Spring is in the air, the pollen, The Masters and thankfully: spring football. But coming off of a 4-8 campaign, there are questions about players that need to be asked on a team that struggled so mightily. Some of these questions can and will be answered on Saturday, others probably won’t have any clarity to them until the Gators toe the leather this fall, either way here’s 10 players I’ll be looking intently at Saturday, and a few questions for each.
When new offensive Kurt Roper was hired, Showers must have jumped for joy. He was injured for both the Tennessee and Kentucky games, and under-utilized in all the rest. In an offense predicated in getting the ball in space as quickly as possible Showers’ No. 10 should be called upon early and often. He’s someone you can flex out, run on jet sweep action or pitch to out of the backfield. He’s got quick feet and can cut quickly, if he can stay healthy, he has dynamite potential especially in the spring game. So how will he maximize his touches? And how creative will Roper be in getting Showers into one-on-one situations on the edge?
Florida lacked a special teams punch in both the kicking and return game in 2013, in the spring game, I want to see how Debose’s rehab is progressing and how he looks on that knee — he’ll be wearing a non-contact jersey. How tentative is he cutting on the knee? Will there be any “hitches in his giddy up” — as the old saying goes — and how close is he to returning to form. It’s not a situation where they’re rushing him back, the only silver lining about his injury is that the timing of it gives him almost a full calendar year before fall camp begins to get right, so how close will Debose be in the spring game?
What exactly will Joyer’s role be, and how will he execute it. He’s a battering ram of a fullback, this we know, but how will he fit in Roper’s new “B-back” role. This offense is new, but how green will Joyer look in it and what exactly will his role be. I assume for a player like him, this whole transition is a bit like a square peg in a round hole, so let’s see how soft his edges have gotten.
Much maligned exterior linemen suited for a smashmouth offense moves inside to an offense that is billed as anything but. The biggest questions for Moore is will tempo effect him in a negative way? Will there by much wear and tear on his body? And how will he endure throughout the course of a game. Granted that may be information unable to be gleaned from a spring game that features 12-minute quarters and obviously a lack of intensity found on fall Saturday’s but they’re pertinent questions. He’ll be back in the phonebooth that is the interior line of scrimmage and won’t be having to deal with — among others — edge rushers like Michael Sam this season who gave him so much trouble in his first season as a Gator.
Simply put, how much rust is there going to be on Green in his first pseudo-game reps. Green is the other player on what is a side of Florida’s offensive line that features more than a couple questin marks with Moore returning from injury, Green returning from injury and hulking Trenton Brown vying for snaps behind Green on the depth chart. Will he struggle at full go like he did at times in 2012? Or will he have gotten better since we last saw him.
There are known quantities on Florida’s defensive line: Leon Orr, Dante Fowler, Jon Bullard to name a few. Then there are unknown quantities, such as Ivie. By all accounts, a hard worker and dogged participant on Florida’s scout team last season, now as a primary second teamer on a defensive line that rotates often, how will he step up. In this spring game can he show the same effort he’s renown for in practice?
What to do with Mr. Morrison… Standout freshman, regressed sophomore. What will the start of his third season bring? Has his awareness and play recognition improved? Has he started to better harness his raw talent and begin to realize his immense potential? Is he willing to step up as a leader among his position group, and will that show on the field Saturday?
He’s an elder statesman on an otherwise young secondary, is he ready to shine? Gorman is a players who dutifully goes about his business, it isn’t flashy it doesn’t draw much attention like a Reggie Nelson or a Major Wright did at safety, but it is effective. What are his off-field skills like? There’s a nice stable of young DBs that will be on campus this fall, is Gorman ready to lead?
Must be effective this season, and at his best he’s that and then some. Disruptive with a dynamic first step, the question is can we see it consistently throughout the entire scrimmage. Yes, this is just a scrimmage, but is the effort there in April that needs to be there in October? Can Bullard match his linemate Fowler to form a truly dynamic bookending tandem?
Another upperclassman in Florida’s secondary that’ll have freshmen breathing down their neck for a starting role. How does Poole rise to that task? He’s a talented nickel but with Duke Dawson coming on strong as a talented early enrollee and Jalen Tabor lighting the world on fire, there might not be enough snaps to go around Poole if the young pups keep their game up. Will he show that there’s some fight left in an older dog?