Stuff I Gleaned About the 2017 Florida Gators Football Team by Reading Blogs

Submitted by alum96 on April 19th, 2017 at 2:19 PM

I didn't watch the UF spring game.  It ended up a landslide as McElwain played his 1s vs 2s.  He did that in 2016 as well with similar onslaught.   I don't see the point of that but I'm not a highly paid college football coach.  What I have below is a collection of thoughts after reading through about 8 websites/blogs that are devoted to Florida Gators stuff, along with some "2017 football season preview" stuff from non UF devoted sites.

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Top level

  • UF offense has sucked since McElwain/Nuss arrived.  To be fair they have not had a QB.  To be unfair Nuss walked on water at Bama and since leaving there has delivered his normal boring stuff at both stops.  This guy is the equivalent of "Brett Favre QB coach"... making a lot of money based on being in the right place at the right time once in his career.
  • UF defense has been very good, but lost a lot of talent.  "Eight defensive starters lost!!"  Sound familiar?  That said it will be older and more experienced than UM's defense.
  • Overall these teams sound VERY familiar going into the year actually - with a lot of similar holes and questions.
  • UF has won 2 divisional champions in McElwain's first 2 years - so there's that.  But it's sort of late Lloyd Carr or always Mark Richt stuff.  9-4 and getting outclassed when playing the top end competition.  Many expect Georgia to "be back" and UF to now fall to 2nd in the division.
  • Projection for the game - 2 defenses doing a lot of foiling of offenses.  Two OL making fanbases sad.  Some talented running backs.  QB who makes less mistakes and 2-3 big plays probably wins.

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Offense

  • QB - Felipe Franks is the #1 right now.  He played with the 1s and the backup QB played with the 2s (vs the 1s) and as could be expected Franks looked a lot better.  Guy is high ceiling/low floor type of player - will wow, then do stupid things.  Accuracy is a concern.  But can throw a 40 yard rope over your young safety and corner.  Franks seems to be the QB unless Zaire shows up in Rudock fashion this summer.  Luke Del Rio seems like the backup.
  • RB - in good hands.  Despite an awful OL, starter Jordan Scarlett averaged 5.0 yds per carry last year which is Mike Hart like.  He could be punishing behind a real OL.  He should be a 1K+ type back even with sharing carries.  Smith averaged 4.7 behind a superior OL last year for comparison.  He has a good understudy in Lamical (!) Perine, who averaged 4.6.   A 3rd guy - Mark Thompson - seems to impress everyone when he runs; the only problem is he can't protect the ball so seems destined for Ty Isaac usage.
  • WR - return #1 WR Antonio Callaway with his 700 yds.  Which in a normal offense would be 900 yds but since this is Nuss offense with a LOL QB was only 700 yds.  Slot guy Brandon Powell is a SR and a nice "possession" type.  Outside of that, UF has a normal array of "Florida WR types" who could pop if they get a QB to throw them the ball.  Otherwise they will just run around a lot to no avail.
  • Potential special player - Kadarius Toney aka Denard Robinson.  Toney went into the spring game in the 2nd half as a "QB" but essentially a "RB who throws" - he went 3/5 for 24 yds...then ran 5 times for 74 yds.  So potential wildcat, scatback, change of pace QB etc.
  • OL - reading about UF 2017 OL makes me think of "something between 2015 and 2016 UM OL".  2015 OL would be the floor, 2016 OL would be the ceiling.  Junior Martez Ivey is their one good guy (stronger Mason Cole), he is moving out from inside to left tackle as their left tackle is off to the NFL.  They have 3 other returning starters of the Braden, Kalis variety.  They feel like SO Jawaan Taylor will be a decent RT, and center seems to be RS SO TJ McCoy.  So they have experience - but a bunch of meh in their history.  Then they need to fill the guard spots - they have experienced meh choices or could go young.  So not unlike us entering 2016 with 3 established starters and looking for a LT and guard.  (New OL coach by the way)
  • TE -They have a senior there named Goolsby.  3rd on the team last year with 38 catches, 342 yds (Butt comparables = 46 for 546)
  • Pep/Drevno >>>> Nuss.  Borges v Nuss? Tough one man.

This was McElwein's quote about the OL post spring

“I thought they did okay. Disappointed with a couple guys that didn’t compete. We got kind of after them at half time a little bit about competing. Sure enough, they came out in that second half and did a much better job.”

So yeah.

Overall it smells a lot like UM's offense.  Playmakers are out there at the skill positions.  Can the QB deliver?  Can the OL keep QB upright.  UF has more experience coming back esp at WR, and OL but we are probably going to say that relative to all 12 opponents we face this year in the regular season (and the opponent in the BT championship game, and 2 playoff games - woo hoo)

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Defense

  • DL - Lost some very good talent in the interior of the line but they seem happy with what they have back.  They also seem happy about the defensive ends - top 4 guys... Antonneous Clayton, Jabari Zuniga (started uber hot last year before cooling), Luke Ancrum and CeCe Jefferson.  

Antonneous Clayton, Jabari Zuniga, and Luke Ancrum recorded one sack apiece. Clayton had a chance to tack on a couple more but was held back by spring game rules. He was in the backfield all night long. Cece Jefferson, the most experienced of the defensive ends, tied Joseph for the Orange team-high three tackles with 1.5 tackles for a loss.

  • Carbon copy of UM - with losses to the NFL (Anzalone, Davis) they are about 3 deep they feel good about and then they are counting on youngins to flash.  One young guy they got very excited about is RS FR Jeremiah Moon.  Vosean Joseph also impressed. SO David Reese (wrist) didn't play in the spring game but will be a contributor.  So they are excited about these guys in the way we are about Hudson and Bush.

“Jeremiah Moon? Pshhh, the guy’s athletic,” said sophomore defensive back Chauncey Gardner. “He’s a freak. Last year we didn’t see it because of the injury, but this year Jeremiah is definitely gonna be a factor. He’s a great player. He can cover, he can also come off the edge and he can also get off blocks. That’s the key playing in the SEC.”

  • DB - Again sounds familiar; a very loaded 2016 defense saw a lot of people depart to the NFL.  "3 of 4 starters gone"  But their understudies are older guys unlike the fresh faces UM is rolling out.  Certainly much more experience back there than UM will have.  At corner Tabor and Quincy Wilson depart, senior Duke Dawson & SO Chauncy Gardner Jr replace them.  Both projected safeties are 5th year seniors - so maybe they are boring in a Jarrod Wilson way but as we say here, boring safeties can be a good thing.  They are adding 6 freshman 'crootz so you imagine 1-2 will be involved in the 2 deep by fall.

Tough to tell who is better on paper on defense, especially with almost the entire UM 2 deep rarely being tested in a real game.  Both teams feel like top 20 types when all is said and done.  UM might be a bit more thin (i.e. DT) but that shouldn't come into play in game 1.

 

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Support Staff

  • They are very excited about their support staff.
  • They don't rebuild, they just reload.

 

One thing I did not know regarding Zaire:

The Gators are currently prohibited from taking a grad transfer because of an SEC restriction stemming from 2 previous Florida grad transfers falling short of academic requirements.  The SEC could yet soften that rule, though no change is expected before the SEC spring meetings in a month and a half.

Comments

DonAZ

April 19th, 2017 at 2:36 PM ^

I have a buddy who's a big Gator fan.  He was a young pup when Florida won their NC in 1996, and he was post-college when they won in 2006 and 2008.  So he thinks Florida is still the juggernaut they were then.  

Well, he's a smart guy ... he knows they're not.  But he won't admit they're not.  

I think Michigan wins this ... mostly because the grand unifying theory of college football is Harbaugh >> anybody.

Quick side story -- last year I was driving from Tucson to West Virginia.  In a Shell station in Benson, Arizona ... in a sea of UofA and ASU hats ... there sat a row of Florida Gator hats.  I thought, WTF?  Why Florida way out here in the desert of Arizona?  I have no idea why those hats where there.  Maybe the station owner was from Florida ...

alum96

April 19th, 2017 at 2:50 PM ^

I didn't want to edit the whole piece again since it means reloading all the photos... but at the end it should read almost the entire UM DB 2 deep rarely....

EastCoast

April 19th, 2017 at 4:29 PM ^

I choose to interpret the cheerleaders above the support staff bit as meaning that the cheerleaders ARE the support staff.

I would be excited about them, too.

Rabbit21

April 19th, 2017 at 5:44 PM ^

Great early scouting report and write-up. 

I have a feeling Franks will be pressured into doing a lot of stupid stuff and so it will come down to Speight's timing with his receivers and the OL's ability to protect him long enough to make Florida pay for Franks' inevitable turnovers.

Michigan4Life

April 20th, 2017 at 12:17 AM ^

should be the best defensive player on the team and a player that is primed to breakout into being a high NFL draft pick. NFL scouts were salivating at the possiblity of him progressing and getting bigger/stronger at DE. He's their best pass rusher by far.

It'll be a big test for Mason Cole or whoever wins the starting RT job because they have to get off the stance as quickly as possible because of his explosiveness.

ABOUBENADHEM

April 20th, 2017 at 6:01 AM ^

Easy for us to be overconfident about beating UF based on past bowl game success. UF is going to be up for this game. Having watched UF's QB's, I actually give UM the edge here, which could be the difference. Their field goal kicker is also more experienced and pretty solid. A close game: UM 24 - UF 20.

Ali G Bomaye

April 20th, 2017 at 10:02 AM ^

Articles like this make me appreciate this coaching staff even more. It sounds like the teams are pretty evenly matched, and a lot alike, but I have full confidence that Harbaugh and company will have a few strategic wrinkles that come into play.

For most of my football-watching life (started following Michigan during the Moeller era), we were on the other side of that equation. I always knew Michigan would have talent and play solid fundamental football, but was always worried that opposing coaches would have some unusual scheme that would take advantage of our predictability while we ran the same old stuff. It's really a joy to know that our coaches are the ones on the cutting edge now.

bronxblue

April 20th, 2017 at 4:00 PM ^

They are a solid club, but I those division titles probably hide their overall mediocrity (compared to expectations/talent) a bit.  They beat LSU last year on a really weird last stand, but after that their best win was over #30 Iowa in the bowl, and that's about it.  Maybe the offense improves, but their rushing attack was wildly inconsistent last year, as they picked up 287, 244, and 255 against Mizzou, Kentucky, and North Texas, respectively, and also turned in games of 92, 12, 58, and 0(!) against Vandy, Arkansas, FSU, and Alabama.  Hell, Michigan put up 89 against FSU, and that included approximately a billion sacks.  So maybe the offensive line is a bit better, but assuming Michigan's front 7 hold up, UF is going to be throwing it a bunch of survive and, frankly, I don't see that working well for anyone.

L'Carpetron Do…

April 22nd, 2017 at 9:45 AM ^

Should it be 'gleaned from' or 'gleaned from watching...'?  Do any MgoGrammarians or grammr experts know for sure?  I don't want to be a smarmy dickhead but it's one of those things and it's been bothering me since this was posted! (BA, English, 2004).  Superb post, though.  I'm already psyched for this game!

grumbler

April 23rd, 2017 at 12:16 AM ^

Glean can be used as a verb just as he has done it.  It literally means to go back over a harvested field and pick up the remaining crops (whether missed or dropped in the initial harvest) but can mean any process of careful/slow gathering. You are corect that it usually is used in conjunction with the source of information in this context, but that's just common usage, not a rule.

funkywolve

April 21st, 2017 at 11:50 AM ^

I think it's going to be a defensive battle.  Although he won't have any film on the 2017 Gator defense, I like that Harbaugh seems to have a slightly different offensive game plan for each opponent.  As long as UM's defense doesn't have too many busts and big plays go against them, I think UM comes out with the W.