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    Junior All-American Vernon Hargreaves III goes up against freshman receiver Antonio Callaway in practice. / Gator Country photo by David Bowie

Florida Gators football mailbag:
One week until kickoff

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Written by Nick de la Torre, August 29, 2015, 3 Comments,
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The Florida Gators football mailbag is full of questions from Gator Country members, so let’s get to it right away.

MrB-Gator: Update on Matt Rolin….do you think he’s healthy enough to play and will he be a contributor this year?

When we spoke with Matt in the spring he told reporters that doctors told him the next time he has an injury his career would be done. At that time it seemed like Rolin had made peace with that reality but from what I’ve seen in camp, he looks like he’s worried about getting hurt again and the real possibility that his career could be over. You can’t really blame him, but any football coach or player will tell you that when you’re playing timid or afraid of something that is when injuries happen.

Rolin, in my opinion, looks the best physically we’ve ever seen him health wise, I just don’t know how much he will play this season with guys like Antonio Morrison, Alex Anzalone, Daniel McMillian and Jarrad Davis in front of him.

Lurkingator: Will Thomas Holley give us anything this year?

Another pretty sad case of a kid with the world of potential being sidelined with an injury. Speaking with Holley in the spring I got the sense that he was told by doctors that he will have an issue with his hip again. He wasn’t given a certain day, just that with the type of injury he has he will continue to have problems with it.

It was a good sign that Holley was able to return to practice this week but I’m not sure how he will hold up health wise this season.

Slayerxing: 1) Current depth chart at safety?

2) Anything to the rumor that Vernon Hargreaves III will play offense?
3) Projected starters at WR and can they catch anything?

1) Starters: Keanu Neal, Marcus Maye.

Behind them would be Duke Dawson first, Nick Washington and then Marcell Harris.

2) I’ve seen Hargreaves catch a couple of screens on offense, there could be some plays designed for him to make something happen on offense.

3) The starting wide receivers will be Demarcus Robinson, Brandon Powell and C.J. Worton. The other receiver I like a lot on the team is Antonio Callaway. After those four I have no confidence in the rest of the group, but having four on the roster is better than past seasons.

 

Juggernautz: Which QB do you think will start the New Mexico State game?

I’m not sure. Now that we know that both quarterbacks are going to play for sure, I’m not sure who starts the game is really indicative of the quarterback battle at this point.

 

Gator_Nica: How do you think the distribution of carries plays out at running back?

I think Kelvin Taylor will get 60-65% of the carries to start the season but that you will see Jordan Scarlett and Jordan Cronkrite eat into that as the year goes on.

 

FrankGator627: Is Showers not stepping up due to injury or work ethic? What’s keeping him from becoming a playmaker?

Showers has battled an injury this camp. He’s a guy who’s in line to play behind Brandon Powell some in the slot. His skill set is versatile, like Powell, so Showers is a guy who could finally be featured in the offense but he needs to stay healthy.

GatorDon rapid fire:
How concerned are the coaches about the passing game? Dropped passes, etc

Jim McElwain will lose sleep over the dropped passes from the wide receivers.

Is the O-Line really coming together or is this still a major concern?

The O-Line was coming together well until Martez Ivey’s injury. Without Ivey the team will need to juggle around some pieces and will lose critical time that they need to gel. The situation with Ivey is minor, could have been much worse, but still not great for the Gators.

 

Is Scarlett going to see a lot of PT, or is Taylor still the man?

Jordan Scarlett will be a household name by the time the season is over.

 

Will Morrison return sooner rather than later?

I expect Antonio Morrison to be back by the Kentucky game.

Are the coaches concerned that the New Mexico St. game may produce a false sense of security?

Not at all, they can’t be. They just want to get the first win out of the way.

 

MrGator: Mac has done a great job reaching out to fans while trying to get more butts in the seats. Do you see an upward trend this year for attendance?

I’m a little concerned about the first game because it falls on Labor Day. This is the last long weekend for a lot of students and they may choose to go home to be with family. It’s also an opportunity for families to take a weekend vacation and they could choose just to watch the game on TV.

After that, attendance will reflect the product on the field. If McElwain can bring some fun back to the offense and the defense remains as exciting as they have been people will come.

“If Mac builds it, they will come.”

 

2xGator: Who is the fourth guy in the tackle rotation? If two of Sharpe, Halter, and Ivey go down do you have confidence in the next guy up?

The next guy up is Fred Johnson, a true freshman. Johnson looks a lot like Trenton Brown (he even wears the same number). He’s a physically imposing player and I like the progression he’s made in camp.

 

Gator_n_Bmore: What will the rotation look like at DT and who do you think the 2 starters will be opening night there? If Gerald Willis would have been back would he have started for this team?

The starting tackles right now are Caleb Brantley and Joey Ivie. Taven Bryan is another player that will get a lot of reps inside as well as Jon Bullard.

There is no doubt in my mind that if Gerald Willis were still on the team he would be playing this season. Willis was a major talent.

 

TheJGator: What is the feeling you’re getting from the players? E.g., do they have a quiet confidence, do they exude swagger, do they seem traumatized from the last few years, etc.?

They’re exuding a quiet confidence. Every player is talking about “surprising everyone” this season.

I don’t know how much of that is real, every team feels good about where they are at in camp and the team talked the same way before the past two seasons.

 

Albertasdad: I see comments about us being 3-0 when Tenn comes to town but I have to tell you I’m more concerned about the KY away game than the Tenn home game.

They are going to be ready for us big time especially after last year and their KY Qb is pretty darn good.

I’ve never been alive to see Kentucky beat Florida on the football field but I can tell you that I don’t think this game is a given at this time. I won’t be picking Kentucky to win but they have a good football team and they just finished renovations on their football stadium to increase the capacity and I would be surprised if that stadium isn’t packed when the Gators show up in town.

Nick de la Torre

About Nick de la Torre

A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC

  1. malscottAugust 29, 2015, 4:12 pm

    A chill just rushed through my body and I hurled a bit in my mouth thinking of Kentucky winning. We had enough half-century long records broken with Muschamp. Beating the Kentucky’s of the world needs to be a given again, regardless of how improved they are. Come on Mac! Here’s to us reminding them who’s boss. Go Gators.

  2. swampieAugust 29, 2015, 8:34 pm

    Didn’t see my question. Always made good comments about you.

    • swampieAugust 29, 2015, 8:35 pm

      please cancel this, the question I make was last week, my bad. my computer went out and am using an old one…

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Florida-Gators-cornerback-Vernon-Hargreaves-covers-receievr-Antonio-Callaway-Florida-Gators-football-1280x852-150x150.jpg Nick de la Torre FeatureFootball ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
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The Florida Gators football mailbag is full of questions from Gator Country members, so let’s get to it right away.

MrB-Gator: Update on Matt Rolin….do you think he’s healthy enough to play and will he be a contributor this year?

When we spoke with Matt in the spring he told reporters that doctors told him the next time he has an injury his career would be done. At that time it seemed like Rolin had made peace with that reality but from what I’ve seen in camp, he looks like he’s worried about getting hurt again and the real possibility that his career could be over. You can’t really blame him, but any football coach or player will tell you that when you’re playing timid or afraid of something that is when injuries happen.

Rolin, in my opinion, looks the best physically we’ve ever seen him health wise, I just don’t know how much he will play this season with guys like Antonio Morrison, Alex Anzalone, Daniel McMillian and Jarrad Davis in front of him.

Lurkingator: Will Thomas Holley give us anything this year?

Another pretty sad case of a kid with the world of potential being sidelined with an injury. Speaking with Holley in the spring I got the sense that he was told by doctors that he will have an issue with his hip again. He wasn’t given a certain day, just that with the type of injury he has he will continue to have problems with it.

It was a good sign that Holley was able to return to practice this week but I’m not sure how he will hold up health wise this season.

Slayerxing: 1) Current depth chart at safety?

2) Anything to the rumor that Vernon Hargreaves III will play offense?
3) Projected starters at WR and can they catch anything?

1) Starters: Keanu Neal, Marcus Maye.

Behind them would be Duke Dawson first, Nick Washington and then Marcell Harris.

2) I’ve seen Hargreaves catch a couple of screens on offense, there could be some plays designed for him to make something happen on offense.

3) The starting wide receivers will be Demarcus Robinson, Brandon Powell and C.J. Worton. The other receiver I like a lot on the team is Antonio Callaway. After those four I have no confidence in the rest of the group, but having four on the roster is better than past seasons.

 

Juggernautz: Which QB do you think will start the New Mexico State game?

I’m not sure. Now that we know that both quarterbacks are going to play for sure, I’m not sure who starts the game is really indicative of the quarterback battle at this point.

 

Gator_Nica: How do you think the distribution of carries plays out at running back?

I think Kelvin Taylor will get 60-65% of the carries to start the season but that you will see Jordan Scarlett and Jordan Cronkrite eat into that as the year goes on.

 

FrankGator627: Is Showers not stepping up due to injury or work ethic? What’s keeping him from becoming a playmaker?

Showers has battled an injury this camp. He’s a guy who’s in line to play behind Brandon Powell some in the slot. His skill set is versatile, like Powell, so Showers is a guy who could finally be featured in the offense but he needs to stay healthy.

GatorDon rapid fire:
How concerned are the coaches about the passing game? Dropped passes, etc

Jim McElwain will lose sleep over the dropped passes from the wide receivers.

Is the O-Line really coming together or is this still a major concern?

The O-Line was coming together well until Martez Ivey’s injury. Without Ivey the team will need to juggle around some pieces and will lose critical time that they need to gel. The situation with Ivey is minor, could have been much worse, but still not great for the Gators.

 

Is Scarlett going to see a lot of PT, or is Taylor still the man?

Jordan Scarlett will be a household name by the time the season is over.

 

Will Morrison return sooner rather than later?

I expect Antonio Morrison to be back by the Kentucky game.

Are the coaches concerned that the New Mexico St. game may produce a false sense of security?

Not at all, they can’t be. They just want to get the first win out of the way.

 

MrGator: Mac has done a great job reaching out to fans while trying to get more butts in the seats. Do you see an upward trend this year for attendance?

I’m a little concerned about the first game because it falls on Labor Day. This is the last long weekend for a lot of students and they may choose to go home to be with family. It’s also an opportunity for families to take a weekend vacation and they could choose just to watch the game on TV.

After that, attendance will reflect the product on the field. If McElwain can bring some fun back to the offense and the defense remains as exciting as they have been people will come.

“If Mac builds it, they will come.”

 

2xGator: Who is the fourth guy in the tackle rotation? If two of Sharpe, Halter, and Ivey go down do you have confidence in the next guy up?

The next guy up is Fred Johnson, a true freshman. Johnson looks a lot like Trenton Brown (he even wears the same number). He’s a physically imposing player and I like the progression he’s made in camp.

 

Gator_n_Bmore: What will the rotation look like at DT and who do you think the 2 starters will be opening night there? If Gerald Willis would have been back would he have started for this team?

The starting tackles right now are Caleb Brantley and Joey Ivie. Taven Bryan is another player that will get a lot of reps inside as well as Jon Bullard.

There is no doubt in my mind that if Gerald Willis were still on the team he would be playing this season. Willis was a major talent.

 

TheJGator: What is the feeling you’re getting from the players? E.g., do they have a quiet confidence, do they exude swagger, do they seem traumatized from the last few years, etc.?

They’re exuding a quiet confidence. Every player is talking about “surprising everyone” this season.

I don’t know how much of that is real, every team feels good about where they are at in camp and the team talked the same way before the past two seasons.

 

Albertasdad: I see comments about us being 3-0 when Tenn comes to town but I have to tell you I’m more concerned about the KY away game than the Tenn home game.

They are going to be ready for us big time especially after last year and their KY Qb is pretty darn good.

I’ve never been alive to see Kentucky beat Florida on the football field but I can tell you that I don’t think this game is a given at this time. I won’t be picking Kentucky to win but they have a good football team and they just finished renovations on their football stadium to increase the capacity and I would be surprised if that stadium isn’t packed when the Gators show up in town.

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