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Redshirt year at UF suits Mobley fine

At the conclusion of spring drills, University of Florida football coach Steve Spurrier hinted that incoming freshman Dwayne Mobley might play some in the fall.

Spurrier's hint became a reality in the Gators' season opener against Kentucky when Mobley managed to play late in the 35-19 win over the Wildcats.

What also became a reality soon afterward was that Mobley wasn't quite ready this season to be a contributor at fullback, a position already featuring two experienced players in Chris Bilkie and Kelvin Randolph.

In the week following the Kentucky game, Florida coaches decided it was best to redshirt Mobley, who was also suffering from a fractured thumb at the time. Mobley agreed with the decision.

"He knew it was best for him maybe a little after it appeared to us," said Florida running backs coach Carl Franks. "He's just like most freshmen that come into a college situation. They're not expected to play and, fortunately for him, we don't have to play him. That's a big advantage for him."

Mobley was the Times All-Suncoast Player of the Year and a high school All-American last season at Hernando High, where he ran for more than 2,000 yards as a senior and led the Leopards to a 9-2 record.

The big advantage for Mobley is he has four fresh years to play and five years to graduate, unlike several members of this year's freshman class who have been forced to play as a result of little depth at several positions.

"It's going to help me out a lot," Mobley said. "I can get used to college life and get my studies up and that will give me an extra year to get my degree."

Instead of working with the first- and second-team offenses, Mobley now spends his time at practice with the scout team, whose main purpose is to help prepare the Gators' first-team defense for upcoming opponents.

During these drills, the skills that made Mobley one of the country's top recruiting prospects have been evident.

"He goes out there and gives our first-team defense a good look when they're playing some of the better backs in the league," Franks said. "He's got some speed and he can catch the ball."

Mobley said he doesn't mind sitting out the year or having to work with the scout team, and in no way regrets being redshirted.

"I probably could have stayed out there and played," he said, "but I was thinking what would be best for me and best for the team, because we already had two fullbacks and the fullback is not used very much here.

"It would have been a waste of a year for me to be out here and not be redshirted."