Posted: 2:44 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013
By Jason Lieser
The temperature in Loucheiz Purifoy’s workplace often climbs into the upper 90s and he will be asked to run more than any other player on the team. In addition to his primary responsibility as Florida’s top cornerback, he will play wide receiver, work as a gunner on special teams and appears to be the Gators’ first choice at kick returner.
Is that too much?
“He can run and go all day,” defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said this morning. “We’ve all seen it here before. Last year he was playing defense every snap and you see us punting the ball or kicking off and he’s the first one running down the field. He did a great job with it. So I think obviously he can do it, we feel he can do it, and we’ll just continue working that way.”
Purifoy said earlier this month he was fine with any amount of snaps the coaching staff allows him to play and did not see a problem with playing in all three phases of the game.
Durkin and the Gators do not have a cap on Purifoy’s number of plays, but will be conscious of fatigue. Early in the season, when the first three games are in the state of Florida, the heat will enter the equation.
“Every game is different,” Durkin said. “You’re (possibly) facing a spread offense that’s going hurry up and you get a lot of snaps on defense. And they’re also running around covering a lot, also covering kicks. We have to watch it. It’s one of those things we’ll talk about throughout the game.
“I’ve been at other places where we’ve had guys play both ways and they’ve done well with it. If you have a guy that can do it and help you, you do it. You manage it throughout the game. We’re very cognizant of what’s going on. You just talk about it, you talk to the young man and see how he feels.”
Purifoy, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior, played every game over the past two seasons and started 12 times last year. He enters the season as one of the highest-rated cornerbacks in the nation.
Offensively, he had a five-yard catch and an eight-yard run last season.