Hernandez Will be Counted On

If you had to pick a go to guy right now on the Gator offense it would probably be junior tight end Aaron Hernandez. Blessed with the speed and quickness to beat the best linebackers and the strength and size to dominate safeties, Hernandez is the mismatch the Florida offense is looking to exploit in a game. Hernandez will do what he can and knows he needs to step up.

Gone are NFL receivers Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy and in their place are a group of players that haven't done nearly as much for the Florida Gators. One guy that has been on the field a great deal and has showed is tight end Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez looks to trump his 381 receiving yards and five touchdowns from a year ago.

"You can't really replace a guy like Percy," Hernandez told the media earlier in the week. "It's just that everybody has to step up. I have to step up my role, Deonte, Carl Moore, everybody."

There is little doubt that Hernandez will be a huge weapon for the Gators. The mismatches he draws area defensive coordinator's nightmare and the Gators know they have to get the ball in his hands.

"They have some plays for me to try and get open and I will try to get open and make plays," he said. "I will have an expanded role in (pass plays)."

One area that has always been tough for him has been in pass protection. Hernandez usually lines up flexed away from the line of scrimmage. When he does come back to the line, he finds himself in a bit of a mismatch.

"I struggle, but it's something I work at every day," he said of his blocking. "I try to improve on it. I am a lot lighter than defensive ends, but I go hard and have decent technique, so I can get most of the blocks down."

Look for Hernandez to pop in the backfield in the fullback role as well. However, we probably won't see as much as we have been.

"I do some fullback stuff, because some of the stuff we do," he said. "I will definitely do a lot, but not as much as last year."

Desmond Parks is a true freshman tight end that signed with Florida and enrolled in January. Parks is talented, but Hernandez knows from experience it is tough going in your first year. It is imperative for the Gators that he stays healthy, but that won't keep him from going 100 percent every time.

"I go as hard as I can," he said. "I have been trying to develop Desmond Parks, and go out there and grind. He is a great athlete, but more like a (Oklahoma tight end) Gresham, tall and fast. (It's tough) going from high school to college and the speed of the game. He's not the greatest blocker but when I came in I was horrible too."

Certain to be on many award lists at the end of the year,like many of his teammates, there are team goals that are first on the agenda.

"I am up for the Mackey award and some types of All-American," he said. "I am more focused on getting another national championship and SEC championship."


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