But Burton, who was one of three players who took snaps for the Gators last season, won’t be moving to defense as originally believed.
Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis said Monday that Reed is moving to tight end and Burton will play a hybrid “F” position in Florida’s offense when the Gators open spring practice on Wednesday.
In fact, Burton and Reed were listed as starters on a depth chart released by new Florida coach Will Muschamp on Monday. Muschamp told reporters that the depth chart “probably isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on” because his coaches haven’t yet evaluated players in live action.
“There’s a lot of guessing,” Muschamp said. “We’re a new staff. It’s based on film review and the offseason program. It’s a starting point. It’s about like a preseason top-25 poll. It doesn’t mean anything.”
But Weis made it clear that Burton and Reed will play a big role in Florida’s offense. Rising senior John Brantley was listed as the team’s No. 1 quarterback, and Tyler Murphy and freshman Jeff Driskel were listed as co-backups.
Reed, a rising sophomore from New London, Conn., played quarterback in five games last season. He completed 26 of 46 passes for 252 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Weis, a former Notre Dame coach and offensive coordinator for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs last season, said Reed wanted to move to tight end.
“Could Jordan play quarterback?” Weis asked. “You betcha. Jordan can play quarterback and he can sling it. But Jordan sees himself as a tight end.”
Burton, a rising sophomore from Venice, Fla., completed four of six passes for 83 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. He ran 75 times for 349 yards with a team-high 11 rushing touchdowns in 2010.
“Burton didn’t really see himself as a quarterback,” Weis said. “He just didn’t know what he was. I think more than anything, he was just trying to find a home and niche and grow into a position.”
Weis said Burton might be used as an H-back, fullback, tight end or wide receiver.
“It gives you a lot of flexibility with formations,” Weis said. “They’re not going to wonder if he’s going to be on the field. They’re going to wonder what he’s going to do.”
In other Florida football news:
Muschamp announced four Florida players would miss all of spring practice. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins is recovering from shoulder surgery from the end of last season and isn’t ready to practice. Muschamp said linebacker Neiron Ball has a “congenital” condition and the medical staff was still evaluating his long-term prognosis. Running back Mike Blakely, a mid-year enrollee, will miss spring drills after having shoulder surgery. Running back Jeff Demps, who on Saturday won an NCAA indoor 60-meter national championship for the second season in a row, will compete in outdoor track and field and won’t practice with the football team.
Eight other players – defensive linemen Omar Hunter and Jaye Howard, linebacker Kedric Johnson, defensive back Jaylen Watkins, kicker Caleb Sturgis and offensive linemen Matt Patchan, David Young and James Wilson will be limited during spring drills because of undisclosed injuries.
Gerald Christian, who played tight end last season, was listed as the team’s No. 1 strongside linebacker on the depth chart. Leon Orr has moved from defensive end to defensive tackle.