Trey Burton – Florida’s boy without a home during his tenure in Gainesville. He drifts from skill position to skill position, sampling each one as if they were the 32 flavors at Ben and Jerry’s. Quarterback, wildcat quarterback, receiver, running back, — even repping some at tight end during practice for insurance during fall camp.
You know his story, you’ve seen the flashes of brilliance. The six touchdowns his freshman year against Kentucky, the 80 yard scamper he ripped off while outrunning the entire Tennessee defense last season in Knoxville.
You’ve also seen the rest of his career regress to the mean, two rushing touchdowns on 29 attempts in 2012 — both career lows. You’ve also seen 18 receptions in 2012 — another career low — a number that’s down 14 from his freshman year.
Maybe this year, you’ll see a different Trey Burton, a player that finally has a defined role as slot receiver and change of pace wildcat quarterback.
“I think he’s done a good job of that in the offseason in trying to condition himself for that. You saw, we still used him in the wildcat position in some plays. He’s obviously capable of doing that,” offensive coordinator Brent Pease said. “Trey’s a smart kid, he studies the game and he teaches the game to other kids. You’re not always out there just doing something, there’s reasons why you run a route this way and he understands that.”
Burton caught five passes for 69 yards against Toledo. His 26 yard reception was the longest of any Florida receiver and his five receptions were also good enough for a team high. The performance still wasn’t good enough for Burton.
“I felt it was decent, probably 50 percent out of a 100,” Burton said. His Masters level understanding of Florida’s offense of course comes from playing so many different roles, but the yearning for offensive comprehension comes from his days before her wore the orange and blue.
“In high school I played quarterback. My quarterback coach did a really good job of teaching me I had to know everybody’s position. I basically took that from high school and brought it to college. It’s helped me out a lot and helped me get on the field a lot faster than I guess other guys,” Burton said.
So maybe Burton’s found his role, maybe slot receiver is where he stays, and where he maximizes his skill set with a bit of wildcat QB mixed in. Whatever spot he’s plugged into, Burton has the ability to grasp it mentally. Who knows, he might even end up on the other side of the ball.
“I always liked playing defense. In high school I played defense,” Burton said. Alright, maybe that’s a little far fetched even for someone that grasps the game like he does.
If push came to shove though, his offensive coordinator has faith that he could to it.
“Sure, I think he’s capable of doing that if you need him to. He is smart; I mean he’s one of the smartest players on our team.”