• 2015 Overall Record: 6-1
• 2015 Conference Record: 4-1
• Rank: #13 in AP Poll/#14 in Coaches Poll
Players to Watch Moving Forward:
- Sophomore Quarterback, Treon Harris. Now that Treon is the full time starter his growth and development over the next month will determine if this team is SEC championship caliber.
- Senior Defensive Lineman, Jonathan Bullard. As Florida enters the stretch run, Bullard will be depended upon for leadership and to continue his dominate ways, especially against Georgia and Florida State. If his play increases, that will be scary.
5 Things to Know About Florida
- Florida is 12/15 on 4th Down Conversions this year, which is tied for 7th in the nation and 2nd amongst teams behind Utah with double digit 4th down attempts.
- Florida is 3-1 this season in games decided by 7 or fewer points; The Gators were 2-7 in such games the past 2 seasons.
- The Gators are tied for 6th in the country with a plus-9 turnover margin.
- Florida has thrown for more than 250 yards four times this year. That is the most since 2009.
- In each of Florida’s five 6-0 starts since 1995, the Gators finished the season with at least 11 wins. Also, in six of UF’s eight 4-0 starts in SEC play since 1991, Florida finished the year as SEC champions.
5 Plays, Moments and Performances
1. Antonio Callaway game winning touchdown vs Tennessee.
Without question it is the play of the year for the Gators. It broke the hearts of Vols everywhere and was a catalyst to where Florida is today.
2. Ole Miss Domination.
From start to finish Florida dominated then 3rd ranked Ole Miss. It put Florida in the national spotlight and set them up for a run at the SEC Championship game.
3. 4th Down for What.
The Gators were 5/5 on 4th down vs Tennessee. The Florida offense converted 4th down after 4th down in a comeback effort to once again disappoint Tennessee and extend the winning streak against the Vols to 11.
4. Tabor Pick 6’s vs East Carolina & Missouri.
We could essentially call Tabor the closer. His two pick 6’s this year have sealed two wins for Florida on the season.
5. Everything else Antonio Callaway.
Callaway has shown a knack for making the big play. The one handed catch and near punt return against Kentucky and the juggling catch and punt return against LSU have allowed him to make his mark in addition to the play against Tennessee.
5 Coaches not named Jim McElwain
1. Doug Nussmeier (Offensive Coordinator)
I’m giving Nussmeier the top spot because of what they have done with the quarterback position. He has had to call plays for two quarterbacks with two different skill sets and the offense continues to be formidable and good enough to win games. Beyond the QB play, the offense has become a unit that is a threat to score and the improvement on that side of the ball has allowed Florida to compete for rings.
2. Kerry Dixon (Wide Receivers Coach)
Kerry Dixon is the 7th wide receiver coach at Florida in seven years. He has done a remarkable job getting these receivers to become threats in the passing game and in a loaded receiver class across the state, what he does on the recruiting trail may be just as important.
3. Chris Rumph (Defensive Line Coach)
One of the most important hires of McElwain’s first off season, was pulling in former Alabama and Texas defensive line coach Chris Rumph. We have seen the improvement among the defensive line that puts them among the best in the nation. Not only have we seen the Rumph effect on the field but also on the recruiting trail.
4. Geoff Collins (Defensive Coordinator)
Collins inherited a talented defense and didn’t have to do much to make sure Florida remains a top tier defense, but he has done a phenomenal with schemes and play calling making Florida once again one of the top defenses in the nation
5. Mike Kent (Strength and Conditioning Coach)
Kent deserves a lot of credit for getting this team stronger and more durable. In the past Florida suffered tons of season ending and extensive injuries. Whatever he is doing is working and has made this team tougher and stronger.
5 Awards to Give Out
1. Offensive Player of the Year – Antonio Callaway
It was hard to choose this one, because not one guy is head and shoulders above the rest, so I went with the guy who continues to grow and make big plays for Florida. Callaway gives Florida the explosion they have been missing for a while to grow this offense and found one in Callaway. Although he only has 16 catches on the year he continues to make big plays for this team in big moments.
2. Defensive Player of the Year – Jon Bullard
Bullard has been dominant on the line and removed any worries about the defensive line after losing Dante Fowler Jr. He has performed at an extremely high level and has actually raised his draft stock. He has lived in opponents backfields registering 10 TFL’s and 4.5 sacks to go along with the countless other plays he has disrupted. He has been a monster and worthy or all conference recognition.
3. Comeback Player of the Year – Jake McGee
This was hard because of what Antonio Morrison has done after his injury. I went with McGee because last season he came in with such high expectations and finally getting a chance to perform, he has showed why he was an important addition to the roster. He is 2nd on the team in receptions at 23 and 21 of those have come in SEC play.
4. Most Improved Player – Jarrad Davis
After a promising freshman season, Davis had a less than stellar sophomore year only recording 23 total tackles. Through 7 games this year he has doubled his output with 49 tackles and 7 tackles for loss.
5. Unsung Hero – Kelvin Taylor
Coming into the season we knew Taylor would start the year as the primary option at running back. Many thought he would eventually be replaced by one of the true freshman, but that has not been the case. Taylor has gotten the majority of the carries, especially in SEC play, he leads the team with 8 rushing touchdowns and has also improved as a pass blocker.
5 Bold Predictions
1. Kelvin Taylor finally cracks 1,000 yards.
With an SEC Championship game appearance Taylor will reach the 1,000 yard mark. He is only 537 yards away with potentially six games to play. He has allowed Florida to be respectable in the run game and keep the Florida Gators balanced on offense.
2. Florida wraps up the SEC East in Jacksonville.
If Tennessee loses to Alabama and Kentucky loses to Mississippi State, Florida will have the opportunity to close out the SEC East against one of their bitter rivals.
3. McElwain wins SEC Coach of the Year.
This is a near no-brainer and McElwain will be considered for National Coach of the Year as well. Florida will finish the season strong and McElwain will be far and away the coach of the year in the SEC.
4. No more players miss games due to any kind of suspension.
Florida has had a great season on the field, but as the season goes on, news off the field will go quiet after multiple suspensions in the first half of the year.
5. Florida finishes 11-1 and SEC East Champs.
Florida will win a tough game against Georgia and beat the Seminoles on Senior Day in The Swamp and setup a winner take all match up against Alabama in the SEC Championship game for the right to go to the College Football Playoff. Things return to normal in the SEC.
The Remaining Outlook
Despite losing a tough game to LSU heading into the bye week, the Gators still have everything in play. If things break right this weekend they will have the opportunity to play for their first SEC East title since 2009. It has been a surprising season so far and Jim McElwain and staff have done a phenomenal job turning around this team. Florida returns to the field next week to take on Georgia followed up by the homecoming game against Vanderbilt and they close out the SEC season with a trip to the other Columbia to take on South Carolina. As things look now, Florida should be expected to win those games and finish conference play 7-1. Following those trio of games Florida goes takes on Florida Atlantic then has their rivalry game against Florida State. If the Gators come into the game against the Seminoles 10-1 they will be playing for more than just a trip to the SEC Championship, they will be in play for a berth in the College Football Playoff. There is still a lot of football to play but who would have thought at this point the words Florida and College Football Playoff would even be written in the same season.