A lot of familiar faces remain on this Florida Gators football roster, however, this spring several players are rotating through different positions on both offense and defense.
The idea of searching for players with the ability of playing multiple positions is nothing new for Florida head coach Dan Mullen, as he expects his guys to learn new positions and become flexible in different schemes.
"I don't like having positions on anybody. The more flexibility you have, the harder you are to match up on. So, the guys that can play running back, receiver or tight end and we can move you to all positions,” Mullen said.
“Even with receivers, you can only play one receiver but if I can move you around, you create mismatch problems. So, the more flexibility you have everywhere on the field, the more mismatches you create."
In particular on offense, sophomore tight end Kyle Pitts was participating in drills with the wide receivers on the first day of spring practice. At 6-foot-6 and 246-pounds Pitts is a guy to keep your eye on with his development transitioning to a more polished receiver.
If lined up at tight end, Pitts is a nightmare matchup for linebackers, as he’s just as big and much quicker. And if he’s positioned out wide, Pitts is simply too big and strong for an opposing safety or nickel. With his massive frame and strong hands, the sophomore could develop into Feleipe Franks’ safety net on third down and redzone passing.
On defense, Florida’s coaching staff is searching for players that will also provide them flexibility on that side of the ball. Redshirt freshman David Reese is still listed as a defensive back but was receiving a ton of snaps at the Buck and linebacker positions on day one of spring practice. At 6-foot, 221-pounds, Reese is one of the more filled out guys physically speaking and can provide a multitude of different scheme looks when he’s in the game.
Trey Dean III saw a plethora of meaningful snaps a season ago, starting nine of the final 10 games at cornerback. He’s now transitioning to the star position with Marco Wilson back from his ACL injury. He’s got the length and size to be a premiere lock down nickel player.
Working out at the star position is sophomore John Huggins. Huggins originally was recruited to the safety position, but due to his skill set and frame, Grantham and his staff are giving him snaps at the nickel.
On the first day of spring practice, Mullen noted Florida unveiled the first install of the offense and defense. As spring ball progresses, Florida will be implementing different installs to get the players familiar with the sets in the playbook.
Mullen believes the veterans on this team have an opportunity to teach the younger guys as they digest the playbook at different positions.
"Well I think our guys they help out; I mean you got guys that are comfortable, coach them up. To be able to spend some time, hopefully see guys that have spent a bunch of time in the offseason, a little extra film work, a little extra study so there's confidence, and they spend a little bit of extra time, even in spring.”
“If you wanna really learn, you've gotta put that in a little extra,” Mullen said after Tuesday’s practice.
There are a lot of familiar faces on this team, but fans may be seeing them used in more of a variety on the field as Mullen searches for flexibility within his roster.