Florida has a new coach, Will Muschamp. He’s brought an NFL experienced team to work with this still post-Tebow team.
Last year wasn’t so good for the Gators with five losses, throw in an overhaul, and it could be a coin toss for this season. Muschamp has made sure everyone knows who’s boss after letting Janoris Jenkins go from the team in April after the starting cornerback's second marijuana arrest in four months. Jenkins had potential to be a first round draft pick.
John Brantley still holds the quarterback position even though he ranked 10thout of twelve SEC starting quarterbacks. He didn’t do very well in the spring either, but Muschamp is determined
senior Brantley will lead this offense. Runningbacks Jeffery Demps and Chris Rainey can help in this area. Fullback Trey Burton is the best star on the offense.
Stephen Alli, Quinton Dunbar, Solomon Patton, and Robert Clark will all get a chance as receivers, but Jordan Reed will come on full time with his range of skills to be possibly the best receiver Brantley can work with. The offensive line has to replace four players, so look for Brantley to get sacked a lot initially.
Defensively pass rusher Ronald Powell will continue to dominate as he did last year leading the Gators to be ranked 2nd in defense in the SEC. Lineback Gerald Christian has moved positions a few times, but is now listed as the one to beat. He will be joined by Jonathan Bostic and sophomore Jelani Jenkins.
Defensive backs will be Moses Jenkins and Jeremy Brown who was a firm starter last season. Strong safety Matt Elam will have big shoes to fill from last season’s Ahmad Black’s five interceptions. Junior Josh Evans is leading the pack at free safety.
Special teams Andre Debose was a disappointing wide receiver, but when it comes to kickoff returns, he did just that for two touchdowns last season. Caleb Sturgis’s back injury has healed and he’ll return as kicker, which is good news for the Gators. Kyle Christy will replace Chas henry as punter and is showing great promise.
Florida 2011 Schedule:
September 3 -- Florida Atlantic
September 10 -- UAB
September 17 -- Tennessee
September 24 -- @Kentucky
October 1 -- Alabama
October 8 -- @LSU
October 15 -- @Auburn
October 29 – Georgia (Jacksonville, FL)
November 5 -- Vanderbilt
November 12 -- @South Carolina
November 19 -- Furman
November 26 -- Florida State
There is a lot of talent to work with and a lot retraining involved. A new coach, new players, and a new system will make for an interesting, but hard to predict season for the Gators. If the players jump on board it just might come together without a hitch. With what appears to be the toughest schedule in the SEC, best case scenario will be a 9-3 season, more likely a 7-5.