Over the past five years, the University of Florida has had players such as Percy Harvin, Riley Cooper, Aaron Hernandez, Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey and Jordan Reed make plays for them. Under Will Muschamp the last two years, the Gators have transitioned from a spread offense to a pro-style system, which uses more running backs and tight ends and less wide receivers.
Their two biggest weapons on offense last season were Mike Gillislee and Reed, who are both in the NFL. The question is who will step up and make plays for them on offense this season?
For week one against Toledo, I expect the Gators to run the ball with Mack Brown and Kelvin Taylor to establish themselves as a power team. The other thing I expect is a heavy dosage of Trey Burton at multiple positions. Burton has seen time at quarterback, running Back, fullback, tight end, receiver and halfback in his three years with the Gators, but hasn’t carved out a steady role for himself.
For the Gators to have a chance at being a contender this year, Burton needs to be a playmaking tight end and stick to that position. It is nice to be able to move him to the fullback position when the team needs a yard, but I hope Muschamp will have him work mostly at tight end.
Burton is listed at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, which is almost the same size as Hernandez, and is big enough to be a full time tight end in the college game. While he may not be the blocker you would want out of a pro-style tight end, the team has nobody else that would pose a threat at that position.
He would also be a great security blanket for Jeff Driskel, who is still getting adjusted to their new offense. They got a lot of use out of Reed last year because he presented the only real mismatch the Gators’ offense had, and what he lacks in blocking ability, he more than makes up for with skill and his ability to get in the end zone.
I don’t want to see the full playbook against Toledo with the University of Miami around the corner, but I would like to see Burton lined up at tight end for at least 75 percent of the snaps. He scored 12 TDs in his freshman year under Urban Meyer, but only has seven since Muschamp took over.
If he can get back into the 10-12 range with the outstanding running game the Gators have, we could be looking at another BCS game and a blowout in Week 1 vs. Toledo.