Tyrone Truesdell is going on a crash course to learn the Florida Gators' defense, as UF defensive coordinator Todd Grantham expects him to play immediately after arriving in Gainesville this week.
"He'll play Saturday," against the Florida Atlantic Owls in Florida's 2021 season opener, Grantham said on Monday night.
Truesdell, a fifth-year interior defensive lineman, transferred to UF from Auburn on Monday morning after entering the transfer portal at the beginning of fall camp. Truesdell flexed between nose tackle and three-technique for the Tigers in 2020 and compiled 22 tackles, two quarterback pressures and 2.5 tackles for loss in ten appearances, making nine starts.
The year before, Truesdell tallied 31 tackles, three sacks, 13 quarterback pressures, five tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery in 11 games, starting eight.
"He's a big-bodied guy that can give us some stoutness in the middle, allow us to maybe expand some roles of some guys in there," Grantham explained. "And you know you never can have enough depth at that position as you go through the season."
Despite making his way to UF less than a week before the Gators' first game, Truesdell has the trust of Florida's coaching staff, beyond Grantham, to be ready to go on Saturday.
"You got a guy that started a lot of games in this league, the opportunity for him to come in — I know it’s kind of a late start but being a veteran guy that’s started in the league I think he’s going to adapt really quick," head coach Dan Mullen expressed hours after Truesdell's transfer.
That being said, it would be tough to envision Florida utilizing Truesdell too often until he is well acclimated within the defensive system, particularly following a year where his production took a step backward. On top of learning a new defense, Truesdell didn't partake in fall camp at either Florida or Auburn, meaning he will have to catch up on conditioning as well.
The Gators spent their offseason replenishing talent on the defensive side of the ball, specifically upfront with the additions of Penn State's Antonio Valentino and fellow former Auburn Tiger Daquan Newkirk. Following the departures of veteran linemen Kyree Campbell, T.J. Slaton and Marlon Dunlap after the 2020 season, UF aimed to shore up the short-term outlook of its defensive tackle position in order to allow underclassmen such as Gervon Dexter and Jalen Lee to keep their development curves on their current track.
Truesdell's addition, whether he's ready to play a ton of snaps in week one or a bit into the season, hammers that point home. Should one of Shelton or Newkirk go down with an injury, the Gators can hand Truesdell more snaps instead of rushing Dexter or Lee into difficult situations.
Lee is questionable for Saturday's game with an injury as is, making Truesdell's addition immediately beneficial.
"Yeah, we're certainly excited to have him," Grantham said.
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