Gators Defensive
Florida cornerback Jalen Kimber (8) runs past South Florida offensive lineman Mike Lofton (65) after intercepting a pass for a 39-yard touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Florida Cornerback Jalen Kimber Talks New Gators Defense

It was a tough season for the Florida Gators on the defensive side of the ball in 2022. The poor performance led to Billy Napier making a change in the coordinator position with the hire of Austin Armstrong. Average is something that has never been settled for during the fall in Gainesville. However, that’s exactly what the fanbase witnessed last season and it will be a narrative that the defense will have to change in 2023. Redshirt junior cornerback, Jalen Kimber, recently took questions from the media amidst fall practices to discuss the status of the defense.

A Long Road for Kimber

Jalen Kimber’s college football career has been anything but easy. As he began his career as a highly-ranked recruit, he enrolled early as a freshman at Georgia. Kimber didn’t see much playing time early, as he saw action in only three games his first year on campus. Then, more obstacles got in the way. During his sophomore campaign, Kimber was sidelined with a shoulder injury and he would later need surgery.

Moreover, it was time for a change of scenery. In 2022, Jalen Kimber decided to take his talents to The Swamp and transfer to Florida. Kimber would go on to play in all thirteen games last season while wearing a cast on his hand for almost the whole season. Even while still dealing with injuries, Kimber finished the year with 13 tackles, one interception and a pass breakup. He was asked by the media what he has learned about himself as a player during these adverse years.

A New Look Defense

Newly hired defensive coordinator, Austin Armstrong, has gained a great amount of confidence in his players in year one. There is a new buy-in from this defense that was not as prevalent in prior seasons. Armstrong is facilitating a more aggressive look to the defense this season including more press-man coverage from the cornerback position. Kimber speaks about how the group will respond to the new system that is being put in place.

The Gators defense will be getting some much-needed help on the back end as well. With young talent at the safety position, the group added a veteran presence in the transfer portal. Former Michigan safety, R.J. Moten, transferred to Florida at the end of the spring semester. A reporter asked Jalen Kimber what he thinks Moten will bring to the table for the Gators defense in 2023.

The revamped defense for the Florida Gators will look to silence the doubters this season. While having a chip on their shoulder, Kimber and company will have to come together as one to put a quality product on the field. Otherwise, Gator Nation will witness another subpar season from their beloved team.

The season kicks off August 31 for Florida, as they travel to Salt Lake City for a week 0 matchup with Utah. This marks a rematch of last year’s opening game where the Gators came out victorious against the Utes.

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