Gator Country Football Mailbag

With the unofficial kickoff of the SEC football season wrapped up, turns their focus to the football season and answers your questions.

Q: Who is expected to be the top receiver?

A: Quinton Dunbar. Jeff Driskel was very complimentary of Dunbar at SEC media days and Dunbar was singled out by one defensive back at SEC media days as one of the best receivers he had gone up against.

Q: Can Tyler Murphy actually play quarterback if need be?

A: Can he play quarterback? Yes. Will the offense run as efficiently as it would if Driskel were under center? No.

Q: How much loosening of the reigns on offense will Muschamp allow Coach Pease?

A: Florida is not concerned with anything but getting a win. If that means throwing the ball 50 times, so be it. If it means running the ball 38 consecutive plays and grinding out a win, so be it. The offense will be better this season due to the fact that the players will be more comfortable with the playbook. A year in the same system allows players to think less on the field. That’s always a good thing.

Q: How much better do we expect the receiving corps to be?

A: There is a lot of projection here if you include the five freshmen, but I expect the group as a whole to be much better than last season.

Q: Can Florida realistically beat Georgia?

A: Of course.

Q: Who are your surprise players on offense and defense?

A:  Offense: Marquis Hawkins

Defense: Daniel McMillian

Q: How worried are the coaches about Florida’s placekickers?

A: Will Muschamp said he has had sleepless nights due to losing Caleb Sturgis.

Q: How does the staff feel about Trenton Brown?

A: Trenton has been doing very well. The bottom line is that Trenton is a massive human being. At 6’8”, it is going to be harder for him than a normal size person to shed those pounds. He’s lost five pounds (he is around 358 lbs. now) since arriving on campus. I’m hearing that he may redshirt this season. However, Brown will dress for every game and could be used in a pinch.

Q: What are the biggest battles for starting spots going into the season?

A: Kicker, safety and wide receiver.

Q: Any updates on Ronald Powell?

A: Powell is ready to go full-bore. When asked about it, Dominique Easley responded by saying that Powell was hungrier than any player on the team. Muschamp also said that Powell will play BUCK this season, which was not reflected in the last depth chart that was released.

Q: What are the chances of Anzalone, Rolin and Davis playing this year?

A: Anzalone is going to be limited in the fall coming off of his shoulder surgery. If he had not torn his labrum, I believe that he would have made the biggest impact of all the freshmen linebackers. We’ll need to monitor the injury and his recovery this fall to really get a feel for things. He has been described as a film and playbook freak, so he should be ready mentally, just waiting for the shoulder to heal 100%.

I think Rolin could be a redshirt candidate and Davis will spend the year mainly on special teams.

Q: How is the backup quarterback situation looking? Who leads?

A: Murphy, Mornhinweg, Staver in that order. There is a considerable and unnerving drop off after Driskel.

Q: What style of punting will we see more of this season, traditional or rugby?

A: When you have a punter like Christy, you don’t have him running around punting rugby style.

Q: Which freshmen player do you expect to have an immediate impact on special teams (VHIII)?

A: A source told me that he loves Vernon Hargreaves as a player but that he will really have to impress to get on the field for significant playing time on defense. Florida has their two cornerbacks (Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson) and Brian Poole is slated to play the nickel. Hargreaves will make an impact on defense this season but I think we see him make an impact on special teams first.

Also, look out for Alvin Bailey as a return specialist. Bailey is electric with the ball in his hands.

Q: Is Coach Muschamp really choking the offense or did he just think that we were not ready last year for various reasons?

A; Last year was tough. Florida had trouble in pass protection, a first-year starter at quarterback and were very efficient running the football. There were a lot of reasons to be as conservative as Florida was and, hey, they were winning football games with that formula, so why change it mid-season?

The offense should open up this season due to the players being more familiar with the playbook, an improved offensive line, and projected improvement from Driskel.

Q: Who do you have starting at safety?

A: I’ve got Marcus Maye – he’s the only name I consistently hear as being a top performer from people close to the team – and Jabari Gorman to start the season.

Q: Who has made the most progress in the offseason in Jeff Dillman’s weight program?

A: Trenton Brown has to be mentioned here for all the weight he has lost. Guys who look considerably bigger are Marcell Harris, Alex McCalister, Dante Fowler (lost weight but looks bigger, if that makes sense), Ahmad Fulwood, D.J. Humphries and Cam Dillard. I was told that Dillard has been an absolute monster in the weight room and he has exceeded all of the coaches’ expectations thus far.

Q: Who would be on our offensive line jumbo package?

A: Florida uses a number of jumbo packages but I’m assuming you mean when they use 6-7 offensive linemen. I would say (from left to right) Humphries, Garcia, Harrison, Halapio, Green, Moore and a tight end like Colin Thompson or Clay Burton. If Trenton Brown is not redshirting, than this is a position and a role that you will see him in extensively.

Who better to play in the jumbo package than a 6’8”, 350-pound human being, right?


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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC