Daily Football Fix: Toney playing ‘Percy’ role for Gators

    Kadarius Toney, Kendall Randolph
    Florida quarterback Kadarius Toney, center, runs past Kentucky cornerback Kendall Randolph, right, to score a touchdown during the first half of a game in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/David Stephenson)

    At times last season, Kadarius Toney looked like, well, a quarterback playing receiver. Let’s just say he didn’t always look natural lining up in the slot and running pass patterns.

    He did, of course, look very natural once the ball was in his hands, making defenders whiff with his lightning-quick, ankle-breaking moves.

    The good news for Toney and the Gators is now that he has had time and lots of coaching at slot receiver, he’s starting to look and feel more natural at the position. He looked like a wide receiver this spring, not a quarterback trying to play wide receiver.

    He’s advanced to the point that coach Dan Mullen said Toney is going to play the Percy Harvin role in the offense this fall.

    “It’s kind of an honor, just to know what Percy did in the past, and implementing that into today’s game,” Toney said. “I think I fit (the offense) with a lot of the quick stuff. The way they interpret me is going to be tremendous, I think.”

    Even in a somewhat limited role last season, Toney showed how electric he can be with the ball in his hands. Some of the moves he put on defenders were outrageous. Jim McElwain referred to him as the human joystick.

    Toney said he doesn’t really plan those moves, they just happen.

    “Natural,” he said. “I thank God, really.”

    In the Tennessee game early in the season, Toney made several defenders look ridiculous just trying to get a hand on him after catching short passes in the flat. But he said his favorite play of the season came the following week, at Kentucky, when he made about half the UK defense miss on a 36-yard touchdown run.

    “The most memorable play for me was Kentucky, my touchdown run,” he said.

    Now that he’s settled in at slot receiver and has some valuable experience to build on, the expectation is for Toney to significantly increase his production.

    “I’ve always worked hard, so it’s natural to get better,” he said. “I expect a lot more because I’ve got the experience that I needed.”

    Toney seems happy in his new role, but that doesn’t mean you can take the quarterback out of him. Even though he did not have a chance to do it in the spring, Toney is hoping he’ll get some plays at quarterback in the wildcat formation this season.

    “Hopefully it happens, because I want to show them what I can do,” he said.



      • I don’t remember him playing QB, because Tebow was our Wildcat guy. But he did line up in the backfield as a running back and make a lot of big plays from that position in the traditional spread option formations– in fact, there were years he was by far our most successful running back out of the spread option while the other guys never seemed to really understand how to be effective in that system.

    1. I really like KT – this guy is an explosive athlete who only needs the opportunities to show what he can do and contribute the Gator football team. I hope he smokes Percy Harvin’s records at UF – PH was phenomenal (no pun intended), and has contributed significantly in the NFL. I have no doubt that KT will do the same – just take it one day at a time, grow day by day with the excellent coaching Dan Mullen has installed.

    2. I continue to believe he should be at qb. I realize the path coach mac put toney on was the same path as Cris Collinsworth, and I know we need him at receiver too, but no one touches a ball more than a qb.
      Anyway, best of luck, just a great player and a joy to watch. hopefully we don’t kill him like it looked like we were trying to do last year.

    3. Toney is a natural baller. He makes things happen and gives defenses alot to think about. In my opinion he may be equal in talent to Percy Harvin but he is a better team player. He has somethings Percy did not have: modesty, humility and respect for his team and coaches. I just hope he can stay healthy. I am sure Coach Mullen will find many ways to get the ball in his hands.

      • I think KT is more humble and a better team player, and maybe he’ll prove to have PH’s quickness at some point, but it’s not there yet. PH could go 0-60 in about 1.2 seconds, it looks like KT tops out at about 40 and it takes him 2.4 seconds to get there. That said, I’m really wishing all the best for him and hope he has a HUGE year ahead of him. Keep working at it KT!

    4. Mullen has thrown out enough hints for us all to know that KT is gonna have the ball in his hands on most possessions. I’m really excited to see how this offense is going to look – we have talent there that MacNuss just didn’t get anywhere in developing. So now with pretty much the same guys, we’re going to see the effect of real coaching on a team that has been starving for it.

      • Totally agree. It’s clear these players are not only coachable, but hungry, and now that they have real coaches they will really be free to shine. KT scares defenses, and he will open things up for a lot of other players just like Harvin did. It was actually sad to see how limited he was by Captain Yellow Teeth and his pathetic offensive schemes.