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Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin and eight Gators football players met with reporters Thursday afternoon to discuss a host of topics. Here were some of the best sound bites from their conversations with the media.
Despite some uncertainty in the secondary, Durkin is confident in his young defensive backs. "We have our packages where we're playing four, five and six DBs at a time, so we kind of already have guys pegged in where we're going to go and start from. It's really not unlike last year we rotated a corner every series. And the year before we did the same. It's always the way it'll be done. The difference this year being it's not household names yet to everyone. It's younger guys. We feel really good. They're talented. We're going to roll them just like we always do. Yeah if a guy is having a good day or has the hot hand yeah then we may go with him for a couple series. But that's all stuff we talk about every series throughout the game. That's our conversation of who we're going to go through next."
Nick Washington has been playing strictly at safety this fall camp and hasn't seen reps at nickel. "I like playing safety more, you get to hit people. Yeah, I like to hit people a little bit. ... I liked to hit people out of high school. I don't have a problem playing either or, but at corner you don't get as much action, physically, as you do at safety."
With Marcus Maye (strained hamstring) out this week, Brian Poole, Jabari Gorman and even Vernon Hargreaves III have seen time at the nickel, according to Durkin. "The first three guys I mentioned, even including Vernon, they've all played in there before. They know the spot, as well as playing safety and wherever else they are."
Marcell Harris picked out who he's seen step up as leaders on defense this off-season. "Antonio Morrison, he's one of our key leaders on the defense and at the linebacker position. Michael Taylor, Vernon [Hargreaves] is stepping up, Jabari Gorman and some guys on the defensive line like Leon Orr and D6, [Dante] Fowler."
Durkin had some praise for Duke Dawson, as well. "Duke is cross-training learning both corner and safety for us. Duke's doing a great job, for a freshman to do that. Now he was here for the spring to do that, but Duke has a great demeanor about him, great practice tempo, he wants to learn. He's learning and doing a great job. He'll play."
Daniel McMillian touched on how Morrison has become more of a vocal leader on and off the field. "Everyone has a different way of being a leader. His way, it's a little rough, but it's leadership, though. That's just his personality. That's just him."
Valdez Showers on the biggest difference he's seen from Jeff Driskel this off-season. "Definitely more comfortable. I mean I feel like this offense fits him more. His skillset, being able to run and being able to throw, he's definitely made some strides in getting more of a feel for the game and not being as robotic in going through his reads."
Jabari Gorman hasn't noticed any interceptions from Jeff Driskel so far in fall camp, just some pass deflections. "Yeah, he's making better decisions with the ball and more smart with it. He's seeing guys who are already open and making good decisions. ... He's challenging receivers and DBs. That's something I like to see and something we could see in the games as well."
Chris Thompson, a Gainesville High School grad who attended plenty of UF games in The Swamp throughout his childhood and teenage years, revealed his favorite Gator to watch growing up. "I like Jacquez Green. Little guy and fast."
Currently in a competition for snaps in the slot, Showers praised fellow slot receiver C.J. Worton, who has stood out in recent practices. "He's pretty good, he's quick out of his break. He's a very good route runner, he has great hands. He just has to pick up on the plays and everything."