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    The Florida Gators will do their best to try and have something resembling a game for the Orange and Blue Debut on Saturday. / Gator Country photo by David Bowie

Florida Gators Podcast: Recapping
spring ball and recruiting

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  • Florida Gators Podcast: Recapping spring ball and recruiting
Written by Andrew Spivey, April 16, 2015, 0 Comments,
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The Florida Gators have finished spring football and with that comes a lot of questions on what the staff at Gator Country thought about how the spring went and who did well in practice.

In this edition of the Gator Country podcast we do just that as we recap all of the positions on the team plus how the Gators did in recruiting during the spring.

Listen above as Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre recap all of spring practice  and give you the state of the football program and recruiting at the University of Florida.

* * * TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:            What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, is back, and Nicholas de la Torre is back. We don’t have no surprise guest today. It’s just the same old Nicholas and Andrew. Nicholas, what’s up, brother?

Nick:            I think just you and I, that’s probably good enough, right?

Andrew:            I mean, I bring greatness, so I can carry the torch for two of us.

Nick:            Okay, that’s fine. I’ll just stay quiet then. One man show today.

Andrew:            One man, no. I don’t want to be Skip Bayless here and just sound like a ranting machine. Nobody wants to hear about us. Spring football is officially closed. Jim McElwain now has summer ball, and then fall camp, and then it’s action time. Let’s just go. Let’s just start. Give me Saturday’s impression, Nick.

Nick:            Well, I think Saturday’s impression was kind of what I expected. I don’t know if it’s what everyone expected. The offense end looked good, particularly the offensive line. I mean, even the first team offensive line, Kavaris Harkless was there working at right tackle. It just doesn’t look good. They’re Swiss cheese. There’s a lot of holes in the offensive line. I think that’s exposed. Can you have an effective running game if the offensive line can’t block well? Are they going to get a quarterback hurt? What can you expect from freshmen coming in, Martez Ivey, Richard Desir Jones. Does Andrew Ivey make a move and play offensive line?

There’s a lot of question marks on the offensive line, but I think the big thing that we did see is kind of what we’ve touched on before. That’s getting the ball into playmaker’s hands. Every single offensive coordinator, Charlie Weiss, Brent Pease, Kurt Roper, said that’s what we’ve got to do, and none of them were able to do it. You’re seeing McElwain say, listen, we’re not even going to be cute about it. We’re going to throw a quick, one step screen to Demarcus Robinson. We’re not going to try to scheme anything else. Our scheme is get the ball in his hands as quick as possible, and we think he’s going to beat the guy in front of him. They’re taking it down to the grass roots of that, but I think the main thing you saw is that offensively there’s a lot of work to do.

Andrew:            I think the thing is it was a boring game, but had the offense gone against the number one defense everyone would have been griping how bad the offense looked. That is part of the defense being really good, and part of the offense being not very good.

Nick:            This is what I think. In life, not just in football, but in life, there are no shortcuts. You either do the work, or you don’t. Right now there’s a lot of work to be done, but McElwain is making sure that the attention to detail is there. So they’re taking care of the little things with the hope that if I do the small things right enough times that those small things will turn into something bigger.

Andrew:            Yeah. I agree. I think that the play calling was well. I liked Will Grier. When you look at the spring in general I think that the one positive you could say on offense is Will Grier did what Will Grier needed to do. You agree with that?

Nick:            Yeah. It’s funny, because there was talk from places, and it’s spring so everyone talks, and everyone is a champion in the spring. I think it’s clear, and it was made clear to fans and anyone who watched the game, that there’s two groups of quarterbacks. The first group you’ve got Treon Harris, and you’ve got Will Grier. Then there’s everyone else.

It’s really just two guys competing for this job, and I think what you saw is that Will Grier is clearly ahead. It’s something that you and I have been saying throughout camp. We really haven’t wavered from that at all. It’s just timing. It’s foot work. It’s leadership ability. What fans didn’t get to see that we did get to see in the media is after the game players were doing interviews with media, and Will Grier finished up his interview session first. He saw that Treon Harris still had a bunch of us around asking questions, and he waited for him.

McElwain talked about Grier showing some frustration after dropped passes, and I think Will needs to think of himself as the starter, even though there’s a competition going, think of himself as the starting quarterback, and with that comes the responsibility of being a leader. Everyone looks to the starting quarterback to lead the team, so I think Will, even just in support of his friends, saying I’m going to wait for my friend to finish, and we’ll leave the room together. I think those little things are the leadership qualities that Will is showing, and that is what’s going to benefit him and the offense and Florida next season.

Andrew:            I agree. I think that Will kind of showed that he was a true quarterback, and Treon Harris still kind of shows that he’s an athlete playing quarterback. You see that with the under center snaps and just the progressions that Treon still has that mindset of one step, one progression, me run. Will has the thing of 1, 2, 3, then me try to run. I thought that was progress. Demarcus Robinson looked good.

For me, personally, I liked the two tight ends, Goolsby and C’yontai Lewis. Goolsby looks like the guy that is a prototypical H back tight end in a pro-style offense, and I say that in he ran several flat routes, ran the flat routes well, caught the ball, and got up field. That’s exactly what a Jim McElwain’s offense is going to look. Then C’yontai Lewis made the big plays down the field. Even though it was against walk ons or second and third string DBs, he still made the play. In my opinion that was another positive outlook on the game.

Nick:            Yeah. As Will Muschamp liked to call it, the offensive defensive end position has just been a barren wasteland for Florida. People remember Kevin Westbrook’s drop against LSU, or one of Clay Burton’s many whiffs trying to run block or pass block. Florida has such a nice run of talent at tight end with Aaron Hernandez, followed by Jordan Reed. You kind of can get into a sense of we’ve had two in a row, so we’ll keep doing that. Unfortunately, you miss on Colin Thompson and Kelvin Taylor, who were both respectively one and two tight end in their class, and then you’re left with an emptiness at a position. So Florida’s had to make up some time.

I think a guy like C’yontai Lewis needed that red shirt year. He’s 6’4”, 6’5”, probably came into Florida at 215 pounds. He’s added a good 15 pounds, 20 pounds, to that frame. This guy is an athlete. This is a guy who can 360 dunk a basketball. He can go up and get passes. He’s got a long wingspan. He’s a big target. DeAndre Goolsby, not as tall, a little bit thicker, a little bit bigger built than C’yontai, but another guy in that same mold as a Jordan Reed, the athletic kind of tight end.

Then the guy we didn’t see in the spring game, Jake McGee, who I think is going to be the starter. Last year I made a prediction that Jake McGee would lead the Gators in touchdowns and probably receptions as well. That didn’t pan out with his injury, but I think based on what you’re seeing and how much emphasis is being put on the tight end that when McGee comes in, and he’s healthy and ready to go for that first game, I’m ready to make the same prediction again. I think Jake McGee is going to be your leader in receptions and touchdowns. He’s a playmaker.

He’s more advanced than Goolsby and C’yontai as far as blocking. So that means, when you’re more well-rounded, as Kelvin Taylor found out, when you’re more well-rounded you can get into more packages. The more packages that you’re in, the more playing time you’re going to get. So I think Jake McGee will be in just about every offensive package, unless they’re going five wide, which I don’t know if you can find five receivers you’d want to put on the field at the same time. I think Jake McGee and those other guys are going to be a huge part in this offense, by design.

Andrew:            I’m going to make a prediction right now on, what day is today? April 14th, 2015, that C’yontai Lewis will have five touchdowns this year, five.

Nick:            Not bad for a red shirt freshman.

Andrew:            I love the way C’yontai Lewis played ball. He reminds me of a slower Vernon Davis, and I say that in that he has that mentality. You and I’ve met C’yontai Lewis. There’s not a man in this world he’s scared of. So going up against a safety or a linebacker he’s not going to be scared to go up. Again, I was very impressed by that. The offensive line, it’s still scary. I think if you can just find a way to get Martez Ivey into school, maybe find a transfer. I know McElwain joked about going to the waiver wire, but he needs to go the waiver wire.

He needs to go find two or three transfer that could play, because who knows what Rod Johnson’s going to do? Rod Johnson may or may not be back anymore. David Sharpe is there. Trip Thurman I think is another guy that we all think he’s coming back, but he missed a whole spring of shoulder injury. So does it reoccur in the summer and in the fall and he have to miss again? That’s another question mark.

I will say this. You and I have been hard on Cam Dillard for a lot of times. Cam Dillard actually made some strides this spring. I actually saw a guy that if needed to play a down or two he could play, and that was something that coming into the spring I’d have been like, you’re crazy.

Nick:            I think he did make strides, but I think the place where he was coming from there were a lot of strides to make, and while he has made some, I don’t share your confidence in him, if he’s going to be put into a position where you’re relying on him or counting on him.

Andrew:            I agree, and I think coming in there’s three guys in this offensive line class that are able to play next year. I think Martez Ivey, of course, is, I don’t want to say a sure fire, but he’s a guy that is going to get a look, probably with the ones from day one. Nick Buchanan out of Georgia’s a guy that is more polished than some of the guys from in state. I think he’s a guy that can play. Then Tyler Jordan. I don’t think Tyler Jordan may be physically as ready, but mentally I think he’s ready to be a guy that can contribute if needed. Again, they need offensive line help. Demarcus Robinson looked good on there. Will Grier I think we can agree with that now.

Turning to the defense real quick, before I get your opinions I want to say one thing about Daniel McMillian. He’s the guy that has had the world around him of this guys is supposed to be great, this guy is supposed to be good. He never got it mentally, but Saturday he finally looked like a linebacker that I knew and watched Daniel McMillian play at First Coast High School. He showed me things that made me believe that Daniel McMillian is ready to play, and the linebacker depth, in my opinion, is not as big of an issue as it was heading into the spring, because you have to think, Anzalone, McMillian, Rolin. Then you have Morrison and Davis who we both heard should be ready to go by the fall. That’s five good linebackers.

Nick:            Yeah. I think they’re good. To me, I wasn’t impressed really with either Jared Davis or Antonio Morrison. Last year say Tony Morrison had 103 odd tackles last year, and I say, 30 of them were solo. So then you’re getting into a situation where 30% of his 100 tackles are on him. So I’m not really sold on linebacker. I really like Alex Anzalone. I like the way that he’s stepped up into a leadership role, taken a huge burden of being the quarterback of the defense on his shoulders, and the way he handled that.

I really like Daniel McMillian. I think Daniel McMillian is, I guess his first two years on campus you’d probably say he’s a situational guy. Maybe someone that is only rushing as a Sam, only putting him in in 3rd and long situations, stuff like that. I’ve seen him progress in coverage, and I think the thing with him was always knowing the playbook and knowing what’s my responsibility. Once the play is called, I know what my responsibility is, but now if there’s motion and the Mike looks at me and checks to something, what’s my check? What are the new responsibilities? So I think I see the gears spinning less in his head when things are happening on the field, and it’s starting to come more naturally to him. You’re seeing that. He’s an athletic guy. He’s fast. He’s big. He’s strong, but when you’re thinking a lot on the field it takes away. It slows you down. You’re thinking, and you’re not able to play instinctually. So I think he’s playing more instinctually now.

Obviously, Antonio Morrison, SEC Network’s done some features on him, and you’re seeing him running on the zero gravity treadmill. He’s out there with his guys. Randy Shannon says he’s in every meeting. Even though he can’t go he’s asking questions and talking to guys and helping them out. So getting him back, at least from a leadership standpoint, obviously you need to see what you’re going to get physically, but from a leadership standpoint that would be nice.

Matt Rolin. Matt Rolin does not look as fluid or as fast as he did maybe as a recruit, before his injuries, but he looks much better than he did practicing last spring. It’s nice to see. Tough to see a kid have those two kind of injuries and those kind of setbacks. While I don’t think he’s maybe 100% yet, he’s getting closer, and he’s definitely someone that if his health continues to progress, his confidence in his knee progresses, I think it’s someone that can help out this year as well.

Andrew:            Let me go back a little bit. I want to rewind a little bit to Morrison and McMillian a little bit. I think you would agree with me, or let me say this. I feel like you will agree with me that Morrison got better from maybe Week 9 to the bowl game, and I feel like he started actually playing. You and I talked about him at Florida State. He finally looked the guy that we saw as a freshman and sophomore. Would you agree with that?

Nick:            Yeah. I can probably agree with that.

Andrew:            Then back to McMillian a little bit. We’ve all heard that Collins has tried to simplify the terms of the defense, not make it so complex I guess is what you would say. I think that maybe that’s helping him. Maybe that helps him that Collins is simplifying the terms of the defense, but also let’s not rule out that Alex Anzalone is such a smart guy that he may be helping out McMillian more than we even know. That’s something that when you put Morrison and McMillian together on the field that they both need help. I’m not sure that they can help each other. That’s why I thought the Anzalone McMillian pair together worked so well.

Now that we’ve kind of talked about the linebackers, Nick, let’s talk about the DBs and the defensive line. We don’t have a lot to talk about, so we can make this part a little shorter than other parts. All in all, kind of what we expected out of those two groups?

Nick:            Yeah. I think basically the entire defense you’re going to get what you expect. Florida’s not really going to drop a step on defense. Really all the question marks and everything is on offense. It’s up to Jim McElwain, and he’s making steps, but they’re baby steps. That’s how it’s going to be for a while.

Andrew:            Right. We just got breaking news as we were doing the podcast that Rod Johnson is officially done with football. It’s tough. I got to know the guy really well. Rod, great guy, great talent. You and I kind of had the feeling that this was going to happen, but due to some HIPAA laws we weren’t able to really discuss it too much. No replacing Rod. It just is what it is. There’s no replacing Rod.

Nick:            I think both of us, football aside, what he’s going through right now is really tough. Cervical stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal column. The condition is really only prevalent in older people, mainly women who’ve had osteoporosis, and their bones are becoming more fragile. So I’m assuming, based on the research that I was able to do about the condition, that it’s something he was born with, and when it comes down to it, football’s just a game. It’s devastating news for someone who’s 21 years old to walk into a doctor’s office and be told the thing you’ve been doing your entire life, and the thing that you planned on doing for the rest, or the next 20 years, that’s not it. Hopefully you have a Plan B, because it’s all over now.

So it’s a really tough pill to swallow for Rod, and I know, even before we touch into what it means for Florida and on the field, both you and I feel terrible for him. Wish him only the best. Guy with a ton of energy, a ton of passion for the game, and I think fans saw that on the field, whether he was celebrating or angry about a play. Just tough news for him and for his family, and we wish both he and his family the best.

Andrew:            It’s tough. It makes his education more important to him now. It’s a good thing that he gets that opportunity to kind of fulfill that. I think you and I can both to speak to this. We both had the opportunity to meet him. Rod’s got a bright future. He’s a good guy, great guy, great family. Wish him the best of luck, and hopefully he can stay around the team. Who knows what will happen in the future with Big Rod, but tough break.

I guess, to kind of wrap up this spring in general, what are you feeling like is the biggest thing that needs to happen between April 14th, now, and the time that they get to the first game?

Nick:            Let’s see. I think you really need to continue building an offensive identity. You’re going to have to make do with the offensive line. You don’t want to have to depend on freshman, but there might be a freshman in the starting five in the offensive line. Just building an offensive identity and building some confidence in the offensive players.

The defense is dripping with swag. They don’t have any extra need for confidence. They’re going to be good. They know they’re going to be good, and they’re going to tell you how good they are. So it’s really the offense and trying to build the confidence in them, trying to have them feeling good about themselves and the plan going into the year.

Andrew:            I agree. I think that going through the rest of the summer is team chemistry. Team chemistry I think is the biggest thing for this team going in. How does Will Grier, how does Treon Harris, how do they build a repertoire with Demarcus Robinson? Continue through that. How does the team led practices go? Say what you want about Jeff Driskel, the guy was a leader off the field during the summer and was able to get those things going together. Will Grier and Treon’s going to have to do that as well.

Plus, come June 1st, Jordan Scarlett’s going to be in town. Cronkrite’s going to be in town. Callaway’s going to be in town. Those guys are going to be there. So how much do they get involved in it and get familiar with the playbook before fall camp comes? Then I think we both expect that Jordan Scarlett’s going to play. It’s Kelvin Taylor and really nobody at the running back position right now. They need Scarlett.

Nick:            Hey, I just mentioned you don’t want to have to rely on a freshman, talking about the offensive line, but Jordan Scarlett can play some football, and I don’t think it’s a stretch, and I don’t think it’s in a bad spot to say that you’re depending on a freshman in Jordan Scarlett to carry the football. It’s my opinion, I’m sticking to it, is that when Jordan Scarlett gets on campus I think he has the potential and can be the best running back on the roster from day 1 when he steps on. So I really expect a lot of big things from him.

Speaking to his high school coaches, go Raiders, at St. Thomas Aquinas, they love the kid. Talking about his tenacity off the field in the film room, in the weight room. I have a friend who owns a gym in south Florida that Scarlett’s been working at, and he has nothing but glowing things to say about Scarlett’s work ethic in the gym. Scarlett does not look like a freshman.

I really think that Florida will be in good hands with him, but that being said, I think this season could be a little bit tough, especially offensively, as you try to fill in the pieces. Which means recruiting still needs to be on point, because Florida is building. Make no mistake about this, this is a rebuilding program. Jim McElwain knows that recruiting is the life blood of college football, so he needs to stay recruiting.

Andrew, there was a big weekend at the Orange and Blue game, a ton of recruits in town. I know the spring evaluation period is coming up soon. So where do the Gators need, obviously there’s offensive linemen. If you have a pulse, and you weigh 275 pounds, they might have offered you as an offensive lineman by now. Who are some of the guys Florida is focusing on as the spring evaluation period comes up?

Nick:            Quarterback. Quarterback. Quarterback. That is the focus of it. Go in there, figure out a way to find a quarterback that you like in person, for Nussmeyer, for McElwain, and offer them. Get them on campus, and figure out a way to get a commitment. I think you and I both agree that Treon Harris, if he loses the job, probably transfers in two years. So that means Will Grier and nobody. Got to have a quarterback in this class. That’s where it’ll start.

Wednesday, April 15th, is the first day they can get out. I don’t think they go out until probably closer to the end of the month, first of May, because that’s when spring football really gets underway, and that’s when they can do the best of their evaluations. The beginning, from April 15th to the end of April, will kind of be slow. Maybe here and there visiting out of state prospects, that kind of thing, but you won’t really see the coaching staff in the state of Florida until May 1st when spring practice starts.

That, a quarterback, and offensive linemen, that is the biggest thing they’re looking at right now. Then probably next would be linebackers. They only have one committed right now in the class. They’re looking for four, so they’re going for three more. In my opinion this is big for the staff to get out and get 2017 offers out, as well as evaluating these 2016 guys. Florida now is in a position where for the 2017 class they’re not playing catchup anymore. So get out, offer some of these top 2017 kids. Start building that relationship so that this time next year you’re not playing catchup, you’re ahead of the pack with 2017 kids.

Nick:            That’s no detriment to say Mac’s not doing his job. He said it frankly, and I think you would agree that, obviously they were behind in this past recruiting class, but they’re also behind in this current one, because going up against Nick Sabin and Les Miles and Butch Jones, these guys who have been at the schools for years now. They have relationship with the 2016 kids. They have relationships with the 2017 kids. Jim McElwain at Colorado State isn’t competing for the same kind of kids that he’s competing for at Florida. So he’s right to say that he’s behind in the 2016 class.

Andrew:            Yeah. One of the kids that in my opinion is a Gator that love Florida is Jordan Woods, defensive end from Ocala, Trinity Catholic, and he loves Florida. He’s been to Florida several times, and he himself came out and said, I’m trying to get to know this coaching staff, because for the last two years I have been coming to games and meeting with Will Muschamp, Brad Lawing, DJ Durkin, and those guys. It’s tough.

It’s real tough, because, again, McElwain had to put so much focus into that 2015 class for that last month, month and a half of his visit times, and he wasn’t able to really do a lot of my name is Jim McElwain, I’m the head coach, to 2016, 2017 kids. It’s not an excuse. It’s not a McElwain sucks as a recruiter. It’s true. It’s life. Recruiting is a two-three year process, and McElwain’s trying to recruit these 2016 kids in a year. It’s tough. He’s doing a dang good job, but it’s tough. Get out. Get the 2017 kids there is the biggest thing for the evaluation period.

To go back to the Orange and Blue game, what we talked about. Big weekend, like you say. Maybe the biggest guy that they had in was your favorite player, Sam Bruce. Big guy from St. Thomas Aquinas, 5’8”, 185 pounds. If I told you 5’8”, 180 pounds, Florida’s recruiting him, you’d be like, why? He’s not your typical 5’8”.

Nick:            Go watch Jordan Scarlett’s highlight tape, and you’ll see Number 6 at St. Thomas Aquinas blowing up safeties, linebackers, cornerbacks. Sam Bruce is a dog on the field, and he does not play like someone who’s 5’8”.

Andrew:            No. Absolutely not. The thing is, like you say, Jordan Scarlett, that’s his best friend. They live together a lot of times. Jordan Scarlett is very close to Bruce and his mom. Bruce’s mom said she’s going to be at every one of Jordan’s games this fall. That means Sam’s going to follow along, be in there as well. He said he’s 70% committed to Miami. In my opinion that’s just a number he’s throwing out. He’ll probably stay committed to Miami for most of the recruiting cycle, and then towards the end of the game is when you’ll start to see fireworks happen. Again, if Florida has the room in it when he gets ready to make that move I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at Florida. I really wouldn’t.

Probably the next biggest guy would be probably offensive lineman Marcus Tatum. Again, you said you need offensive linemen, Coach Mac. There’s your guy, from Daytona mainland. Right now Florida and Auburn are standing out. He’s going to try to make a decision by the end of the summer. He goes to Auburn this coming weekend for their spring game. Florida needs to manage that blow that they’re going to take to their momentum when he goes up to Auburn this weekend. Tatum will be back on campus in the summertime, probably for a camp. I think he wants to come and watch Summers during camp. That’ll be good for them as well.

Right now they’re sitting with eight commits. In my opinion that’s good. I think they’ll pick up a few more the spring and the summer, go into the fall with probably 10-15 commits. That’s a good idea of where you’re at, and then as the fall goes on, as bad as the offense may look, I think you’ll see some strides, and that’ll help with the momentum of recruiting in the fall.

Nick:            Here’s a question. Obviously we’ve talked about how many numbers. Florida probably needs to sign 6, maybe 7, offensive linemen this class. With the news of Rod Johnson, his career being done, what is the golden number? What is the target number that Florida should be shooting for to sign offensive linemen in this class?

Andrew:            I still think you have to stick to 5 or 6. I think when you start to try to sign 7, 8, 9, then you almost go into a problem of being too big in one class that it’s tough to recruit the next class.

Nick:            We’ll say this. With Rod Johnson’s news, and then when the new crop comes in, Florida will have just 12 scholarship offensive linemen this season, 2015.

Andrew:            Correct me if my memories wrong, only one of those would be a senior, correct? That’ll be Trip Thurman.

Nick:            Yeah, just Trip.

Andrew:            So it’s 11. Just say you sign six in this class, that’s 17. That’s perfect. In my opinion you want to have 15-18 linemen on scholarship at all times, because you’re going to always have some red shirt. In my opinion, I want to have two deep at every position with a few extra guys mixed in to work practice. If you can do that, you’re okay. I don’t think Florida goes into this season with 11 offensive linemen, or 12, whatever you just said, 12. I think they’ll sign some transfer. I don’t know who it is, so don’t ask me. I don’t know. I’m just speculating. Sorry, Coach Mac, I’m speculating. There’s no way they go in with 12.

I think they go sign a graduate transfer that’ll be gone, and you’ll sign six again. Maybe this class is good with signing five high school guys, and maybe one or two JUCO guys. I think you need a JUCO guy. Again, because depth is still going to be an issue next year. So six is the number. I just think when you get more than six you run into a problem of recruiting down the line.

Nick:            That’s obviously something that, like you’re saying, it can be counterproductive. Obviously, Florida might want to sign 10 this class just to have numbers, but, like you said, it’s kind of a double edged sword, because you might end up in a situation where you’re making it harder for yourself to get guys in the next class. Recruiting’s like walking on egg shells. Every action seems to have a negative reaction to go with it. It’s definitely something to keep track of. Like you mentioned, getting a quarterback is probably the paramount goal early on, and you really have a short timetable, because most guys are going to be making a commitment and sticking with that in June, July.

Andrew:            You want that guy to be your leader of your class.

Nick:            Right. The cornerstone, the face of your class, the guy that other prospects point to and say, I want to play with him. That was Will Grier two years ago.

Andrew:            You look at Treon Harris last year, Antonio Callaway, Scarlett mentioned him. Cronkite mentioned him. Guys are mentioning those guys, because they always look at the quarterback. Demarcus Robinson’s great, and he’s a very good player. Kelvin Taylor’s a very good player, but you rarely hear a kid say, I want to play with that guy. That’s no disrespect to either one of those guys. It’s simply that you need a quarterback. We all see last year, Florida had no quarterback, so they suck. The Bucks, the Jaguars, they have no quarterback, so they suck. It’s the lifeblood of football. So, again, need a quarterback, but we still got a little bit of time. It’s going to be recruiting for now. Nick, I think that’s about all for this time. We’ve kind of run over a little bit.

Nick:            There is one thing I wanted to mention. In our fantasy baseball week, which began last week, yours truly and Andrew Spivey squared off. Andrew, can you tell the people what happened last week?

Andrew:            Sure, I took an L, but can you tell me what 1-6 means to your Miami Marlins?

Nick:            Took an L. That’s what I wanted to hear. I won the week with 5 wins, 3 losses. We tied two categories. Thank you. Thank you, very much. That’s what great coaching, great general managing, and just great ownership on my part.

Andrew:            What happened to that broom in Miami last Wednesday?

Nick:            The Braves brought in the broom. They are the janitors. They’re janitors of the NL East, and that’ll prove. They’ll be the janitors in the basement cleaning up when it’s all said and done, as the Marlins and Nationals run away with the East and can go to the playoffs.

Andrew:            Okay. We’ll see. Gator Country, we’ll see. I don’t think the Marlins are that good. 1-6 compared to 6-1 Bravos, but we like to chop in Atlanta. That’s all for me today. Nick, let’s sign off, brother.

Nick:            You, stay class, Gator Nation.

Andrew:            Take care, Gator Country.

Andrew Spivey

About Andrew Spivey

Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.

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The Florida Gators have finished spring football and with that comes a lot of questions on what the staff at Gator Country thought about how the spring went and who did well in practice.

In this edition of the Gator Country podcast we do just that as we recap all of the positions on the team plus how the Gators did in recruiting during the spring.

Listen above as Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre recap all of spring practice  and give you the state of the football program and recruiting at the University of Florida.

* * * TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:            What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, is back, and Nicholas de la Torre is back. We don’t have no surprise guest today. It’s just the same old Nicholas and Andrew. Nicholas, what’s up, brother?

Nick:            I think just you and I, that’s probably good enough, right?

Andrew:            I mean, I bring greatness, so I can carry the torch for two of us.

Nick:            Okay, that’s fine. I’ll just stay quiet then. One man show today.

Andrew:            One man, no. I don’t want to be Skip Bayless here and just sound like a ranting machine. Nobody wants to hear about us. Spring football is officially closed. Jim McElwain now has summer ball, and then fall camp, and then it’s action time. Let’s just go. Let’s just start. Give me Saturday’s impression, Nick.

Nick:            Well, I think Saturday’s impression was kind of what I expected. I don’t know if it’s what everyone expected. The offense end looked good, particularly the offensive line. I mean, even the first team offensive line, Kavaris Harkless was there working at right tackle. It just doesn’t look good. They’re Swiss cheese. There’s a lot of holes in the offensive line. I think that’s exposed. Can you have an effective running game if the offensive line can’t block well? Are they going to get a quarterback hurt? What can you expect from freshmen coming in, Martez Ivey, Richard Desir Jones. Does Andrew Ivey make a move and play offensive line?

There’s a lot of question marks on the offensive line, but I think the big thing that we did see is kind of what we’ve touched on before. That’s getting the ball into playmaker’s hands. Every single offensive coordinator, Charlie Weiss, Brent Pease, Kurt Roper, said that’s what we’ve got to do, and none of them were able to do it. You’re seeing McElwain say, listen, we’re not even going to be cute about it. We’re going to throw a quick, one step screen to Demarcus Robinson. We’re not going to try to scheme anything else. Our scheme is get the ball in his hands as quick as possible, and we think he’s going to beat the guy in front of him. They’re taking it down to the grass roots of that, but I think the main thing you saw is that offensively there’s a lot of work to do.

Andrew:            I think the thing is it was a boring game, but had the offense gone against the number one defense everyone would have been griping how bad the offense looked. That is part of the defense being really good, and part of the offense being not very good.

Nick:            This is what I think. In life, not just in football, but in life, there are no shortcuts. You either do the work, or you don’t. Right now there’s a lot of work to be done, but McElwain is making sure that the attention to detail is there. So they’re taking care of the little things with the hope that if I do the small things right enough times that those small things will turn into something bigger.

Andrew:            Yeah. I agree. I think that the play calling was well. I liked Will Grier. When you look at the spring in general I think that the one positive you could say on offense is Will Grier did what Will Grier needed to do. You agree with that?

Nick:            Yeah. It’s funny, because there was talk from places, and it’s spring so everyone talks, and everyone is a champion in the spring. I think it’s clear, and it was made clear to fans and anyone who watched the game, that there’s two groups of quarterbacks. The first group you’ve got Treon Harris, and you’ve got Will Grier. Then there’s everyone else.

It’s really just two guys competing for this job, and I think what you saw is that Will Grier is clearly ahead. It’s something that you and I have been saying throughout camp. We really haven’t wavered from that at all. It’s just timing. It’s foot work. It’s leadership ability. What fans didn’t get to see that we did get to see in the media is after the game players were doing interviews with media, and Will Grier finished up his interview session first. He saw that Treon Harris still had a bunch of us around asking questions, and he waited for him.

McElwain talked about Grier showing some frustration after dropped passes, and I think Will needs to think of himself as the starter, even though there’s a competition going, think of himself as the starting quarterback, and with that comes the responsibility of being a leader. Everyone looks to the starting quarterback to lead the team, so I think Will, even just in support of his friends, saying I’m going to wait for my friend to finish, and we’ll leave the room together. I think those little things are the leadership qualities that Will is showing, and that is what’s going to benefit him and the offense and Florida next season.

Andrew:            I agree. I think that Will kind of showed that he was a true quarterback, and Treon Harris still kind of shows that he’s an athlete playing quarterback. You see that with the under center snaps and just the progressions that Treon still has that mindset of one step, one progression, me run. Will has the thing of 1, 2, 3, then me try to run. I thought that was progress. Demarcus Robinson looked good.

For me, personally, I liked the two tight ends, Goolsby and C’yontai Lewis. Goolsby looks like the guy that is a prototypical H back tight end in a pro-style offense, and I say that in he ran several flat routes, ran the flat routes well, caught the ball, and got up field. That’s exactly what a Jim McElwain’s offense is going to look. Then C’yontai Lewis made the big plays down the field. Even though it was against walk ons or second and third string DBs, he still made the play. In my opinion that was another positive outlook on the game.

Nick:            Yeah. As Will Muschamp liked to call it, the offensive defensive end position has just been a barren wasteland for Florida. People remember Kevin Westbrook’s drop against LSU, or one of Clay Burton’s many whiffs trying to run block or pass block. Florida has such a nice run of talent at tight end with Aaron Hernandez, followed by Jordan Reed. You kind of can get into a sense of we’ve had two in a row, so we’ll keep doing that. Unfortunately, you miss on Colin Thompson and Kelvin Taylor, who were both respectively one and two tight end in their class, and then you’re left with an emptiness at a position. So Florida’s had to make up some time.

I think a guy like C’yontai Lewis needed that red shirt year. He’s 6’4”, 6’5”, probably came into Florida at 215 pounds. He’s added a good 15 pounds, 20 pounds, to that frame. This guy is an athlete. This is a guy who can 360 dunk a basketball. He can go up and get passes. He’s got a long wingspan. He’s a big target. DeAndre Goolsby, not as tall, a little bit thicker, a little bit bigger built than C’yontai, but another guy in that same mold as a Jordan Reed, the athletic kind of tight end.

Then the guy we didn’t see in the spring game, Jake McGee, who I think is going to be the starter. Last year I made a prediction that Jake McGee would lead the Gators in touchdowns and probably receptions as well. That didn’t pan out with his injury, but I think based on what you’re seeing and how much emphasis is being put on the tight end that when McGee comes in, and he’s healthy and ready to go for that first game, I’m ready to make the same prediction again. I think Jake McGee is going to be your leader in receptions and touchdowns. He’s a playmaker.

He’s more advanced than Goolsby and C’yontai as far as blocking. So that means, when you’re more well-rounded, as Kelvin Taylor found out, when you’re more well-rounded you can get into more packages. The more packages that you’re in, the more playing time you’re going to get. So I think Jake McGee will be in just about every offensive package, unless they’re going five wide, which I don’t know if you can find five receivers you’d want to put on the field at the same time. I think Jake McGee and those other guys are going to be a huge part in this offense, by design.

Andrew:            I’m going to make a prediction right now on, what day is today? April 14th, 2015, that C’yontai Lewis will have five touchdowns this year, five.

Nick:            Not bad for a red shirt freshman.

Andrew:            I love the way C’yontai Lewis played ball. He reminds me of a slower Vernon Davis, and I say that in that he has that mentality. You and I’ve met C’yontai Lewis. There’s not a man in this world he’s scared of. So going up against a safety or a linebacker he’s not going to be scared to go up. Again, I was very impressed by that. The offensive line, it’s still scary. I think if you can just find a way to get Martez Ivey into school, maybe find a transfer. I know McElwain joked about going to the waiver wire, but he needs to go the waiver wire.

He needs to go find two or three transfer that could play, because who knows what Rod Johnson’s going to do? Rod Johnson may or may not be back anymore. David Sharpe is there. Trip Thurman I think is another guy that we all think he’s coming back, but he missed a whole spring of shoulder injury. So does it reoccur in the summer and in the fall and he have to miss again? That’s another question mark.

I will say this. You and I have been hard on Cam Dillard for a lot of times. Cam Dillard actually made some strides this spring. I actually saw a guy that if needed to play a down or two he could play, and that was something that coming into the spring I’d have been like, you’re crazy.

Nick:            I think he did make strides, but I think the place where he was coming from there were a lot of strides to make, and while he has made some, I don’t share your confidence in him, if he’s going to be put into a position where you’re relying on him or counting on him.

Andrew:            I agree, and I think coming in there’s three guys in this offensive line class that are able to play next year. I think Martez Ivey, of course, is, I don’t want to say a sure fire, but he’s a guy that is going to get a look, probably with the ones from day one. Nick Buchanan out of Georgia’s a guy that is more polished than some of the guys from in state. I think he’s a guy that can play. Then Tyler Jordan. I don’t think Tyler Jordan may be physically as ready, but mentally I think he’s ready to be a guy that can contribute if needed. Again, they need offensive line help. Demarcus Robinson looked good on there. Will Grier I think we can agree with that now.

Turning to the defense real quick, before I get your opinions I want to say one thing about Daniel McMillian. He’s the guy that has had the world around him of this guys is supposed to be great, this guy is supposed to be good. He never got it mentally, but Saturday he finally looked like a linebacker that I knew and watched Daniel McMillian play at First Coast High School. He showed me things that made me believe that Daniel McMillian is ready to play, and the linebacker depth, in my opinion, is not as big of an issue as it was heading into the spring, because you have to think, Anzalone, McMillian, Rolin. Then you have Morrison and Davis who we both heard should be ready to go by the fall. That’s five good linebackers.

Nick:            Yeah. I think they’re good. To me, I wasn’t impressed really with either Jared Davis or Antonio Morrison. Last year say Tony Morrison had 103 odd tackles last year, and I say, 30 of them were solo. So then you’re getting into a situation where 30% of his 100 tackles are on him. So I’m not really sold on linebacker. I really like Alex Anzalone. I like the way that he’s stepped up into a leadership role, taken a huge burden of being the quarterback of the defense on his shoulders, and the way he handled that.

I really like Daniel McMillian. I think Daniel McMillian is, I guess his first two years on campus you’d probably say he’s a situational guy. Maybe someone that is only rushing as a Sam, only putting him in in 3rd and long situations, stuff like that. I’ve seen him progress in coverage, and I think the thing with him was always knowing the playbook and knowing what’s my responsibility. Once the play is called, I know what my responsibility is, but now if there’s motion and the Mike looks at me and checks to something, what’s my check? What are the new responsibilities? So I think I see the gears spinning less in his head when things are happening on the field, and it’s starting to come more naturally to him. You’re seeing that. He’s an athletic guy. He’s fast. He’s big. He’s strong, but when you’re thinking a lot on the field it takes away. It slows you down. You’re thinking, and you’re not able to play instinctually. So I think he’s playing more instinctually now.

Obviously, Antonio Morrison, SEC Network’s done some features on him, and you’re seeing him running on the zero gravity treadmill. He’s out there with his guys. Randy Shannon says he’s in every meeting. Even though he can’t go he’s asking questions and talking to guys and helping them out. So getting him back, at least from a leadership standpoint, obviously you need to see what you’re going to get physically, but from a leadership standpoint that would be nice.

Matt Rolin. Matt Rolin does not look as fluid or as fast as he did maybe as a recruit, before his injuries, but he looks much better than he did practicing last spring. It’s nice to see. Tough to see a kid have those two kind of injuries and those kind of setbacks. While I don’t think he’s maybe 100% yet, he’s getting closer, and he’s definitely someone that if his health continues to progress, his confidence in his knee progresses, I think it’s someone that can help out this year as well.

Andrew:            Let me go back a little bit. I want to rewind a little bit to Morrison and McMillian a little bit. I think you would agree with me, or let me say this. I feel like you will agree with me that Morrison got better from maybe Week 9 to the bowl game, and I feel like he started actually playing. You and I talked about him at Florida State. He finally looked the guy that we saw as a freshman and sophomore. Would you agree with that?

Nick:            Yeah. I can probably agree with that.

Andrew:            Then back to McMillian a little bit. We’ve all heard that Collins has tried to simplify the terms of the defense, not make it so complex I guess is what you would say. I think that maybe that’s helping him. Maybe that helps him that Collins is simplifying the terms of the defense, but also let’s not rule out that Alex Anzalone is such a smart guy that he may be helping out McMillian more than we even know. That’s something that when you put Morrison and McMillian together on the field that they both need help. I’m not sure that they can help each other. That’s why I thought the Anzalone McMillian pair together worked so well.

Now that we’ve kind of talked about the linebackers, Nick, let’s talk about the DBs and the defensive line. We don’t have a lot to talk about, so we can make this part a little shorter than other parts. All in all, kind of what we expected out of those two groups?

Nick:            Yeah. I think basically the entire defense you’re going to get what you expect. Florida’s not really going to drop a step on defense. Really all the question marks and everything is on offense. It’s up to Jim McElwain, and he’s making steps, but they’re baby steps. That’s how it’s going to be for a while.

Andrew:            Right. We just got breaking news as we were doing the podcast that Rod Johnson is officially done with football. It’s tough. I got to know the guy really well. Rod, great guy, great talent. You and I kind of had the feeling that this was going to happen, but due to some HIPAA laws we weren’t able to really discuss it too much. No replacing Rod. It just is what it is. There’s no replacing Rod.

Nick:            I think both of us, football aside, what he’s going through right now is really tough. Cervical stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal column. The condition is really only prevalent in older people, mainly women who’ve had osteoporosis, and their bones are becoming more fragile. So I’m assuming, based on the research that I was able to do about the condition, that it’s something he was born with, and when it comes down to it, football’s just a game. It’s devastating news for someone who’s 21 years old to walk into a doctor’s office and be told the thing you’ve been doing your entire life, and the thing that you planned on doing for the rest, or the next 20 years, that’s not it. Hopefully you have a Plan B, because it’s all over now.

So it’s a really tough pill to swallow for Rod, and I know, even before we touch into what it means for Florida and on the field, both you and I feel terrible for him. Wish him only the best. Guy with a ton of energy, a ton of passion for the game, and I think fans saw that on the field, whether he was celebrating or angry about a play. Just tough news for him and for his family, and we wish both he and his family the best.

Andrew:            It’s tough. It makes his education more important to him now. It’s a good thing that he gets that opportunity to kind of fulfill that. I think you and I can both to speak to this. We both had the opportunity to meet him. Rod’s got a bright future. He’s a good guy, great guy, great family. Wish him the best of luck, and hopefully he can stay around the team. Who knows what will happen in the future with Big Rod, but tough break.

I guess, to kind of wrap up this spring in general, what are you feeling like is the biggest thing that needs to happen between April 14th, now, and the time that they get to the first game?

Nick:            Let’s see. I think you really need to continue building an offensive identity. You’re going to have to make do with the offensive line. You don’t want to have to depend on freshman, but there might be a freshman in the starting five in the offensive line. Just building an offensive identity and building some confidence in the offensive players.

The defense is dripping with swag. They don’t have any extra need for confidence. They’re going to be good. They know they’re going to be good, and they’re going to tell you how good they are. So it’s really the offense and trying to build the confidence in them, trying to have them feeling good about themselves and the plan going into the year.

Andrew:            I agree. I think that going through the rest of the summer is team chemistry. Team chemistry I think is the biggest thing for this team going in. How does Will Grier, how does Treon Harris, how do they build a repertoire with Demarcus Robinson? Continue through that. How does the team led practices go? Say what you want about Jeff Driskel, the guy was a leader off the field during the summer and was able to get those things going together. Will Grier and Treon’s going to have to do that as well.

Plus, come June 1st, Jordan Scarlett’s going to be in town. Cronkrite’s going to be in town. Callaway’s going to be in town. Those guys are going to be there. So how much do they get involved in it and get familiar with the playbook before fall camp comes? Then I think we both expect that Jordan Scarlett’s going to play. It’s Kelvin Taylor and really nobody at the running back position right now. They need Scarlett.

Nick:            Hey, I just mentioned you don’t want to have to rely on a freshman, talking about the offensive line, but Jordan Scarlett can play some football, and I don’t think it’s a stretch, and I don’t think it’s in a bad spot to say that you’re depending on a freshman in Jordan Scarlett to carry the football. It’s my opinion, I’m sticking to it, is that when Jordan Scarlett gets on campus I think he has the potential and can be the best running back on the roster from day 1 when he steps on. So I really expect a lot of big things from him.

Speaking to his high school coaches, go Raiders, at St. Thomas Aquinas, they love the kid. Talking about his tenacity off the field in the film room, in the weight room. I have a friend who owns a gym in south Florida that Scarlett’s been working at, and he has nothing but glowing things to say about Scarlett’s work ethic in the gym. Scarlett does not look like a freshman.

I really think that Florida will be in good hands with him, but that being said, I think this season could be a little bit tough, especially offensively, as you try to fill in the pieces. Which means recruiting still needs to be on point, because Florida is building. Make no mistake about this, this is a rebuilding program. Jim McElwain knows that recruiting is the life blood of college football, so he needs to stay recruiting.

Andrew, there was a big weekend at the Orange and Blue game, a ton of recruits in town. I know the spring evaluation period is coming up soon. So where do the Gators need, obviously there’s offensive linemen. If you have a pulse, and you weigh 275 pounds, they might have offered you as an offensive lineman by now. Who are some of the guys Florida is focusing on as the spring evaluation period comes up?

Nick:            Quarterback. Quarterback. Quarterback. That is the focus of it. Go in there, figure out a way to find a quarterback that you like in person, for Nussmeyer, for McElwain, and offer them. Get them on campus, and figure out a way to get a commitment. I think you and I both agree that Treon Harris, if he loses the job, probably transfers in two years. So that means Will Grier and nobody. Got to have a quarterback in this class. That’s where it’ll start.

Wednesday, April 15th, is the first day they can get out. I don’t think they go out until probably closer to the end of the month, first of May, because that’s when spring football really gets underway, and that’s when they can do the best of their evaluations. The beginning, from April 15th to the end of April, will kind of be slow. Maybe here and there visiting out of state prospects, that kind of thing, but you won’t really see the coaching staff in the state of Florida until May 1st when spring practice starts.

That, a quarterback, and offensive linemen, that is the biggest thing they’re looking at right now. Then probably next would be linebackers. They only have one committed right now in the class. They’re looking for four, so they’re going for three more. In my opinion this is big for the staff to get out and get 2017 offers out, as well as evaluating these 2016 guys. Florida now is in a position where for the 2017 class they’re not playing catchup anymore. So get out, offer some of these top 2017 kids. Start building that relationship so that this time next year you’re not playing catchup, you’re ahead of the pack with 2017 kids.

Nick:            That’s no detriment to say Mac’s not doing his job. He said it frankly, and I think you would agree that, obviously they were behind in this past recruiting class, but they’re also behind in this current one, because going up against Nick Sabin and Les Miles and Butch Jones, these guys who have been at the schools for years now. They have relationship with the 2016 kids. They have relationships with the 2017 kids. Jim McElwain at Colorado State isn’t competing for the same kind of kids that he’s competing for at Florida. So he’s right to say that he’s behind in the 2016 class.

Andrew:            Yeah. One of the kids that in my opinion is a Gator that love Florida is Jordan Woods, defensive end from Ocala, Trinity Catholic, and he loves Florida. He’s been to Florida several times, and he himself came out and said, I’m trying to get to know this coaching staff, because for the last two years I have been coming to games and meeting with Will Muschamp, Brad Lawing, DJ Durkin, and those guys. It’s tough.

It’s real tough, because, again, McElwain had to put so much focus into that 2015 class for that last month, month and a half of his visit times, and he wasn’t able to really do a lot of my name is Jim McElwain, I’m the head coach, to 2016, 2017 kids. It’s not an excuse. It’s not a McElwain sucks as a recruiter. It’s true. It’s life. Recruiting is a two-three year process, and McElwain’s trying to recruit these 2016 kids in a year. It’s tough. He’s doing a dang good job, but it’s tough. Get out. Get the 2017 kids there is the biggest thing for the evaluation period.

To go back to the Orange and Blue game, what we talked about. Big weekend, like you say. Maybe the biggest guy that they had in was your favorite player, Sam Bruce. Big guy from St. Thomas Aquinas, 5’8”, 185 pounds. If I told you 5’8”, 180 pounds, Florida’s recruiting him, you’d be like, why? He’s not your typical 5’8”.

Nick:            Go watch Jordan Scarlett’s highlight tape, and you’ll see Number 6 at St. Thomas Aquinas blowing up safeties, linebackers, cornerbacks. Sam Bruce is a dog on the field, and he does not play like someone who’s 5’8”.

Andrew:            No. Absolutely not. The thing is, like you say, Jordan Scarlett, that’s his best friend. They live together a lot of times. Jordan Scarlett is very close to Bruce and his mom. Bruce’s mom said she’s going to be at every one of Jordan’s games this fall. That means Sam’s going to follow along, be in there as well. He said he’s 70% committed to Miami. In my opinion that’s just a number he’s throwing out. He’ll probably stay committed to Miami for most of the recruiting cycle, and then towards the end of the game is when you’ll start to see fireworks happen. Again, if Florida has the room in it when he gets ready to make that move I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at Florida. I really wouldn’t.

Probably the next biggest guy would be probably offensive lineman Marcus Tatum. Again, you said you need offensive linemen, Coach Mac. There’s your guy, from Daytona mainland. Right now Florida and Auburn are standing out. He’s going to try to make a decision by the end of the summer. He goes to Auburn this coming weekend for their spring game. Florida needs to manage that blow that they’re going to take to their momentum when he goes up to Auburn this weekend. Tatum will be back on campus in the summertime, probably for a camp. I think he wants to come and watch Summers during camp. That’ll be good for them as well.

Right now they’re sitting with eight commits. In my opinion that’s good. I think they’ll pick up a few more the spring and the summer, go into the fall with probably 10-15 commits. That’s a good idea of where you’re at, and then as the fall goes on, as bad as the offense may look, I think you’ll see some strides, and that’ll help with the momentum of recruiting in the fall.

Nick:            Here’s a question. Obviously we’ve talked about how many numbers. Florida probably needs to sign 6, maybe 7, offensive linemen this class. With the news of Rod Johnson, his career being done, what is the golden number? What is the target number that Florida should be shooting for to sign offensive linemen in this class?

Andrew:            I still think you have to stick to 5 or 6. I think when you start to try to sign 7, 8, 9, then you almost go into a problem of being too big in one class that it’s tough to recruit the next class.

Nick:            We’ll say this. With Rod Johnson’s news, and then when the new crop comes in, Florida will have just 12 scholarship offensive linemen this season, 2015.

Andrew:            Correct me if my memories wrong, only one of those would be a senior, correct? That’ll be Trip Thurman.

Nick:            Yeah, just Trip.

Andrew:            So it’s 11. Just say you sign six in this class, that’s 17. That’s perfect. In my opinion you want to have 15-18 linemen on scholarship at all times, because you’re going to always have some red shirt. In my opinion, I want to have two deep at every position with a few extra guys mixed in to work practice. If you can do that, you’re okay. I don’t think Florida goes into this season with 11 offensive linemen, or 12, whatever you just said, 12. I think they’ll sign some transfer. I don’t know who it is, so don’t ask me. I don’t know. I’m just speculating. Sorry, Coach Mac, I’m speculating. There’s no way they go in with 12.

I think they go sign a graduate transfer that’ll be gone, and you’ll sign six again. Maybe this class is good with signing five high school guys, and maybe one or two JUCO guys. I think you need a JUCO guy. Again, because depth is still going to be an issue next year. So six is the number. I just think when you get more than six you run into a problem of recruiting down the line.

Nick:            That’s obviously something that, like you’re saying, it can be counterproductive. Obviously, Florida might want to sign 10 this class just to have numbers, but, like you said, it’s kind of a double edged sword, because you might end up in a situation where you’re making it harder for yourself to get guys in the next class. Recruiting’s like walking on egg shells. Every action seems to have a negative reaction to go with it. It’s definitely something to keep track of. Like you mentioned, getting a quarterback is probably the paramount goal early on, and you really have a short timetable, because most guys are going to be making a commitment and sticking with that in June, July.

Andrew:            You want that guy to be your leader of your class.

Nick:            Right. The cornerstone, the face of your class, the guy that other prospects point to and say, I want to play with him. That was Will Grier two years ago.

Andrew:            You look at Treon Harris last year, Antonio Callaway, Scarlett mentioned him. Cronkite mentioned him. Guys are mentioning those guys, because they always look at the quarterback. Demarcus Robinson’s great, and he’s a very good player. Kelvin Taylor’s a very good player, but you rarely hear a kid say, I want to play with that guy. That’s no disrespect to either one of those guys. It’s simply that you need a quarterback. We all see last year, Florida had no quarterback, so they suck. The Bucks, the Jaguars, they have no quarterback, so they suck. It’s the lifeblood of football. So, again, need a quarterback, but we still got a little bit of time. It’s going to be recruiting for now. Nick, I think that’s about all for this time. We’ve kind of run over a little bit.

Nick:            There is one thing I wanted to mention. In our fantasy baseball week, which began last week, yours truly and Andrew Spivey squared off. Andrew, can you tell the people what happened last week?

Andrew:            Sure, I took an L, but can you tell me what 1-6 means to your Miami Marlins?

Nick:            Took an L. That’s what I wanted to hear. I won the week with 5 wins, 3 losses. We tied two categories. Thank you. Thank you, very much. That’s what great coaching, great general managing, and just great ownership on my part.

Andrew:            What happened to that broom in Miami last Wednesday?

Nick:            The Braves brought in the broom. They are the janitors. They’re janitors of the NL East, and that’ll prove. They’ll be the janitors in the basement cleaning up when it’s all said and done, as the Marlins and Nationals run away with the East and can go to the playoffs.

Andrew:            Okay. We’ll see. Gator Country, we’ll see. I don’t think the Marlins are that good. 1-6 compared to 6-1 Bravos, but we like to chop in Atlanta. That’s all for me today. Nick, let’s sign off, brother.

Nick:            You, stay class, Gator Nation.

Andrew:            Take care, Gator Country.

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O-Dome, Gainesville, Florida
Florida Gators finish basketball recruiting class on Wednesday

Keith Stone and Kevaughn Allen made it official, signing with the Gators on Wednesday.

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