Burton's versatility paying dividends for Gators
Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 7:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 7:57 p.m.
Trey Burton arrived in Gainesville as a quarterback back in January.
Since then, he's evolved into, well, a football player — and a potential playmaker, a guy willing to play any and all positions to get on the field and help Florida win football games.
He's a quarterback. He's a Wildcat quarterback. He's a short-yardage runner. He's lining up as a slot receiver. He's a tight end.
He's whatever the coaches ask him to be.
"He's the total ballplayer," UF offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said Tuesday. "He lines up. He's taking snaps, direct runs, playing that hip/fullback/flexed-out guy (that Aaron Hernandez played last season). He's powerful, he's smart, he's a really good athlete. He's got great hands. That's been really fun to watch over the last five or six days.
"He's just like, 'Hey, I want to do whatever it takes to help this team and get on that football field.' He does everything. He's a fun guy to be around."
Burton entered preseason camp as the No. 2 quarterback. But his role has expanded significantly over the past week or so. He may or may not still be the No. 2 quarterback (he's battling fellow true freshman Tyler Murphy), but his chances of contributing somewhere on offense this season seem to improve with each practice.
"Trey Burton has had a great week," Addazio said. "He makes plays in a lot of different positions. It's really fun to watch him develop right now. That guy is playing all over the field making plays. He's playing it all. He's aplaymaker. So, that's really cool.
"He's really done a great job. He's very versatile. Hernandez was very versatile. Trey is maybe slightly different. He can do a lot of things. It's pretty amazing, really."
Addazio said he still doesn't know who the No. 2 quarterback is between Burton and Murphy. Tight end Jordan Reed, a former quarterback, also remains an option,Addazio said.
After missing most of training camp due to a wrist procedure, redshirt freshman tight end Desmond Parks returned to practice, tight ends coach Brian White said.
Parks will go five days before wearing full pads as part of his acclimation process, but participated some.
"He looks good in shorts," White said.
In other injury news, Addazio said he didn't know the seriousness or type of knee injury sophomore offensive tackle Xavier Nixon suffered. He also said it was "too early to tell" ifredshirt sophomore tackle Matt Patchan (wrist) will play in Florida's opener. Patchan and Nixon are battling at left tackle, but Addazio said he's prepared if neither play.
"There are plenty of combinations," he said.
Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni said senior wide receiver Justin Williams (shoulder) is still in a sling and missed practice Tuesday, but the injury isn't considered serious and he's expected back in "a couple of days."
Christian moves around
With redshirt junior fullback Steve Wilks out for a few weeks (back surgery), White said redshirt sophomore T.J. Pridemore and freshman tight end Gerald Christian are getting reps at fullback.
White said Christian is serving as a tight end/H-back and has really improved since spring, especially with his blocking.
"He's getting better, but crosstraining a young athlete is never easy," White said.
Senior center Mike Pouncey on the freshmen coming in overconfident: "Everybody needs to come in with that type of attitude, but at the end of the day the freshmen need to shut their mouths and come play. They haven't done nothing on Saturday and most of the fans don't even know who they are. Until they prove themselves, they need to sit back and let the older guys play.
"That whole recruiting class is cocky."