Gorman embracing competition within Gators' defense
Published: Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 5:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 5:03 p.m.
Florida senior defensive back Jabari Gorman said he doesn't mind not being named starting free safety yet.
“It's competing, and I think doing that keeps me going every day,” Gorman said. “I don't want to be too settled down. I want to be grinding, keep working, and get those other guys to work better and get better so we can all be a great team, a great secondary.”
Gorman figures to play a prominent role in UF's secondary this season. Whether it's at free safety or nickel back remains to be seen. Gorman is capable of playing both spots, Florida coach Will Muschamp said.
Other than sophomore strong safety Keanu Neal and sophomore All-SEC cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, the rest of Florida's starters in the secondary remain up in the air. Gorman is competing for the starting spot at safety or nickel back with redshirt freshman Nick Washington, sophomore Marcus Maye, true freshman Duke Dawson and redshirt freshman Marcell Harris.
“I do think it's very close and I do think those guys all do some nice things for us,” Muschamp said. “We certainly can function and win with all of them.”
Of the group, though, Gorman brings the most experience. The 5-foot-10, 184-pound Miami native played in all 12 games for the Gators last season and made five starts at safety. For the season, Gorman finished sixth on the team in tackles (48) with one interception and seven pass breakups.
“Hopefully, I can bring leadership,” Gorman replied when asked about his role in the secondary. “Leadership and communication.”
If Gorman wins the starting job at safety, he realizes he'll be slotted for an important job. Though Florida finished fifth in the nation in total defense last season, the Gators were prone to occasional breakdowns in coverage. In 12 games, Florida allowed six touchdown passes of 20 yards or more and four TD passes of 30 yards or more.
“That's very important because everything is on us at the end of the day, at the end of the game and we have to make these plays because everybody is counting on us,” Gorman said. “That's one thing we take very seriously and that's one thing, me and the other guys, we're trying to erase that right now.”