booster for the new receiving threat on Florida's roster. On a day when the wide-outs dropped everything that hit their hands, C.I. was clearly the standout of the passing game.

JR: You appear to be more relaxed out there; a lot more comfortable than a few weeks ago. Tell me how you're progressing.

CI: Oh yeah, I'm feeling very comfortable out there. I've settled down a lot, and I'm getting comfortable at the new position. I knew it would take time, and that's why the coaches made sure I didn't get frustrated. Like when I first moved during bowl week, they made sure I stayed focused on the things that I needed to do to get better at the position. It's coming along. I'm able to go full speed without thinking and make a couple of plays.

JR: How is the blocking coming along?

CI: Honestly, they keep me out as much as possible so I won't have to do any blocking, except on the goal line when we run a two tight end set. But other than that, I'm pretty much in the slot. So if anything, I'll have to block a Sam linebacker who's pretty much my size, so I'm able to do that.

JR: You mentioned the two tight end set around the goal line. Do you see them implementing a lot of that into the offense now that you'll be a valuable receiving threat as well as Tate?

CI: I'm hoping we do. It's hard to say at this time because it's still early spring. But hopefully, I think if I keep making progress at the position, I'm pretty sure Coach Meyer will do that.

JR: How was the adjustment to the playbook for you? I know you obviously had to know the routes for the quarterback position, but how different has it been for you to learn them as a receiver?

CI: You know a lot of people tend to think it'll be easy coming from quarterback and playing receiver or tight end. But it's a whole lot different when you're out there running the routes. It's something that I have to spend a lot of time watching film...see my steps, make sure I'm stamping my foot and all that kind of stuff. The receivers coach, Coach Gonzales, I think is doing a great job with me in doing that because I still got a lot to learn, and like I said, it's still early. I'm happy right now. I know I'm getting pretty comfortable at the position. Hopefully in the fall I'll be able to make some things happen.

JR: Do you feel like this is the best position on the field for you?

CI: Actually, yeah. I do. I think in due time I'll be able to get better, and I'm definitely happy about it.

When Cornelius gets up to par at the new position, he'll add a valuable arsenal of plays to the offense and will make defensive scheming a difficult task. The possibilities are truly endless with a player of his skill and versatility.

Imagine this: It's 1st and goal from the six. You're an opposing defender, and you're walking up to the line and looking at Cornelius Ingram (6-4, 235 pounds) and Tate Casey (6-6, 242 pounds) lined up in a two-tight end set. You know they're both viable receiving threats. Leak is under center with Billy Latsko at FB and DeShawn Wynn behind him. Dallas Baker's lined up outside just to keep the defense guessing.

Do you: A) take your best guess at stuffing the run or defending the pass, B) bring the blitz to hopefully cut off the run before it develops or force the quarterback into a bad throw, C) stack the box and man up, or D) turn and run off the field?

Either way, the defense is in a vulnerable position because there are simply too many options available. A player like C.I. opens up the playbook and will provide the Gators with a versatile weapon that could line up in the slot, run routes from the TE position, take hand-offs at H-back, throw passes, or all of the above....at the same time. Ingram is slowly becoming more ingrained in this offense, and he'll be exciting to watch this fall.

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