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Someone has to play safety; Does UF move anyone to the position?

Here's a link to my story as it appeared in Sunday's Miami Herald on Dorian Munroe and Florida's problems at safety. CLICK ME! Of course, if you read this blog, then you learned all that news well before Sunday and were some of the first Florida fans to know the inside story... Now we must press forward.

GAINESVILLE -- Practice hasn't even started and already Florida is scrambling for answers at the safety position. The Gators have lost five safeties this offseason and another safety, Bryan Thomas, is recovering from minor offseason surgery and will be limited during the preseason. The situation is like a bad dream.

The math is quite simple, folks. Florida doesn't have a handful of people available to play the safety position right now: Major Wright, Bryan Thomas (when he returns to full health), Ahmad Black, Will Hill...[crickets].

First the bad news. No matter what Florida does to solve this problem, the Gators are only one more injury away from having a very vulnerable secondary. Major Wright missed a chunk of the 2007 season with an injury, remember? What if that happens again?

Now the good news. Florida is loaded with talent at other positions. There are several players available who could make the switch to safety. More good news: If someone moves to safety, like say, on Monday, then they'll have nearly two months to learn the position before the Hawaii game. Here's a list of players who could possibly move to safety:

THE NAME: Moses Jenkins (6-3, 186 pounds), sophomore, cornerback
THE GOOD: Moses has put on some weight in the offseason and now has the size to enter the discussion.
THE BAD: Is Moses physical enough to play safety? He wasn't much of a hitter last season.

THE NAME: Riley Cooper (6-3, 209 pounds), junior, wide receiver
THE GOOD: Riley is a physical football player and has always had a mean streak. He played safety in high school.
THE BAD: Playing safety in high school is not the same as playing safety in the Southeastern Conference. It's about like the difference between animal crackers and animals. Cooper might not have the hips to play safety in college. Plus, he's a pretty good wide receiver. Is the guy really going to be happy moving to defense just when he is beginning to mature as an offensive threat?

THE NAME: JANORIS JENKINS (5-10, 180 pounds), freshman, cornerback
THE GOOD: Jenkins arrived in Gainesville before the spring semester and already has a feel for what it takes to be successful at the collegiate level. Major Wright made the jump last year and was starting by the fifth game of the year.
THE BAD: All that bologna I just wrote is just wishful thinking. Jenkins is an incoming freshman and won't be ready for any position in the secondary. Plus, he's a little undersized for an SEC safety.

THE NAME: LORENZO EDWARDS (6-2, 234 pounds), redshirt freshman, linebacker
THE GOOD: He's big but he might be fast enough to play strong safety.
THE BAD: Again, wishful thinking. Lorenzo is fast for a linebacker but wouldn't cut it at safety.

Ehhh, on second thought, maybe there aren't many good options. At the time it didn't seem like much of a loss, but losing safety recruit Ramon Buchanan to Miami back on signing day is starting to look like a pretty big blunder. Buchanan was the guy doing Tebow-aided Gator chomps on national TV during a UF men's basketball game only to snub Florida at the 11th hour.

Florida had the worst passing defense in the SEC last season, allowing 258.5 yards per game. The Gators' underachieving pass rush had something to do with that but the young secondary didn't help. This time around, let's just hope Florida has someone left to play safety by the end of the season.

-jo-

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