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Gators Notebook: Trey Dean getting a look at safety

Robbie Andreu
Gator Sports
Florida defensive back Trey Dean III is having a strong preseason camp. [The Associated Press]

Like cornerback Marco Wilson puts it, junior Trey Dean III has “been all over the place” in the UF secondary.

 Cornerback to nickel. Then nickel back to cornerback. Now, maybe, nickel/cornerback to safety.

 In his latest potential move, Dean is getting reps at safety in preseason camp.

 “With his athleticism and his size, that’d be really good for him,” Wilson said. “He’s been all over the place, trying to find a position, and what I’ve seen in practice so far, I like what I see out of Trey Dean. 

 “Just got to make sure that he’s staying smart and learning the plays, because switching a position like that, it’s hard to keep learning the playbook at different positions. So just make sure he’s knowing what he’s doing back there. But from what I’ve seen, he’s looking great back there, and I’m excited to see what that turns out in the season.”

 Dean could be a natural fit at safety, but he could end up playing anywhere in the secondary, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said.

 “Trey is a football player,” Grantham said. “Trey has played corner/nickel for us here and we’ve won 21 games. You always evaluate guys and move them in and out.

 “When you look at the spread and you look at the things you ask safeties to do, sometimes guys that are playing corner can transition in there because you’ve got to be able to cover down the field, you’ve got to be able to have a little length to you. And you’re looking for guys who can move in space. Trey is a versatile player for us. We’re going to move him around a little bit this year.” 

More Gators:Defensive back Wilson coming into season with a chip on his shoulder

Youth movement up front

 Behind the veteran starters on the defense line, there are a host of young players, including true freshman and five-star recruit Gervon Dexter, coming along in development and competing to try and get into the playing rotation this fall.

 “Obviously, Gervon Dexter is a guy that has a lot of talent and we’re working to develop him,” Grantham said. “Princely (Umanmielen) is a guy that flashes, and then really both Jalens (Jaelin Humphries, Lee) inside. I ‘ve been pleased with their work ethic and their demeanor.

 “I like where we are now from a youth standpoint, from a let’s-develop-these-guys standpoint. We just have to develop those guys because the biggest thing up front is being consistent with your player to not create seams. 

 “The hardest thing for D-linemen to do is understand how to use their hands because playing the run game with your hands is totally different than the pass game. Coach (David) Turner is doing a good job and continuing to develop those guys.”

On the tube

 The Gators learned Tuesday that they’ll be starting their season in the morning, with an 11 a.m. (CT) kickoff in Oxford against the Ole Miss Rebels on Sept. 26.

 The following week, the home opener against South Carolina in The Swamp will have a noon kickoff. Both of the first two games are being televised on ESPN.

 Two of UF’s biggest games of the season have landed on CBS with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff — LSU in The Swamp on Oct. 17 and Georgia in Jacksonville on Nov. 7.

Podcast:Dooley Noted discusses updated SEC schedule

Gators COVID free

The Gators have not had a player test positive for COVID-19 since early July.

 In the latest update released by UF on Tuesday, the Gators had 298 tests in August, with zero positives. Since May 26, the football team has had 21 positive tests.

 For all UF sports combined, there was only one positive result in August, and there have been 35 since May 26.