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August 29, 2011
Burton is still a jack-of-all-trades
Trey Burton has the ability to line up anywhere from quarterback, to full back, to tight end, to Wildcat quarterback. The question is, where does he fit in best to utilize those skills in a pro-style offensive attack?Because of his unique skill set
The answer to that guessing game will finally be revealed on Saturday when the Gators begin their 2011 campaign.
In 2010, Burton saw time at quarterback, but that job belongs to John Brantley. He occasionally lined up at tight end. This year, the depth chart lists Jordan Reed as the starter.
The Gators' new coaching staff and switch from the spread option to a pro-style offense likely concerned Burton, who shined running out of the shotgun.
"My worst fear is sitting on the bench," the sophomore from Venice, Fla. said on Monday. "I tell Coach (Muschamp) I'll do anything he wants me to do."
In his fourth game at UF, Burton established that exciting things tend to happen with the ball in his hands. Five rushing touchdowns, and one scoring catch, in Florida's 48-10 rout of Kentucky made him a trending topic on Twitter, an overnight college football star and some fans' preference at quarterback.
Burton in the shotgun appears to be part of the Gators' past. His involvement in the offense, however, is still very much in the present.
Muschamp apparently sees Burton's best fit on the team as a jack-of-all-trades. On Monday the first-year head coach said he and his staff will use Burton "a bunch."
"You better track him," said Muschamp, alluding to Burton lining up at multiple positions. "He's a very valuable member of our team."
Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis appears to be on the same page.
"Coach Weis knows the weapons that we have," Burton said. "He's going to try to give everybody the ball. I think it's going to be fun seeing everybody doing different things. He knows how to maximize everybody's talents."
Burton led the team with 11 rushing touchdowns in 2010. If he is going to repeat that feat, he is going to need to master a technique that is foreign to him.
"The hardest thing I had to work on this camp was receiving hand-offs," Burton said.
As a multipurpose "f-back," Burton may get hand-offs in short yardage situations or be asked to go out for a pass. He is also prepared to do more run blocking.
"I did some run blocking last year," Burton said. "I'm still trying to become comfortable with it. It's a whole new, different thing - especially at this level."
Burton is comfortable wearing many hats. If he overcomes the hurdles of hand-offs and run blocking, the Florida offense gains an additional scoring threat.