2014 Football & Basketball Liklihoods

Discussion in 'RayGator's Swamp Gas' started by themistocles, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. themistocles
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    themistocles Well-Known Member

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    First, admittedly, an effective team is far, far more than merely the players comprising it or the general position areas, but involves a wide variety of mental, physical, what is called "chemistry" but isn't, as well as innumerable emotional factors all of which assist or detract from performance. Nonetheless, herein I will largely limit myself to players.

    Football
    Assuming that the injury curse is in the past, this year's Gators will be solidly manned almost everywhere, with a youth weakness in a couple of important areas. Admittedly, there are some kids like Hargreaves, Percy Harvin and Emmit Smith, who absolutely excel almost immediately, but many require at least one year, and most, two years before developing to SEC level competitiveness.

    Kicking
    Following last year's rather amazing hiatus from kicking, I expect this year to be considerably improved. For a team like the ones Muschamp has fielded, punting is vital, and because his offenses have scored fewer TDs per Red Zone entry than any other SEC team as well as very few long TD plays, so is FG kicking. At least from Spring, it appears that both areas of Kicking should return to near historically high levels, which helps any team substantially.

    Defense
    Muschamp lives off defense and it is usually among the best. This year should be no different despite important losses to graduation and the NFL. Assuming that young guys like Bostick, Brantley and Ivie contribute solidly, the Defensive line should be between adequate and very good. Some true Frosh might get time, perhaps Clark, Willis, Holley or even Bryan (Wyoming??). Linebacker will probably be pretty thin, because few have been recruited and the 4-3 requires more due to the Buck. If the young injured guys, like Anzalone and Rolin can recover and contribute anything like McMillan and Davis have, that will help a lot; otherwise, this group will be dangerously thin. At CB, due to the loss of Watkins, Roberson and Purifoy, young kids are likely to be forced to contribute. The talent is certainly there, but the old saying is: "Youth along the DLine, more 10 yard runs; Youth at LB, more 20 yard runs; Youth at DB, more long plays and TDs." The most dangerous position to depend on youth.However, Muschamp this Spring did state that both Tabor and Dawson only had to be told something once, so perhaps it won't be too bad. Safety is also largely manned by younger players, however, with considerably more experience and perhaps an equal amount of natural talent as CB. The fact that Muschamp's and last year, Durkin's defense, before the injury spate, have proven very, very good historically, gives hope for very solid performance from this unit.

    Offense
    In the line, with the loss of Harrison, Halapio and Koehne, this unit appears severely damaged, but perhaps there will be an adequate number of Strong and Experienced bodies to, as Spurrier used to say, "fill the gaps." Some of the young guys from the 2013 class, almost none of which were highly rated, can contribute to go along with the five or six experienced guys. I really think that the main problem with the Gator OLine for the past 3 years has been an utter inability to pass block meaning that QBs have always been running for their lives. Hopefully, Roper and Summers can turn this around; If not, next year will be pretty dismal once again, because games are won at the line of scrimmage no matter how much press guys like Winston get. Now the Spring report indicated that Westbrook actually started catching passes at TE, which is a good sign, hopefully he and board hands Burton can at least block adequately. 3 young TEs offer hope, particularly Goolsby, but not much more right now. At WR, other than Robinson, and perhaps Thompson and maybe Debose, deep threats are sorely lacking, although Fulwood looks like he will be a solid possession receiver along with Dunbar. None of this year's WR commits are breakaway players, although perhaps J.C. Jackson or Deiondre Porter might switch to WR to help fill that need. At tailback, once again, no real high speed break away threat, but some solid 20 yard gain type players. I expect Kelvin Taylor and Lane to take a lot of snaps, with Showers perhaps making a few longer plays. At QB, we can hope that Driskel will perform as effectively as he did in 2012. Both Grier and Harris offer possibilities within Roper's likely offense despite being true frosh.

    Unfortunately, the Schedule is even more deadly than usual having to face Bama in Tuscaloosa early on, plus FSU in Tally and Tenn in Knoxville and Vandy in Nashville. Fortunately, LSU and South Carolina are in the Swamp, and, of course, Muschamp has yet to defeat Georgia (OUCH!!!!!). To me a 2 loss season, right now looks like about the best one can possibly hope for, with 3 or 4 losses more likely, even if Roper completely and effectively gets the offense going. I don't know whether this is optimism, pessimism or realism (likely a combo of all three). For my preferences, there are simply too many ifs and too much dependency on young kids playing well to have too much in the way of expectations at this point. If in every case where youth could contribute (Oline, Dline, LB, DB, WR, QB, RB, TE), they actually do, and if Roper can turn the offense around, and if the Kicking game goes back to the way it was in 2012, then the Gators could end up playing in Atlanta. That, however, is an awful lot of IFs.



    Basketball
    Admittedly, there may yet be an experienced addition to next year's team, but assuming not, the roundball team once again looks like it will be pretty good defensively, and likely again short on strong shooters. As of right now, it looks like the following lineup will be available next year:

    C - Harris (Sr), C. Walker (So)
    PF - Finney-Smith (Jr), C. Walker (So), Murphy (Jr)
    SF - D. Walker (Jr), Frazier (Jr), Robinson (Fr), Finney-Smith (Jr), Murphy (Jr)
    SG - Frazier (Jr), Carter (Jr), Francis (Fr), D. Walker (Jr), and perhaps Graham (So) if he recovers
    PG - Hill (So), Carter (Jr), Chiozzo (Fr), D. Walker (Jr)

    Now, the above assumes that Harris keeps on the correct path. If that, in fact, is the roster, then quite obviously, experience is not the major problem, as it is with football. All three of the new Frosh are very likely prospects, and both 6'8" Robinson and 6'4" Francis are relatively reknowned shooters. If they can contribute, and Carter, who was a deadly shooter at Rutgers before his injury can recover, then shooting may not be the team's shortfall. Murphy is apparently more athletic and a less effective shooter than his brother, 3-point deadly Eric. Finey-Smith and D. Walker both shot 30% from 3-point land as the #3 and #4 3-point shooters for this year's team behind the shooters Frazier (45%) and the graduated All American Wilbekin (39%). I expect D. Walker (30%) and Hill (14%) to both substantially improve their 3-point shooting this year. Teddy Dupay apparently worked with Frazier (45%) over the summer and is supposed to be working with other current team members this year.

    Both Hill and Chiozzo are quick but small PGs with very good Assist to Turnover ratios and penetrating ability. Carter can play point, but he is naturally a #2 shooting guard. When shooting is desired, we may see Finney-Smith at Center, Robinson at PF, Frazier at SF, Francis at SG and Carter at PG, but my guess is this will not happen frequently. Both Harris and C. Walker are better known for their defense and rebounding than shooting, although C. Walker, in his average 5 minutes per game, shot 60% from the field last year as well as getting a lot of blocks and rebounds given his sparse minutes. We should expect him to put some more muscle on that skinney frame by next year, which will allow him to actually play a solid C role. D. Walker has a long wingspan and plays very ferocious defense. There are a lot of kids who can play multiple positions, which offers lots of options. Billy Donovan will certainly experiment early in the year, to see what works best in which situations, although the schedule is once again loaded with very difficult out-of-conference teams, like the Atlantis Tournament with UNC, UCLA, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Butler & Oklahoma, Connecticut (in Gainesville this year), likely Kansas, Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl Classic plus 2 games against always tough Kentucky plus 4 other SEC teams.

    We can't expect the "chemistry" to be nearly as good as this year, with 4 seniors, but it will be an experienced team. One certainly can't expect anything like this year's 30 successive wins (a record 13 games more than the 2007 NC team), 21 SEC wins, victory over both Kentucky and Tennessee in Lexington and Knoxville (something that has only happened one time previous to this last year), their 3rd SEC regular season championship in 4 years, plus the SEC Tournament Title, the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, and a trip to the final 4 where once again they lost for the 2nd time under Billy D to the eventual Champion. However, this upcoming team could be very, very good, and will almost certainly contend for, if not win outright the SEC title. How they fare on the National Stage will, of course, depend on how the Chemistry develops and whether the new players (Carter, Francis, Robinson), plus the not great 3-point shooters from last year (D. Walker, Hill, Finney-Smith), can turn into relatively deadly 3-point shooters. Otherwise, the team will be relatively dependent on good defense and penetration (which they should be pretty good at - Finney-Smith, Hill, likely Chiozzo and possibly Murphy can all penetrate well and hopefully finish well as well).


    Overall, it appears that the probabilities for a strong season are greater for the basketball team than football, although both really have good probabilities for a lot of victories if things fall into place well.
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  2. 08gatorbait
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    08gatorbait Well-Known Member

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    Agreed on Basketball. We are loaded, but Kentucky is very scary unfortunately with the Twins returning. Still, I trust in Donovan to keep our train rolling. I think we end up very strong, but very different than last year. This year I think we score quicker, because of the explosive play makers we will feature. We have two shot blockers in the paint now with Harris and Walker, though they aren't the same level defenders as Young was they can make up for any errors better and can help off the weak side better because of their ability to block.

    Honestly we could put together 5 starting line ups and they are just guesses at this point. It's hard to figure out. The obvious ones are PG and SG with Hill and Frazier. Everything else is just guess work. Chris or Harris could be the Five. Finney could be 3 or 4 starting. We could go Robinson/Finney/Walker or Harris. We could go Finney/Walker/Harris...lot of weapons in Billy's arsenal next season.
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  3. OaktownGator
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    OaktownGator Well-Known Member

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    themistocles - lots of good thought put into this.

    My thoughts on football...

    1. We'll have a very good defense, but probably not a dominant one for the reasons you cite where we need inexperienced players to step up. Inexperience plays slower and makes mistakes. I hope this defense gets good at takeaways to help offset for big plays and long drives they'll most likely give up more often than we'd like.
    2. Kicking game looks improved and that is huge... we need to carry that into the fall.
    3. Our success on offense rides on the OL and QB position groups. They have to step up and play consistently well... for the first time since 2009.

    The offense has to help win games. Has to finish in the red zone, and protect the ball. The potential TE transfer from UVA could be a big benefit in the red zone as well as 3rd down conversions. Like most on here, I really like our backs (RB and "B Back), and think we're all going to like our WRs, as long as the OL and QBs give them a chance.

    On hoops...

    We should have a very deep, long team (in the front court especially) that can press well not just to slow teams getting into their offense, but to create quick buckets off turn overs. Agree with 08gatorbait, that there are many possible starting line ups, but we should have a good rotation behind them, and be able to run other teams to exhaustion when we want to.

    PG is one area where I have some concern. Hill should be great as the starter, but not sure what to expect of Chiozzo (or Carter?) behind him. If Hill gets hurt, we could be in trouble reliably getting the ball up the court and into our offense. Defense will probably take a step back too. Not that I don't think Chiozzo can play... I just expect him to need some development before he's really ready. Hope I'm wrong and he starts strong from the opening jump.

    Want to see Frazier work on running himself to open looks, rather than waiting for ball movement to catch opposing defenses napping. And we need a couple more players working on the three ball.

    Overall, I expect we'll have a very good team as long as Hill stays healthy. UK is going to be tough to beat, though. Chitload of talent and they'll be even longer than us.

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