Lets make some predictions. Give me your starting O-line and D-line.
For the O-line I’ll go with LT D.J. Humphries, LG Max Garcia, C Jonotthan Harrison, RG Jon Halapio, RT Chaz Green. We didn’t see enough from Tyler Moore of the two practices to think that he will be able to hold off Green for the starting spot at right tackle.
Along the D-line I’ll take DE Jon Bullard, NT Leon Orr, DT Dominique Easley, BUCK Dante Fowler Jr.. Easley will play at both end and tackle this season but I feel that he was more productive as an interior lineman. Jacobs hasn’t shown us enough to be able to confidently say he can be a starter in the SEC. Moving Easley inside also allows for the Gators to have Bullard, Easley and Fowler on the field at the same time. Dante Fowler was so impressive during the open practices, I think he will hold off Ronald Powell for the starting spot at Buck.
What are your predictions for those positions and how do you see linebacker shaking out for fall?
Thanks a lot Nick. You took my answers. I will say this, I wouldn’t be surprised in UF if one of Bullard or Fowler Jr. slides inside to make room for Powell. I think a lineup of DE Fowler Jr., NT Jon Bullard, DT Dominique Easley, and BUCK Ronald Powell would be as good as it gets. Granted, this is if Powell can return to the form he was at (allegedly) last spring. As far as linebacker, I like Morrison and Taylor for sure. Darrin Kitchens seems to have a pretty good grasp on the SAM spot, but Neiron Ball could give him a run for his money.
Getting back to spring practice, choose one player on both sides of the ball who impressed, and then give me two more who disappointed.
There’s obvious choices to that answer like Easley, Morrison and Matt Jones but I’ll take the road less traveled. Offensively I was impressed with Kelvin Taylor. We’ve heard about his pedigree and seen his high school highlights, but to see his explosiveness in person was eye opening. He looks comfortable running and doesn’t waste time dancing in the backfield. He’s a one-cut type of running back who can make defenders miss in the open field.
Defensively I was impressed with Riggs. We’ve mentioned it a lot but he looks like a completely different player with all the size he has added since last season. He was fluid in DB drills and looks very comfortable playing up top at safety.
Offensively I need to see more from Colin Thompson. Just looking at Thompson, his body type and the way he moves around the field, I can’t help but think of Jason Witten. I know that’s a tough person to compare him to but I think he can become an All-SEC type of player before his time is done in Gainesville. We didn’t see enough of that during the open practices.
Defensively, we need to see more from Darious Cummings. I had a hard time picking Cummings out of the crowd during practice and you want JUCO transfers to be ready to play early. Cummings has the size and the tools to be a very good player at this level we just need to see more from him.
How about you, Alex. Who stood out to you for the right reasons and who stood out to you for the wrong ones?
I’ll also be going the freshman route in choosing my offensive standout. He didn’t get a chance to make a ton of plays on Saturday, but based off what I saw in the last two days, Demarcus Robinson, to me, looks like a guy who’s going to turn some heads this season. His size, speed and leaping ability make for a package at wide out that the Gators haven’t seen in a while. Mark it down, he will start at some point in the fall — and it could very well be the first game of the season.
Defensively, I’ll go with Dante Fowler Jr. After cutting some excess baby fat, Fowler looks every bit the part of an All-SEC lineman. He absolutely bullied Tyler Moore on Friday, and he looked good again in pads on Saturday. Fowler has a quick burst off the ball, and he’s getting more adept at using his hands. He will be a major player on Florida’s defense this fall.
Like you, I need to see more out of a tight end, but I’ll go with Kent Taylor as my pick. I expected Taylor to be an impact player on day one last year. Injuries, coupled with an adjustment to college football limited Taylor last year, but with Jordan Reed on the roster, the pressure was off. The pressure is definitely on him this year to make an impact, as tight end has been a critical role at Florida over the past few years. For some reason, when I see Taylor I think of Colby Fleener, who was a star at tight end for Stanford during the Andrew Luck era.
On defense, I’ll say Leon Orr. He’s got tremendous size, along with athleticism that allowed him to play tight end in HS. He didn’t do anything to stand out in a bad way over the weekend, but he didn’t jump out at me either. If he can play at a high level, you’re looking at a potential All-SEC player.
Let’s wrap it up with this. Give me your top five teams heading into next season.
It’s way too early to do this but why not have a little fun. Going into next season, I think the top-5 teams will look something like this: 1) Alabama 2) Ohio State 3) Stanford 4) Texas A&M 5) Oregon
I think Florida is a top-10 team to start the season but there are still so many question marks surrounding the team on both offense and defense.
How do you see the top-5 panning out Alex?
Like you, I have Alabama at number one. The rest of my top five would be: 2) Stanford 3) Texas A&M 4) Oregon 5) Ohio State. Like you, I agree that Florida is a top-10 team. I think the Gators are the SEC East’s most complete team, but there are definitely a number of issues they need to address before the season. Florida has talent and now, depth at seemingly every position (with the possible exception of linebacker). The spring game on April 6th should provide a nice preview of what next year will look like. Some are forgetting that the two days of open practice ultimately led to very little being able to be figured out. Like every other team in the nation, Florida has a long time to get ready for the 2013 season.