Valdez Showers set to contribute for Gators
Published: Monday, August 25, 2014 at 12:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 25, 2014 at 12:04 p.m.
Moving from defense to offense last season was a big change for Florida redshirt junior Valdez Showers.
“I transitioned OK just because I played offense all my life,” Showers said. “But I definitely wasn’t as quick out of my breaks because I did everything that summer going backwards, so I had to transition back going forwards.”
With a full season playing on the offensive side of the ball under his belt, Showers has high expectations for himself in new Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper’s spread scheme. Despite missing two games with an ankle injury last season, the versatile defensive back turned running back finished the 2013 season with almost as many yards receiving (102) as rushing (103). Showers averaged 8.6 yards per carry and scored his lone touchdown on a nine-yard catch against Arkansas.
This season, Showers is competing for the starting job at slot receiver. But Showers could still get some carries on jet sweeps in Roper’s imaginative offense.
“I love to show my versatility so lining up at either position is no problem for me,” Showers said. “I can do it.”
Showers said he was excited when he learned Roper was hired from Duke, where he led the Blue Devils to a school-record 54 touchdowns last season.
“(The) first thing I did was watch film on it to see how I could fit into the system, how I could benefit the team,” Showers said.
The offense should benefit Showers and other speedy UF skill position players because it will spread the field and allow them to make plays in space.
“The last couple of years our offense was more conservative,” Showers said. “It was more about possessions, getting the first downs. This offense, it’s about making plays, taking shots, getting into the end zone. Every play is really a play to score, not to get a first down. We’re trying to score every play.”
Showers proved he could make big plays in high school, scoring a combined 32 touchdowns (29 rushing, three receiving) as a senior at Madison Heights High in Detroit to earn Gatorade Player of the Year honors in Michigan. After spending his first two years on campus as a defensive back, Showers said he feels more comfortable going into his second season as an offensive player at the college level.
“I put in a lot of work this offseason, working on my routes, catching the ball, being consistent with that, my cuts and everything,” Showers said. “So I definitely feel like I’m good to go.”
Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.