Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Former coach says Brian Poole's switch to safety will help his career

Brian Poole switches to safety
Southeast defensive coordinator Brian McKnight, who coached Brian Poole for four years,  sees his switch to safety at Florida as a positive move that will enhance his career.

He has the size and speed to play the position and I think it will be better for him because now he will be on both sides of the field instead of just one when he plays cornerback,” McKnight said.

During his electrifying football career at Southeast, Poole was known as a guy who could play any position and do it well.

Though he was an All-American cornerback, Poole excelled on offense as a running back and was a top notch punt returner. He also caught passes and even threw a few.

It didn’t take long for Florida head football coach Will Muschamp to take advantage of Poole’s multiple set of skills.

Poole was recruited as a cornerback and rated number two in the country at the position by one scouting service. But Muschamp announced a few days into pre-season camp that he was switching him to safety.

It’s a move made out of necessity and made possible because of Poole’s talents. The Gators are loaded at cornerback with four veterans and have needs at safety.

When Muschamp made a visit to Lakewood Ranch a few months ago for a Gators rally, he said he expected Poole to be on the field this year as a true freshman if he picked up the defensive schemes.

He reiterated that theme in announcing Poole would be making the switch noting he is intelligent and has the athleticism to get out on the field right now

“He has good instincts in zone. He’s a bright young man. He’s a physical player. He will tackle," Muschamp said at his media conference. "We felt like in the recruiting process he was a corner/nickel. He’s a guy that can go in the slot and play. But when you have a young player I think the best thing for them is to get them in one spot and let them have an opportunity. Athletically we felt like he’s ready to play.”

One thing will remain the same for the 5-10, 206 pound Poole. He was able to get the number 24 jersey, which is the same number he had during his Southeast days.

The starting safety spots for the Gators are manned by heralded junior Matt Elam (5-10, 202), who started every game last season and senior Josh Evans (6-2, 201), who started eight games. There is speculation that Elam could declare for the NFL draft after the upcoming season.

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