GAINESVILLE -- Florida coach Urban Meyer said on Thursday that one of his best players, safety Will Hill, is a second-stringer. That's a problem.
One of the biggest challenges facing Meyer and the Gators' defensive coaches over the next week will be to figure out how to best use they're surplus of defensive talent. That surplus starts with Hill, a sophomore from New Jersey who Meyer recently called one of the Gators' top five players.
Meyer said on Thursday that Hill is currently the Gators' second-string free safety behind starter Major Wright. Meyer also said that junior Ahmad Black is currently the Gators' starting strong safety in front of redshirt senior Dorian Munroe. No surprises there. Both Wright and Black are returning starters from a national championship secondary.
So, how do you get Hill into the game without disturbing the chemistry of a secondary that recorded 26 interceptions in 2008? Just play with three safeties, of course. Meyer said on Thursday that the Gators could start three safeties this season. (A side note: Gator Clause had a feeling this was coming. Anyone remember this blog post from way back in April?)
You can't start three safeties all the time, though. That would be absurd, right?
Does anyone have any ideas? Meyer said last week that he would rather not use Hill as a nickelback this season because his coverage skills are lacking. But on Thursday, safeties coach Chuck Heater said that Hill has pretty good coverage skills. Hill is the fastest safety on the team but he might be a little too big this season to play nickelback.
"We want to make sure we have creative ways to have [Hill] on the field because he's going to be one of our best players, certainly," Heater said.
NOTE: The Gators had their first two-a-days of the preseason on Thursday.