Gator Safety Ready to Claim Job

If you talk with most Gator fans about the safety position the first names out of their mouth are likely to be either Will Hill or Dee Finley. The stars of this year's recruiting class are viewed by many as the future of the safety positions at Florida.

But not by everyone.

Major Wright and Dorian Munroe are the starting safeties right now and both intend to be out there for the first play against Hawaii come August. Wright started seven times as a freshman last year, and is the more secure of the two in terms of a starting job. But Munroe is confident he can make a difference, too. The fourth year junior from Miami Coral Reef High School started twice last season when the Gator defense opened up in the nickel package against Troy and LSU. He finished the season with 28 tackles and broke up five passes.

Munroe was highly regarded coming out of high school as the 11th best corner according to Those ball skills earned him the nickel job last year but now he wants more.

I spoke with Munroe after a recent practice to get his thoughts on his bid for a starting job, the Gators' plan to make the safety positions interchangeable and the transition to his new position coach, Chuck Heater.

LV: Dorian tell me about the progress of the secondary this season, what do you see out there?

DM: I just see a group of young, energetic guys who are trying to get better every day. We're paying attention in meeting rooms and have a lot of leadership.

LV: What about the chemistry between you and Major? It's so important that safeties are always on the same page.

DM: It's really important because the coaches are looking for us to be the leaders of the secondary. If we have a down day, everyone's going to have a down day so me and Major are energetic every day and leading by example.

LV: You're a veteran guy, getting ready for your fourth season in Gainesville, but you've really never had the opportunity to win one of those safeties jobs. Are you excited about the possibility?

DM: I'm really excited. This is the reason I came to the University of Florida. I've played sparingly in the past but as soon as the Michigan game was over I knew it was my time. I've been doing everything in my power to become the best player I can be.

LV: Coach Meyer talked about making the safety positions more interchangeable. How does that work for you and what is the benefit for the defense?

DM: It's going really well because it helps us disguise coverages. Before they weren't really interchangeable because some guys did one thing better or another. But me and Major are pretty much the same player. We both like to hit, we both can cover, so I'm looking forward to it.

LV: Jacques Rickerson seems to be taking over your old position as the nickel guy. How much time are you able to spend with him to help him learn the position?

DM: We spend a lot of time together. I think he pretty much has it down pat, but if he ever has a question about it I'm always there to help him any way I can.

LV: Last year you were around Coach Heater, but now he's your position coach and Coach Bedford is back there as well. How has that gone for you?

DM: The coaching situation has been really positive. The coaches have pretty much erased the memories of last year and they have us going forward. Coach Bedford has come over and given us some new techniques. I've heard the receivers complaining a lot about how we're playing them so it must be good.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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