Debose Eager for His Swamp Debut

When wide receiver Andre Debose comes out of the tunnel for Saturday's game, it won't be the first time he's entered The Swamp from the locker room. So, what makes the first game in 2010 so different? This time he will run through that tunnel dressed out and ready to play.

"I'm just going to embrace it as it comes. It's coming soon so I don't think about it too much. I walked through it (the tunnel) with crutches and everything but now that I'm finally playing it's going to be an experience."

Andre Debose's parents will be at the game supporting him in his debut. It may be coming a little later than they had expected but he said it still tastes sweet.

"It's been a very long time since I've been on the football field so I'm very happy about that."

Debose was recently moved out wide to the ‘X' receiver position to create some more offensive versatility. Debose said he's enjoying the switch.

"The ‘X' position is very new to me. It's a lot of one-on-one matchups. I'm not involved with the linebackers and safeties. It's just pretty much me and somebody the same size as me. It's different but I'm enjoying it. We've been very low on numbers and my coach just told me he needed me to play ‘X'"

Debose has finally moved away from the "Percy" position that brought a wealth of expectations and comparisons. Chris Rainey will grab that inside spot and Debose is thrilled to blaze his own trail for the time being.

"I don't think Rainey minds being compared to somebody and quieting it down I guess. I can't be compared to anybody else because I'm outside. I feel like I'm going to capitalize on this move. I don't know if it's permanent or not but I'm going to play football regardless of where I am on the field. It all comes down to just playing football. On the inside you don't get too much press coverage but on the outside it's pretty much one on one so it's just different. But, it's just football to me. You have to make a play."

Debose said he's been doing his best to make plays in practice despite being matched up with some tough competition in the form of CB Janoris Jenkins.

"I feel like I had a good week. I've been going against Janoris so we've been competing going back and forth. Going against the best corner in the SEC all the time makes you get better. I got him a couple of times but he always gets the upper hand because he's older and more mature. I'm still learning."

Debose had a good amount of time on the sidelines last year to analyze all the receiver positions that add dynamite to Florida's offense. His time in the film room has also helped him learn the ins and outs of the ‘X' spot and eased any growing pains he anticipated with the move. Here he breaks down his mindset on a stop and go route:

"On a stop and go route you're pretty much trying to lock on the cornerback's hips. What I mean by that is you're just trying to make him get out of his football position and once you get him out of his position, you continue to run and try to get him to stop. It's kind of hard to explain. I wish I could show you."

He will have a chance to show us very soon.

Of course, one of the young receiver's main concerns is maintaining his health. He said he is doing everything in his power to keep his legs fresh.

"I just get stretched all the time. I try to get stretched three to four times a day so I can just keep it loose. That's all I can do for it. I feel like it's all the way back."

Debose said he feels like he's back in his high school prime health wise with some extra technique to boot. He insists that it's been a journey to get to this point and it hasn't always been as easy as he thought it would be coming out of high school.

"I was surprised. I had the mindset that I was just going to go in and run past everybody and be faster than everybody. Now I know everybody is fast and we are in the SEC so it's going to come down to practicing and learning technique. That was a shock to me."

He's learned a lot but Debose said he can't even wrap his mind around all that's left to comprehend. He's thankful for older players around him when he needs an example.

"Deonte Thompson has been doing his thing. That's who I learn from everyday. He's been here way longer than me and when he's on the field I'm taking mental notes. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can from him because he's a great athlete and he's as fast as ever."

Debose is trying to stay calm when he talks about his debut as a Gator against Miami (OH) but you can't miss a sparkle of excitement dancing in his eyes as soon as he mentions getting out there and getting his hands on the ball.

"I just knew my time was going to come eventually. There were a lot of times that there were certain plays that some people would make and I would be like man, I know I could do that or sometimes I would think I could do it better than him. But, like I said, I knew my time was coming so I was patient."

No. 4 doesn't have to be patient anymore. He doesn't have to hobble into The Swamp on crutches. He will run out of the tunnel and burst onto the field ready to make an impact.
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