What a great time in Scottsdale, AZ! I had the opportunity to do some golfing, relax a bit, and otherwise, get away from life for a while – the best types of vacations.
We are now just three short weeks away from the start of the season. The Gators opened up practice this week and we have heard some good things thus far — but we always do. Not too much to opine on practice so far, but over the next few weeks we will begin to find out, will the Gators be the vastly improved team everybody is expecting.
Let’s see what else happened this week.
Quick Recruiting Thought
I know that many of you are upset with recruiting right now. You are used to seeing Florida ranked in the top-10 of the country in recruiting rankings. You are seeing Gator fans like Ray-Ray McCloud, Dion Cain, George Campbell, and others go elsewhere. You are frustrated. I understand.
But, I ask that you wait. As Andrew, Nick and others have said many, many times Florida will be OK if the season turns out like many expect. Florida has the tools necessary to have a good recruiting class – Florida brand, good recruiters, and the SEC brand name. Now everyone just needs to wait – either Florida has a good season and the class turns out great because players like CeCe Jefferson, Byron Cowart and Martez Ivey would likely come to Florida OR they have a bad season, Will Muschamp is fired and they have to get a new coach that can make a whole world of promises and probably end up pretty good on the recruiting front.
Finally, do not count everyone that has committed elsewhere to stay committed. Now I am not saying that Florida should count on everyone that is committed to immediately flip to Florida, but remember the main reason people are not committing to Florida is because of the lack of offensive production. You do not see Florida losing out on many defensive commitments that they have truly wanted, it is only on the offense. The pressure is on Kurt Roper and Will Muschamp to turn around the offense and if they do, it becomes attractive. No offensive playmaker, however, wants to be a part of the 115th ranked offense in the country.
It is only August and until Florida either shows that Muschamp will stay or Muschamp will go, do not expect much on the recruiting front.
Who Will Take Over Receiving?
The Gators lost 48% of their receiving yards and 63% of their receiving touchdowns with the graduations of Solomon Patton and Trey Burton. While Florida does not lack speed or size amongst their receiving corps, they do lack game productivity and they need to figure it out quickly. Quinton Dunbar returns for his senior year, after amassing 528 yards last season, but had zero touchdowns. Freshman Ahmad Fulwood was fourth on the team in receiving yards, but that was only 127 total yards. Who will take over for the Gators?
- Will Quinton Dunbar break out? Maybe. But I feel like his ceiling may have already been hit and maybe he is only a 500 yard receiver that struggles to find the end zone, like the past few seasons.
- Can the Gators count on redshirt senior Andre Debose? He is certainly a homerun threat a la Alabama in 2011, but he has also never been much of a producer with his most productive season being 432 yards and four touchdowns.
- Can Demarcus Robinson keep his head on straight? He has a great skillset, but has not been able to keep out of trouble. This may be your guy if he can put it all together.
- Ahmad Fulwood showed that he can be a producer last season, so it could be him.
- Jake McGee comes to Florida from Virginia to be a tight end, but how will adapt and how will he perform? I am never one to count on transfer senior players to make an impact, so he could be a surprise and the Gators could certainly use one.
- Other than them, I don’t expect to see much from Pittman, Andrades, Westbrook, or Burton. Freshmen Ryan Sousa or CJ Worton could get some playing time in the slot, but I would give each other a year or two.
Gators open up -35? Run.
According to Vegas Insider, the Gators are 35 point favorites over the Vandals of Idaho. While I think Florida is going to be improved, do not take the points. Remember even though the Gators will score more points this season, Muschamp will keep this offense in a bit of check, trying to keep the offense on the field eating up time, minimizing the amount of time the defense is on the field. I like the Gators to win 31-7.
Cool Stat on Gators Baseball Star
— Ginger Poulson (@gingerpoulson) August 7, 2014
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Song of the Week
As you probably know, I am a big country music fan. I enjoy many of the current artists like Justin Moore, Eric Church, Eric Paslay, Brett Elderedge and others, but I also enjoy George Jones, Conway Twitty, Hank Williams Sr. and Jr., and Merle Haggard just as much.
Anyway, we don’t see many artists today that could hang with the old guys. Music today is overproduced with added synthesizers and auto-tune that we hardly know voices anymore. But there is one guy that can hang — Randy Houser. While I will admit he isn’t perfect and has some cheesy songs and audio effects added to some of his songs, he is just about as natural as they come. His newest single is a powerful song and one that could rival some of the country music greats.
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