Heater Offers Update on Secondary

Florida defensive backs coach Chuck Heater is now focusing on the Gator safeties but there's no question the veteran Gator assistant has his eyes on the entire secondary. Heater and new defensive coordinator Terryl Austin are tutoring the guys in the Florida secondary, hoping to develop some depth during spring practice.

Only one job seems up for grabs and that would be the corner spot opposite Janoris Jenkins. There are several candidates there including veterans Moses Jenkins, Adrian Bushell and oft-injured Jeremy Brown. Those guys have been joined in the competition by true freshman Josh Shaw and Jaylen Watkins.

At safety Florida has established starters in Ahmad Black and Will Hill but no experience behind those two. True freshmen Matt Elam and Jordan Haden would likely be the second team safeties if the season opened today.

Heater offered up some thoughts in a number of areas where the defensive backs are concerned.


On what the freshmen who enrolled early are showing him:

"Matt Elam has been pretty consistent. The young corners have flashed (their abilities) on different types of days. Today one guy didn't do so well and the other guy did a good job. So it's a normal type of thing. We're glad they're here and they need to help us. We need contributions from all of them."

On Jaylen Watkins' progress:

"He's had a nice spring. Today was his best day, but he's had some good days. It gets a little hard and he gets a little sore and he seems to kind of give in to it, but they're learning and it will pay tremendous dividends for them when they hit August and it gets really hard."

On the corner competition:

"Moses Jenkins is a veteran player and he's done some good things. Jeremy Brown, we're hoping he's going to be able to continue to play because he's very talented. There (are) guys to draw from and that's really big. You have to have players there to train and teach so we're making progress for sure."

Are there any restrictions on Brown due to his back problems?

"No, he's been really good. You'd never know he had a problem which is great and that's the way you like it. It was a significant issue for him for a couple of years so we just keep hoping it's not going to be an issue and he keeps playing the way he's playing because he's doing a good job."

On Matt Elam earning playing time:

"Matt Elam is going to help us in some role. He'll play in a safety spot or a nickel or something. He's one of those guys who learns very fast. He's a really smart kid and he's serious about his business, so that's been huge for him. Matt Elam's a guy who is in position to help us."

On Ahmad Black serving as a mentor to Elam:

"Ahmad's been really helpful for sure and that's been great. With your veteran players that's always a great an additional teacher. Ahmad is a very smart guy which is why he plays as well as he plays so he's great to tutor that young guy along. He's been great with him."

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