KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Trey Burton had been relatively quiet this season -- that is until last Saturday.
The junior running back/tight end accounted for 129 yards of total offense and two touchdowns in Florida’s 37-20 victory over Tennessee. It was the most impact he’s had on a game since his six-touchdown game against Kentucky as a freshman in 2010.
While it’s unrealistic to expect Burton to have another game like the one he did against the Wildcats or like he did against the Vols, the Gators (3-0, 2-0 SEC) certainly need Burton to become a bigger part of the Gators’ offense the rest of the season.
"He’s a good player," UF coach Will Muschamp said. "He can do a lot of things."
The 6-foot-3, 228-pound Burton had touchdown runs of 14 and 80 yards out of the wildcat formation and also caught a 32-yard pass from Jeff Driskel to set up a field goal. Burton had just 1 yard on two carries and four catches for 28 yards in UF’s first two games.
His 14-yard TD run in the first quarter was his first touchdown since the Gators’ victory over Kentucky on Sept. 24, 2011.
Florida plays host to the Wildcats this week -- the Gators have won 25 consecutive games in the series -- and then has a bye week before playing LSU, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Georgia in October. Burton didn’t do much last October in the Gators’ gauntlet of Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia: nine carries for 8 yards, eight catches for 51 yards.
If the Gators are going to fare better this October, they’re going to need to be better offensively. The offense is evolving as Driskel gets more and more comfortable, and having someone who is as experienced and smart as Burton helps. It’s also a benefit that he can line up pretty much everywhere on offense, which makes him a problem for defenses when it comes to game planning.
"He’s able to carry it and slip out of the backfield [as a receiver]," Muschamp said. "He’s a guy that’s hard for defensive coaches to count what he is. We said as a defensive staff when we played our offensive staff in the spring, 'What do you think about Trey Burton?' I have to ask [offensive coordinator] Brent [Pease], 'How are we going to use him today [so he can try and defend him in practice]?'
"They [opponents] don’t have that luxury."