How will Gators use Trey Burton?


Published: Friday, August 12, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 13, 2011 at 12:29 a.m.

I’m curious. Are you curious?

I’m not can’t-sleep-at-night curious, but I wonder. I wonder how they’ll use him, how he’ll make an impact on this team, what play or plays will wow us.

Because I know it’s coming.

I just don’t know how or when.

Trey Burton played a lot of positions last year. This year he’ll play a lot of roles from one position — F-back.

The “F” is short for full or Florida or Fabulous, whatever makes you happy.

So what does it mean?

It means they will find ways to make one of Florida’s best offensive weapons from a year ago even more effective this year.

At least that’s the plan.

“I scored a lot of touchdowns from short yardage in high school,” Burton said. “I won’t be doing too much blocking. But it should be exciting.”

A year ago, Burton had the biggest impact of any freshman on the Florida team. It was a bit of a surprise. A lot of recruiting experts I talked to thought he was something of a reach as a quarterback because of his throwing style.

And Florida wasn’t sure what it had in Burton.

Then came Kentucky.

He scored six touchdowns. Florida had found its 2006 version of a quarterback, part Chris Leak and part Tim Tebow. Throw it with John Brantley and run it with Burton.

But the following week, Alabama stuffed Burton on the goal line and picked him off on the jump pass Tebow had made famous. It was the beginning of a downward spiral for the Gator team.

The freshman shook off the adversity and when Florida went to its three-headed quarterback, Burton was not only spending some time taking snaps but often barking out the signals for Jordan Reed. As we know, that experiment ended badly.

Still, Burton finished the year with a team-best 12 touchdowns, 11 of them rushing. He ran for 349 yards and caught passes for another 210. He completed four of his six passes.

And despite his efforts, Florida had its worst year under Urban Meyer.

In walked a new coach and a new coordinator and a new offense.

The unconventional player meets the conventional offense.

“They’re telling me they will line me up at a bunch of different positions and they are going to try to get me the ball as much as possible,” Burton said.

But the former quarterback’s days of throwing the ball are over, right?

“Who says I won’t?” he said.

Not me because like so many things about this team, I have no idea what we’ll see Sept. 3 and beyond. But in the case of Burton, I’m very curious.

We saw Will Muschamp at Media Day talk about the 230-pound sophomore with great enthusiasm. Of course, Muschamp talks about breakfast with great enthusiasm.

“I think he fits very well here with what we want to do,” Muschamp said. “His position is going to be a fullback, it’s going to be a slot receiver, it’s going to be a match-up on the outside linebacker, and it’s going to be a guy to motion and create leverage in the rush and pass game.

“He’s going to do so many things for us. He’s a guy that is going to be catching the football, he’s going to be blocking, he’s going to be carrying it. He was a short-yardage situation guy in the spring that was probably our best short yardage back. It is kind of limitless what he’s going to be doing in our offense.”

Kind of fires you up, eh?

It fires Burton up.

“I just want to get on the field,” he said.

In the Season of the Great Unknown, Florida has few known commodities. We know Burton can play. We just don’t know where he’s going to come from. Neither do the defenses he’ll face.

“Trey understands the game. It comes to him very easy,” Muschamp said. “We just have to get him the ball.”

Can’t wait?

Me neither.

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