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Colleges

Burton fills whatever role Gators need

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 06:26 PM
GAINESVILLE -

Florida junior Trey Burton has always said he'd do whatever needed. From Urban Meyer's last year to Will Muschamp's second as the Gators' head coach, that motto has proven true.

This season, Burton had carried the ball just 10 times and caught it seven, seeing action at running back, tight end and Wildcat quarterback.

But in one quick period in the second quarter of Saturday's 44-11 win against South Carolina, the Venice native showed why coaches love having him around.

Leading 7-3, Florida punted the ball away to the Gamecocks. But when South Carolina's Ace Sanders broke to return the ball, Burton knocked it loose and fell on it himself, giving UF the ball at the Gamecocks' 29.

Burton then went into the game as the quarterback and ran the ball twice for 9 yards and completed a pass to get the ball close to the end zone. He then departed and starting quarterback Jeff Driskel finished the drive with his second touchdown pass.

In the third quarter, Burton came into the game to run the Wildcat again and played a key role in two more touchdown drives that put the game away.

"The game comes easy,'' Muschamp said of Burton. "Stripping the ball comes natural to him.''

Christy shines

P Kyle Christy is becoming one of the Gators' best weapons. He punted seven times Saturday and all went for 50 yards or more.

He had a season-best 62 yarder in the first half, and the sophomore kept South Carolina deep in its own territory for most of the game.

"I'm pretty stoked right now,'' Christy said. "I feel great. … I haven't really gotten this much attention after a game.''

Takeaway heaven

Florida had a season-high four takeaways and is plus-11 for the season.

"I don't know if anyone does it better than (defensive coordinator) Dan Quinn and our defensive staff,'' Muschamp said.

"In every meeting, we spend a lot of time talking about stripping the ball when they don't have it high and tight. Most of our defensive guys are on special teams so that is constantly pounded into their heads, especially after last season when he emphasized it, but I didn't do a good job.''

UF struggled to force turnovers last season. This year, they are coming more frequently. A couple of huge ones Saturday were on special teams.

"We need to play very well on special teams,'' Muschamp said. "It is coached up very well and our entire staff is involved in coaching special teams.''

Brissett gets time

With Florida comfortably ahead, backup QB Jacoby Brissett got some playing time in the fourth quarter. The sophomore played sparingly during the first six games.

It's proof how quickly things can change. A year ago, Brissett was the backup to John Brantley and current No. 1 Driskel was third team.

That Brissett played is significant because there's no way Florida could come back and try to recover a redshirt year for him, since he is well over the amount of games played to be eligible.

"I'd put him out there regardless of the situation. … It was good to see him play,'' Muschamp said.

Noteworthy

Florida is 13-1 all-time in Gainesville against South Carolina. … Christy has 24 punts of 50 or more yards in his career. … DT Sharrif Floyd blocked a field goal attempt for the second straight game. UF has blocked eight kicks in Muschamp's first 20 games as head coach. … The crowd of 90,883 was fifth-largest all-time at Florida Field.

David Jones, Florida Today

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