We've heard about it for a couple of weeks now and on Saturday we got to see it with our own eyes. Trey Burton was rumored to play everywhere on offense and low and behold he did just that. He played some fullback, running back, tight end, quarterback, and even receiver. His stats weren't gaudy, but he played hard with a couple of nice plays in the win. Look for more as the season progresses.
It has to be hard for a quarterback to accept a role change if and when it comes. The darling of the fans and media, the quarterback is usually the absolute team leader. Trey Burton was all of that during the recruiting process for the Florida Gators and in the heralded 2010 recruiting class. He was big on keeping his classmates focused on the prize...playing for the Gators.
If you ever thought Burton didn't consider it a prize, you should pay attention to the unselfishness he has presented when confronted of the likely possibility of that role changing even after John Brantley moves on. The guy that had a great spring and outlived most folks thoughts on how well he would be during that time has been asked to be something different than a quarterback. He has been asked to use his physical gifts to play in different spots on the field.
He is grateful for the chance, and the role change that started to happen a week into fall practice hasn't been much different on his personal psyche.
“It's not that big of a difference,” Burton told the media after his performance on Saturday. “I am just thankful that the Lord has blessed me with athletic ability and to be able to play other positions. I am thankful for coach for giving me a chance. I will do anything to help this team win and get to Atlanta. That is all I'm really focused on.”
Not even sure where he will line up in the next game, much less in different plays in the game, quarterback is the title he wants but he realizes that likely isn't the case.
“Whatever personnel the coach calls, that is what I go in and play,” he said. “I guess I would say tight end/fullback. I really want to say quarterback because I love Coach Loeffler, Brantley, and (fellow freshman quarterback) Tyler Murphy. But, I would have to say tight end or fullback right now.”
Burton spent the entire spring at quarterback and a week or so in the fall. He believes that time spent learning the position really helped him have a leg up on playing the many different positions he is playing on the field right now.
“No doubt, no doubt in my mind,” he said when asked if learning quarterback was a help to the many places he plays on the field. “Going into a quarterback meeting Coach Loeffler gets you ready to learn every position. With him, he teaches you every position and you have to know every one in order to play.”
Burton wanted to be a typical college freshman when he arrived and just be a young guy away form home and trying to spread his wings. It didn't take long to learn that he was going to have to really get into this football thing if he was going to make something of himself. He also had folks that impressed upon him that he was needed.
“It takes a lot more focus on football than it did in high school,” Burton said about his early experiences on Florida's campus. “It kind of hit me when I first got here and I wasn't really prepared for that. The speed is different, it was a new environment and I was living my dreams. I really wasn't worrying about football at the time. So, I spent a lot more time in the film room and coach got me right real quick. I am real thankful for Coach Loeffler and Brantley, they really helped me out and made me who I am right now.”
Burton made huge strides in the spring at quarterback and along the way showed off his athletic ability. One thing that was noticeable about him was the coaches seemed to throw every obstacle in the book at him. Rarely was there a time where contact was off limits with Burton compared to most quarterbacks. He would take a hit or two or 10 every practice and never show any negative for it.
It all got a little more important to him when Brantley missed a day of practice because of an illness. Burton was the only quarterback on hand and he was able to realize just how important his learning everything was.
“Probably the practice when JB got sick and I had to take all the reps,” Burton said when asked when the light came on for him about buckling down. “I was just living the dream until then. Then I was like 'hey, if JB goes down, I have to get ready'. That is probably when it clicked (for me).”
Burton had one pass reception for two yards and ran twice for four yards and a touchdown. He caught the ball as a tight end, ran as a fullback, and ran as a quarterback. He had a good time with his new role and got to score as a Gator, a rare feat for a freshman quarterback at Florida. Yet, all he wants to do is get better and help more.
“I have to get a lot better,” he said. “I think the first time playing in The Swamp was a lot of fun. I was really glad I got an opportunity to do it, and we have to get a lot better.”
It said a lot for just what Urban Meyer thinks of Burton to put him in the game as the quarterback, with only an 11 point lead and the ball on the four yard line, needing a score. On 2nd-and-2, Burton took the snap as quarterback and plunged over the left guard for his first of many touchdowns for the Gators. The personnel group on that play is called 'Hammer' by the Gator staff and team.
Given his success under the circumstances, we are likely to see much more 'Hammer' with Burton at the helm moving forward.
“The 'Hammer' is the main one,” Burton said of the many packages he is inserted into the game with. “(Named) probably because it's short yardage. That is the one I scored on.”
There are Gator fans out there that would give there left little toe to run through the tunnel and score a meaningful touchdown for the Florida Gators. Trey Burton is one of those. It's a great story and in the immortal words of MC Hammer, you 'Can't Touch This'.
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