Rank UF's position units post spring practice

Discussion in 'Swamp Gas' started by slayerxing, May 2, 2014.

  1. slayerxing
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    slayerxing Well-Known Member

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    Now that we have all gotten to read tons of open practice reports and watch the spring game, (and if we're really bored, we've done that for some of our rivals as well) rank the UF position groups relative to UF's scheduled opponents post Spring practice. You can include how you think they might be impacted by players arriving in the summer and fall if you want. (Rankings are out of 13: 12 opponents plus Florida)

    QB: #5 - Lots of depth, a guy returning with starting experience. I think UF could probably manage an injury to the starter better than a lot of other teams this year because of the talented depth and the experience for Mornhinweg. I think UF is better at this position group than most of the teams on the schedule, but anytime you measure the QB position group, depth matters, but most of the emphasis has to be on the starter, and I think UF is still behind UGA, USCe, Missouri, and FSU.

    RB: #5 - This seems like a deep unit, with proven commodities in Kelvin Taylor and Mack Brown. Adam Lane looked the part in the spring game, and Matt Jones coming back does nothing but help. The SEC is deep at this unit though. I would still rank Alabama, UGA, and LSU as for sure better. USCe may not have the same kind of depth, but they have one of the best starters in the league, so I'd rank them higher as well. FSU has a lot of talented depth, but not a lot in the proven commodity area.

    WR/TE/B: #8 - If we were ranking only on potential, I would put this unit pretty high, relative to UF's opponents. But if you're being objective, and you look at production, then this unit is lacking compared to just about everyone else on the schedule. I would only rank this unit better than EMU, Idaho, Eky, UK, and VU. Maybe close to being tied with Tennessee.

    OL: #9 - Again, if we were ranking on potential and recruiting rankings, this unit would be pretty highly ranked, but going off of how it has performed recently, I would only rank this unit above EMU, Idaho, Eky, UK, and Tennessee.

    DL: #4 - I think this line has the chance to be one of the best in the SEC. They just have to work on their pass rush, and get one or two more guys to step up for depth. But as of right now, the only three teams that match Florida are FSU, Alabama, and Georgia. All three may be better, but it's close.

    LB: #5 - Florida's LBs have been hard to evaluate. They had an up and down season in 2013, and that was because of injuries and inconsistent play up front, but really the biggest thing Muschamp said all year was that they struggled to get off blocks. Regardless, the unit is fast, has a lot of experience, and can really hit you. Their biggest issue is depth, where Davis and McMillan really need to step up, and they need all three of their injured youngsters to come back at full speed. That being said, they are better than everyone on the schedule except for LSU, Alabama, Georgia, and maybe Tennessee (Maggit and Johnson are very good).

    DB: #1 - Florida's secondary has been good all three years of the WM era. Although there are a few questions at safety, the talent in the secondary is indisputable. VH3 is already probably the best corner in the conference, and Gorman, while not spectacular, is a solid player with experience on the back end. I would rank UF higher than everyone else on the schedule. Only LSU, FSU, and Alabama have a chance at being better and I wouldn't bet on it.

    Special Teams: #1 - Florida's coverage team is solid, and the punting game looks to be better. It looks like the kicking game may have solved its problems too, so i think UF may be getting back to having one of the best special teams in the conference. I look for them to be better or equal to anyone on the schedule next season. Getting Andre Debose back in the return game is big too.

    Given how the position groups look now, and the talent coming in over the summer and fall, Uf should have a good chance to drastically improve it's record from last year.

    Thoughts?
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  2. slayerxing
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    slayerxing Well-Known Member

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    Note that in the title I said compared to the SEC - but what I actually meant was compared to the schedule we will play next year. If you want to compare to just the SEC that's fine too I guess :)
  3. gatorjeff20017
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    gatorjeff20017 Active Member

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    So, new starters at UGA and USCe are better than Driskel? I seriously doubt Kurt Roper would agree after seeing Driskel in the spring.
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  4. slayerxing
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    slayerxing Well-Known Member

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    I was torn, but given that Driskel hasn't played in a year, and he's learning a new system, and the two "new" starters at UGA and USCe have a decent amount of experience and have been in the same offensive system for many years I give them the slight edge. It's more debatable in Mason's case, but Dylan Thompson has started and won games and has played significantly had has like 19 total TD to 5 turnovers in his career. Not to shabby.
  5. OaktownGator
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    OaktownGator Well-Known Member

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    Agree. Objectively, Thompson is definitely a higher rated player headed into the season. I doubt anyone outside of Gator Nation would rate Driskel higher than Thompson based on performance to date. I would think Driskel should be higher rated than Mason, who has much less experience and is not as athletic.
  6. Bedlam
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    Bedlam Well-Known Member

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    #1 special teams is so incredibly optimistic... Debose helps, but the worst kicker in football will now be one of the best? A disastrous punting situation will fix itself? We haven't had someone who can return a punt consistently since Brandon James. Just a lot to overcome. I think #10 is more realistic, but that's just me.
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  7. slayerxing
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    slayerxing Well-Known Member

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    I had to be optimistic somewhere! :p

    But i think Debose makes our KR game one of the best in the country (assuming his injury isn't a major limiting factor). The punting seems a lot better than last year, and if Christy is back to form he is one of the best in the country. I watched Hardin nail 4 FGs in the spring game. I think, if everyone continues to play well, especially against UF's schedule, where it seems a lot of teams will be a bit weaker in that area than normal, that UF has a good chance at being one of the best overall units, similar to 2012.
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  8. mdfgator
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    mdfgator Well-Known Member

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    So based on your rankings, how many games should we really expect to win?
  9. slayerxing
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    slayerxing Well-Known Member

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    Oh IDK. I think the rankings will change again in the Fall anyways. There is a lot of talent that will be landing in the SEC once the fall starts, especially for Florida, where they will add a lot of beef on both lines, and add some skill players that have a chance to contribute immediately at the B position and in the slot where UF doesn't have necessarily the best personnel right now.

    Based on how all the teams look right now, and how the schedule sets up, I'm still thinking 8-4. If the special teams meet my optimistic expectation, and the defense is as salty as I think it'll be, UF will be in a lot of games with a chance to win. Whether UF can win some of those big games against ranked teams I see them losing will depend on how far the offense can improve before the meat of the season.

    As of now I think Alabama and FSU are losses, and I think UF will win 2 of 4 against UGA, Mizzou, LSU, and USCe.
  10. parramoregator
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    parramoregator New Member

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    Agree that this is optimistic. Kicking game was mess last season. Dubose could be a spark for the return game, but he is coming off injury. Unfortunately, I think the fighting crab legs could have equal better special teams and DBs. Aguyo (sp?) won the Groza award last season and the guy that returned the kick in the title game is back for them.

    We lost Purifoy, Roberson, Riggs, they lost Joyner. I believe they return all other DBs from last year, and could be one of the best groups in the nation. I just don't see us being # 1, esp if we are going to have to depend on a true freshman opposite VH3.
  11. theghost
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    theghost Well-Known Member

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    At this point, Thompson is without a doubt ahead of JD. Have we forgotten who his coach is? Additionally, he has played and started quite a few games in his career. Mason at UGA is a senior. He started the last two games last season. Matt Mauck at Mizzou, well...just go watch the replay of his first career start and tell me JD is better than him. It may be a wash w/ Mason & Mauck, but it's fair to put them ahead of JD (imo). Additionally, I'd put JD behind Bama's yet to enroll in school 2014 starter, Jacob Coker. And we are talking about the same JD who has passed for about 150 ypg in his career, right? Until he does something on the field, putting him at #13 wouldn't be too far off! (j/k) Seriously, I'd rank our QB group at no better than #6 and no lower than #9.

    #1 ST's is a stretch, Mr. slayer! A big stretch! (good thread btw) Hard to rank a unit #1 when you're not even sure if the PK will make the PAT!

    DL at #4 is fair, but we all know LSU will field an outstanding unit regardless of who they lost.
  12. OaktownGator
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    OaktownGator Well-Known Member

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    We haven't seen anything from Mason or Coker so I'm not ready to rank them ahead of JD.

    Mauk is a player, though. For sure.

    On ST, if we get 2012 Christie, and Hardin kicks like he did in O&B game, we could well have the best STs.

    In the big picture, the relative rankings aren't as important as:
    1. How we matchup at the LOS (both sides)
    2. QB play

    On the DL, we'll likely hold our own against most teams, but we really need some body in addition to Fowler who can pressure the QB.

    We all know our OL play has been crap for various reasons for the past four years. We should be deeper and more talented than we've been in that time. Hopefully with Summers' coaching and the scheme and tempo changes, we'll at least get consistent execution. Teams like Bama and LSU might still present physical mismatches, though.

    Looking forward to seeing what JD can do with Roper's coaching and a scheme that plays more to his strengths. He does have a ton of physical potential. And if things don't work for JD, Harris and Grier both look like the real deal. You can't expect too much from true frosh, though. If we need to play them alot, it likely won't be good for Muschamp's longevity.
  13. theghost
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    theghost Well-Known Member

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    Oak, I know JD has played more football than Mason & Mauck....and I'm sure he's made improvements, but the results on the field remain to be seen. Mason is a senior QB who played behind a very, very good QB. He passed for nearly 1000 yards last year and started the last 2 games. He's as much a "returning starter" as JD is. Hell, Skyler Morningglory is technically our "returning starter".
  14. mdfgator
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    mdfgator Well-Known Member

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    That's kind of where I am, although if the qb play really improves 9-3 would seem doable
  15. OaktownGator
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    To be clear, I rate Mauck higher than JD. Clearly IMO. I just wasn't too impressed with Mason, though.
  16. AFCyberGator
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    This year I think the position rankings will more tightly coupled with the position coaches than in previous years. The Gator defensive coaches are top notch, so the only thing holding back production on defense is the available personnel and their fit in there positions. If Roper and Summerlin are as good at coaching as purported, then I foresee the players performing above these projected rankings.

    That being said, I think the Gators have the talent and the coaching to surprise us fans more than they have in other years.
  17. Ahab
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    UGA fans are not confident in Mason and are hoping another QB passes him in the fall. I'd put Driskel ahead of him.
  18. GATORAZ
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    I havent gone back and watched the film but I thought Mauck threw some terrible passes in the first half against UF and Gorman just dropped some Int's. His giant WR's did make some plays.

    Mason and Coker have done nothing. I think Mason will have a good year he has a great supporting cast. I dont know why people try to use YPG it has to be laziness.

    People must really believe this Coker hype.

    UF has a better DL than LSU going into the year.
    Last edited: May 3, 2014
  19. cistern
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    cistern Active Member

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    Agreed, I'll believe Mason and Coker when I see it. However, I would rank Thompson & Mauk over JD from what I have seen of all three careers to date. That's not to say JD couldn't be better, just that I haven't seen him play better.
  20. HotlantaGator
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    Interesting rankings. Thanks.

    Don't know enough about other teams' units to rank relative to UF, but this is where I would rank these units relative to the quality level of UF's past 20 teams or so, using this ranking metric:

    A = unit returns multiple experienced starters w/ NFL quality talent. Examples are UF's 2008 QB, 1996 WRs, 2006 DL, 2008 LBs, 2008 WRs

    B = unit looks to be good with either solid starters returning or a number of highly ranked young players poised to break out. Examples would be 2012 DL, 2007 WRs (QUezzie Green returning, but Ike & Reidel gone), 2011 TBs (Demps & Rainey), 2013 DBs (which disappointed b/w Purifoy and Maye not meeting expectations and Roberson's injuries)

    C = Unit replacing starters with untested players, or talent and depth questionable. Examples would be 2006 DBs (unit played much better than it looked on paper, McCollum twins, Utah transfer Ryan Smith, converted WR Reggie Lewis), 2013 LBs ( lose Bostic and Jenkins from 2012, Morrison young but promising M Taylor and N ball sort of unknown), 2013 TBs (Matt Jones had one good quarter v a team that had already quit (FSU)), 2011 QBs ( Brantley plus Murphy plus true freshmen)

    D = unit with little experience, talent or depth. Hard to find at a program like UF. Could happen with kickers.

    Championship teams have to have at least B quality units at almost all positions, with at least 1 or 2 "A" units to make the plays that win games.

    So based on that , I would rank UF's units as:

    QB: B-
    TB: B
    WR: B-
    OL: C
    DL: B
    LB: B
    DB: B+
    K/ST: B (B+ if Kyle can regain consistency, Andre is healthy)

    So overall, a pretty solid team, depth is almost all made up of freshmen and redshirt freshmen, but maybe that is college football these days, the days when a unit was 2 deep with experience, like UF's 1996 TBs or 2006 DL, are over.

    The question is who will make the plays that win games? Who will be the Danny, Ike, ALex Brown,Tebow, Harvin, Spikes, RFN, Elam in 2014?

    We have multiple candidates ( Fowler, Driskel, Taylor, Robinson, Hargreaves) but none have quite done it yet.

    Most of those listed are second year players, and we need them to really step up if UF is going to approach 10 wins.

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