After a long offseason that was prolonged by Mother Nature the Florida Gators will finally take the field (fingers crossed) this Saturday against the Eagles of Eastern Michigan.
As we do every Friday before a game, Gator Country turns to you for questions. You showed up for the second straight week with some good ones, so let’s get to it.
Gatordon: How confident do you feel this coaching staff is about this season?
Very confident. The coaching staff and players have had an air of confidence about them this offseason. Every team and player across the country talks about having a chip on their shoulder but I think this team actually feels like they are SEC East contenders and they are reveling in the fact that most prognosticators don’t see it that way. They’re ready to go.
Gatordon: Who do you predict will be the surprise player this year?
On defense I’ll say JC Jackson. I think Jackson has a real chance to make an impact this season. On offense I’ll go with Treon Harris. I really think Harris has an opportunity to shut down this quarterback competition and hold on to the backup job all season.
Gatordon: Are the coaches feeling any better about the O-Line depth than they were?
They are confident with eight offensive linemen and that, for now, is good enough for them.
Gatordon: How many series do you expect to see the backup QB run against EMU?
It obviously depends on if the game stays close or if the Gators pull away early. In a normal game play I would expect the backup to get 2-3 series to work with but, obviously, if the Gators are up 20 or more in the fourth quarter it would make sense to sit Driskel and play the backup the rest of the way.
Gatordon: Who will be the featured RB this week?
I don’t expect any one running back to be featured. They will all rotate and share carries.
Gator_nica: Is there a big drop-off at Safety after Keanu Neal and Jabari Gorman?
I think there’s a drop-off after Neal. However, Florida has a lot of talent back there, they just need to be more consistent in what they do and with what is expected of them.
G8trsnapper: With the suspensions lifted, do you expect Demarcus Robinson to start?
No. I expect Ahmad Fulwood to start. Robinson will play plenty.
Gatorprincess8: DO you expect to start Kelvin Taylor this week?
It all depends on the package that Florida runs. Matt Jones started last week because the Gators started on the 14-yard line and were in a single back, power running formation.
That personnel is better suited for Jones, which is why he was in there. Now, if Florida starts on the 20 and wants to go 4 wide to start the game, you’ll probably see Taylor start.
Starting won’t really matter with the running backs as I expect them to have a healthy rotation all season.
Juggernautz: Who is our starting TE for this weeks game?
Who will start the first snap or who will be a bigger impact?
My best guess is that Clay Burton will start the game but that Jake McGee will have a bigger impact.
Juggernautz: Any change on who (Grier or Harris) will redshirt?
In a perfect world Jeff Driskel would stay healthy, Treon Harris would play well in his role and Grier would redshirt.
None of those things are guaranteed and Florida doesn’t have to declare redshirts now, so there is no need to announce a player is going to redshirt.
15gator05: Which of our safeties would you feel comfortable with covering a wideout man-to-man?
Keanu Neal and Duke Dawson.
Gatorace: Everyone has been so focused (rightfully so) on an improved offensive scheme, I don’t recall seeing any mention of OLine false start penalties. Just curious if everyone expects more discipline from that unit. If so, why, style of coaching or scheme related?
The team didn’t really have many issues in practice (even when crowd noise was pumped in over the speakers).
MrB-Gator: Nick, can you tell us more about depth on the offensive line?
Sure. The starting offensive line is (L-R), D.J. Humphries, Tyler Moore, Max Garcia, Trenton Brown and Chaz Green. Behind them the coaching staff is very comfortable with Trip Thurman (at all three interior positions) David Sharpe (at tackle) and Rod Johnson (at tackle). Those are the right offensive linemen the staff is ready to throw in there and feel good about.
Frankgator627: Where is Adam Lane on the depth chart? Will he play this year?
Adam Lane is behind Matt Jones, Kelvin Taylor, Mack Brown and Brandon Powell. It’s going to be tough for him to get a lot of reps this season with that group ahead of him.
SurfGator: What do you think the probability neither of the freshman QB’s redshirt?
If Jeff Driskel gets hurt both freshmen will play. If at all possible it would benefit Florida greatly to redshirt one of the two freshmen quarterbacks and create separation between them.
BradDad: What approach do the coaches take to game planning for an opponent like Eastern Michigan? Is it purely “Eastern Michigan focused” or will the coaches use the opportunity to get “live fire experience” running things we’ll need against better opponents?
This coaching staff is always 100% focused on the game in front of them. That means beating the Eagles this week. They might work on things that they will use the rest of the season but the only thing they’re thinking about is getting the first mark in the win column.
BradDad: Given we’ve installed a new offense (which means our #1′s have no game experience in it), will the #1′s spend more time in the game than they otherwise might because they need reps running it too?
I actually expect there to be a lot of rotation. Roper will start three receivers but I expect 6-8 different guys get reps at that position. I think you’ll see four running backs get looks and, overall, just a lot of rotating on the offense and defense as well.