HOOVER, Ala. — Happy SEC Media Days eve!
Tomorrow Mike Slive will give his annual state of the SEC in his opening address to kick off media days. Shortly after, Will Muschamp will take the main stage with the full support of his boss but a lot to prove in the way of winning fans over. He’s going to have to answer tough questions — like he did during the course of last season.
While Muschamp fields questions from members of the media, we here at Gator Country have our own burning questions, not for Muschamp, per say, but for the team in general as we approach ever so slowly the kickoff to the 2014 season.
We’ll revisit these five questions after Florida’s day under the lights is done on Monday.
1. How does Vernon Hargreaves handle the media day circus?
Hargreaves is just the second Gator sophomore to ever attend SEC Media Days. However, media days were far from the circus they are now when Mike Pearson attended in 2000.
Hargreaves has done just one media session since arriving at Florida — but that was just with us local writers. He’ll be paraded in front of television cameras, radio microphones, ESPN personalities and throngs of print journalists.
Hargreaves was a household name to Gator Nation but this week he’ll be introduced to the rest of the college football world. How will he do in front of the bright camera lights?
If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on him shining.
2. Speaking of Hargreaves, how will a very green secondary –led by the sophomore corner– perform and can they hang in the SEC?
The defensive backs hold a special place in Muschamp’s heart. Florida may not have a lot of experience in the secondary but they are overflowing with talent and potential.
Can a group of untested cornerbacks and safeties keep Florida’s defense at an elite level in 2014?
3. After a miserable season for the kicking game, what kind of confidence do the players have that the kickers will be able to bounce back?
I believe the team is very confident in Kyle Christy after a spectacular showing this past spring. Punting shouldn’t be a problem area for the 2014 Florida Gators.
The kicking game, however, there is real concern there from inside the locker room. I expect the players to take the politically correct route here.
4. Who will step up as the leader of the defense with Dominique Easley no longer around?
You saw the defense start to decline when Easley went down with an ACL tear. Florida needs to find someone to fill that role as a leader by example on and off the field as well as a vocal presence in the locker room.
Muschamp is bringing two prime candidates to Hoover to fill that role but are they ready to step up to the plate?
5. How is the offense adapting to Kurt Roper’s offense and more importantly, is Driskel ready to take the next big step in his development in this new offense?
The biggest question surrounding the Gators is what will the offense look like. We’ll have the best opportunity to find out with the quarterback on hand this Monday. Not to mention, two defensive players who had to go up against the offense last spring.