It's Gorman's time at safety
Published: Friday, April 5, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 5, 2013 at 5:41 p.m.
No player in Florida's secondary was more impressive in last year's Orange & Blue Debut than Jabari Gorman.
Orange & Blue Debut
Saturday, 1 p.m.
TV: Sun Sports
Radio: AM-850/900 (radio coverage begins at 11 a.m.)
He led all UF defenders with 12 tackles and was one of only two defensive backs to break up a pass.
Gorman's goal going into the game was to prove he could perform at a high level.
“That performance was pretty much me letting everybody else know that I could play,” he said. “Understanding that Matt Elam was a potential draft pick, I wanted to show everybody that even though we might lose him, we still have other guys as great as he can be.”
But due to Elam and senior starting safety Josh Evans, Gorman was not able to carry his momentum from the spring game onto the field in the fall.
He played sparingly in 12 games as a reserve and finished the season with just two tackles, although he did have his first career interception against South Carolina.
With Elam and Evans now gone, Gorman is looking to seize the moment in his junior year.
“I feel like it's an opportunity,” he said. “When I found out that I was going to get the starting position (on the spring depth chart), it was just motivation to succeed in my position and become more than just a guy that's helping out.
“I just wanted to get better and not settle, and do things like Ahmad Black and Major Wright and Matt Elam and Josh Evans. I wanted to be like those guys. I wanted to be a leader and make as many plays as they did.”
Gorman said the biggest piece of advice he received from Elam was to please UF coach Will Muschamp by knowing what he wants out of his safeties. If Gorman can make the plays of his predecessors, he'll have Muschamp's approval.
“The production speaks for itself,” Muschamp said. “Playing (time) decisions are out of my hands. It's in the players' hands. All we really base everything off is production, whether it's positive or negative. Generally, those guys who make a bunch of plays are guys I kind of like.”
Gorman describes Muschamp as “scheme guy” who is very detailed with his defense. He called learning from him a great experience.
“Before I got here, I did not know the game of football. Now that I know the game of football, I can anticipate much faster. It helps me make more plays,” Gorman said. “I'd say he's been harder (on the safeties) just because of the fact that he knows the potential and wants everybody to do everything that he wants.
“It's kind of hard sometimes because if you don't do what he wants you to do, you get yelled at. You've got to take what he says the right way and not the wrong way because it's never personal.”
Muschamp said he wanted to see the 5-foot-10, 186-pounder improve his communication in the secondary, tackling technique and instincts in coverage. Gorman's third year in the system and increased repetitions in practice has helped him progress.
“There's no question, he has had a bunch of at-bats,” Muschamp said. “He has had turns and reps to be able to do those things, and I've got a lot of confidence in Jabari.”
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