Purifoy highlights spring position changes

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- There will be some new faces at several positions when Florida begins spring practice Wednesday.

The biggest change, which has previously been reported, is that junior CB Loucheiz Purifoy will spend the first half of spring practice working exclusively at receiver. He won’t be able to absorb the entire offense in that time, but he will have a better understanding than he did last season and will be able to run something other than a deep sideline pattern.

"I think up to this point what he's done has been very specific," offensive coordinator Brent Pease said. “Get him over for a few plays, here's what you’re doing and there's no adjustments. You can't adjust to anything and play off anything that defense is doing. Now you're getting into a set position and you're seeing how teams play against you. You play maybe a couple different spots in there and we can move you around."

The Gators also have two new fullbacks now that redshirt junior Gideon Ajagbe has moved from linebacker and redshirt freshman Rhaheim Ledbetter has moved from safety. That adds depth behind Hunter Joyer, who was the only fullback on the roster.

"We felt like that Hunter was a guy that’s going to be in some one-back stuff for us. He also will be a fullback for us and didn’t want him shouldering that burden and all of a sudden we don’t have him and we lose our two-back package," UF coach Will Muschamp said. "So both of those guys, the first seven days, are going to be given a shot at fullback and kind of see where we are. Rhaheim played running back in high school, was very effective, catches the ball well. He’s got lower-body punch and power. Gideon has not contributed much for us on defense since he’s been here, and he deserves the opportunity to try and get into a situation to help us."

The Gators also moved redshirt freshman defensive lineman Quinteze Williams to offensive line, where he’ll begin the spring backing up redshirt sophomore Tyler Moore at right tackle. Redshirt junior Chaz Green, who started 10 games at right tackle last season, is sitting out spring practice with an ankle injury.

It wasn’t a position change, but there was another significant move that was long-projected and finally announced: sophomore Antonio Morrison moves from outside linebacker to the middle. The 6-foot-1 Morrison has put on 11 pounds since his freshman season and weighs 229 pounds.

"Antonio is a very physical player to begin with, that’s kind of his nature, his style of play," defensive coordinator/linebackers coach D.J. Durkin said. "He’s put some weight on, some size on this offseason. He’s a durable guy."

Morrison had 34 tackles and a forced fumble last season. He played in every game and started two in place of injured outside linebacker Jelani Jenkins.