With just over three weeks until the Florida Gators take the field to get the 2015 season and Jim McElwain era started, Gator Country is opening up the mailbag for football season.
We asked and you delivered your questions for fall camp, so let’s cut the chit chat and get right into it.
OaktownGator: What are the time frames for returns of Morrison and Worton?
Based on what I’ve been told about C.J. Worton’s injury the recovery time is 4-6 weeks. Not having to go through surgery saved his season and I think Worton will be back sometime in that timeframe.
Antonio Morrison looks great at practice. McElwain is working closely with the training staff and they’re giving Morrison some days off in camp to protect his knee. After speaking with his father, I have no doubt that you’ll see Morrison play this season. I don’t expect it to be in the first game, but he will be back sooner than most of us thought he would be when the injury occurred.
firefightinggator: What should our next upgrade be?? we got our IPF and upgraded dorms . I believe our basketball arena is getting an upgrade so what would be the best next step for our players and recruiting?
The indoor practice facility is nearly done, dorms are being remodeled and the office of student life is getting a huge renovation. The O-Dome renovations are taking much longer than anticipated and I’m not sure that Florida will jump into any other major renovations before that gets underway. I have been told that the football locker room will get a look and that it will eventually be expanded.
ajoseph: Who is your pick as the surprise team in pros and college (the unexpected team that makes a legit challenge, like Auburn a few years back)?
In the pro’s I’m hoping the Dolphins can make some noise. The additions on defense should give them one of the best defenses in the league but their offensive line is paper cut thin and could be a problem for Ryan Tannehill and the rest of the offense.
In college, I really like Southern Cal this year. The Trojans are ranked 10 in the USA Today preseason poll and I love what Steve Sarkisian has done in recruiting.
TheGator: What are your thoughts as to the confidence of this staff heading into the season? Do you think this staff believes it can surprise some people or are they cautiously optimistic?
The staff is very confident. Every coaching staff in the country is confident at this point of the season.
Gator_Nica: What is your W-L prediction and who are your L’s?
I think Florida is a 7-8 win team in 2015. Florida is really thin in some areas but the defense should be good enough to keep Florida in every game this season. A competent offense could have Florida on the right side of some close games. Look at the schedule and the Gators should start 3-0. Then you have Tennessee, Ole Miss, at Missouri, at LSU and Georgia staring you in the face in October. I’m pretty low on Georgia this year but Tennessee, Ole Miss at Missouri and at LSU are really tough games early on.
Tito22: Since you have an up close look at that team, what unit would you say is the most impressive talent wise on the team? Least impressive?
The most impressive unit is the secondary, obviously, but since that is too obvious I’ll give you another one. The defensive line. Alex McCalister looks like he’s ready to build on a career-year in 2014 and Caleb Brantley looks better than I’ve ever seen him look in Orange and Blue. Jon Bullard has been unblockable at times this fall and guys like Taven Bryan, Bryan Cox Jr. CeCe Jefferson and Jabari Zuniga give Florida more depth than I thought they would have.
The least impressive group continues to be the wide receivers. I like what I’ve seen from Demarcus Robinson, C.J. Worton, Brandon Powell and Antonio Callaway. Worton is injured so that group gets trimmed down to just three. After those three it’s a toss up as to whom will be productive this season, if anyone.
TheJGator: How have the receivers been looking as a group? Will we finally have a receiving corps that strikes fear in the hearts of opponents’ DCs (or at least a second glance), or does it look like DR and BP are our only options right now?
Good timing with the question, I didn’t even have to set it up that way. The receivers have been what you’ve seen the past three years. Demarcus Robinson would be in the top tier by himself, followed by Brandon Powell and C.J. Worton with Antonio Callaway behind them.
After that there isn’t a receiver that has been too impressive this camp. That’s not even a testament to Florida’s defense; I’m talking about sloppy routes and dropped passes during drills and routes on air. The four receivers that I mentioned will get the most work for Florida this year.
Mrgator: How are the LBs looking? Where do you see this defense ranked at the end of the season based on what you know now?
The linebackers look great. Alex Anzalone took a leadership role in the spring but make no mistake about it, Antonio Morrison leads this group. Jarrad Davis has looked good, freshman Rayshad Jackson looks good as well. The way Florida will set up on defense this season you’re going to see a lot of nickel and sets with just two linebackers on the field, so a rotation of Morrison, Davis, Anzalone and possibly Jackson or Matt Rolin can get the job done. I haven’t seen a lot of really good progress from Rolin. He looks better than he has since his knee injury, but he’s not playing at the level of the other guys right now.
Gatordon rapid fire:
Q: Is the offensive line making steady progress?
A: Yes. I don’t think we’ve seen the starting five in their true positions during the open portion of fall camp but they are making good progress.
Q: Who will emerge as the other WR to compliment D-Rob?
A: Powell, Worton and Callaway.
Q: Do you expect to see both QB’s sharing series in the first two games?
A: This would not surprise me at all. I can see a scenario where McElwain names a starter after classes start on August 24, but I can also see him (based on his past) having a gameplan for both quarterbacks. His history shows that he isn’t afraid to play two quarterbacks but he does like to settle in on a long term option.
Q: If the defense will be in a nickel or dime package the majority of the plays, which LB’s would most likely stay on the field in those formations?
A: Davis and Anzalone/Morrison.
Q: Does the inexperience of the O-Line mean less deep throws because of the time required?
A: Yeah, at least initially. You can see McElwain and Doug Nussmeier installing a lot of quick throws to protect both the quarterbacks and the offensive line. The offense will open up and the Gators will take some shots, but the majority of the offense that we have seen works the short to intermediate passing game.