Dorian Munroe: The 12th Starter

One common theme for the Florida defense in the off-season is that the entire two-deep is back from a national championship and a defense that finished ranked No. 8 in the country despite a very good schedule. One almost forgotten element of this defense that was on display is that Dorian Munroe is a starer that is returning, that didn't play a down in 2008.

So a lot of folks don't think the Gator defense can be a lot better in 2009 than it was in 2008? Don't tell that to senior safety Dorian Munroe who is back and in great shape following a season he sat out with a knee injury.

Munroe was scheduled to be the starter in a young secondary in 2008 before blowing out his knee during the summer. The injury meant that Ahmad Black, a transfer from the cornerback position would start in only his second year on campus. As it turns out, Black had an all-conference season st strong safety and will make it hard for Munroe to get his job back. Still, Munroe knows this defense can be special in 2009 because of the talent and depth like they now have at the safety position.

"I feel we can be as good as we want to be," Munroe said after the Gators' annual spring game when prompted about how good the 2009 version of the Gator defense can be. "We just have to make sure we don't become complacent, go out there and go hard every day. We can be as good as we want to be, one of the best defense ever."

Munroe probably had his best spring as a Gator. Not known for the big play in his career either in practice or in the games he has played, Munroe was on the right end of several big plays this spring prompting Head Coach Urban Meyer to list him as a co-starter at safety.

"I have had a few good springs but this might be one of my best," Munroe said. "I came out and worked hard every day I earned the respect of my coaches and teammates again, so I just need to keep it rolling into the summer."

His time off from the game helped him in some respects get ready for his last season in a Gator uniform.

"My knowledge of the game has gotten better having sat out a whole season," he said. "I have picked up on the offense better."

It was a tough year last year watching his teammates as they went through another national championship season. The worst part for Munroe was standing by when he wishes he could assist in some way.

"The hardest thing was not being able to help my team out on the field," he said of his lost season.

The Gators simply got better this spring with the reemergence of Dorian Munroe and the added stability he brings to the defensive secondary. It is another step along the way to making this one of the best defenses the Gators have ever had.

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