Jason fires first with 10 questions concerning the current football team. He wants to know if Bob knows his stuff. Questions linger whether Bob can penetrate the iron curtain that is the football program at Florida and come up with some real insight into what will actually unfold this fall.
1. Last year multi-purpose athlete Trey Burton took the Southeastern Conference by storm while coming in relatively under the radar leading the team in touchdowns. In the new offensive system Charlie Weis will implement can Burton duplicate last year's touchdown total of 12 and will he be tops on this year's team in total touchdown's? If not who would you pick and why?
It will be hard for him to duplicate that, especially considering he got half of those in one game. There were times when the offense was very focused on Trey and I don't see any way that happens in this offense. However, he will likely be the short yardage guy, so things could set up for him to get close.
I think Jeff Demps is going to be the touchdown leader. I look for him to have a few long break away runs and maybe a pass or two that goes for a score and some short to intermediate runs to add to it. He should get low double digit touchdowns IMO.
2. The Gators were tied for tops in the country last season in non-offensive touchdowns scored with nine. Four picks, two blocked punts, one fumble and two kickoff returns. Setting the over/under at nine where will the Gators finish this season?
Well, even though Debose is back there again, it will be hard to duplicate scoring twice on kickoff returns. But you have to like the fact that he will likely be the guy all year long instead of when he was inserted midseason.
Also, the secondary is remade, so the INT's for TD's will have to rely on a lot of pressure, which we don't know is going to come. However, Muschamp is a very pressure oriented defensive coach and he is going to do everything he can to try and get that pressure.
I won't say they get nine, but they will get close.
3. The Gators have the ability to really change it up this season on the defensive line with multiple combinations. Talk about the different scenario's in which you would like to see these guys used and what combination give the Gators the deadliest combination of stopping the run and putting pressure on the quarterback?
First off, I believe the run defense has a chance to be a lot better simply because one of the DE types is going to be running at the SAM linebacker. Lerentee McCray comes in at 252 pounds and will be lining up at SAM, but can alternate with Ronald Powell at BUCK as well. A front line of William Green, Sharrif Floyd, Jaye Howard, Powell, and McCray at SAM is a really formidable run stopping line. When you consider that Howard or Floyd can move outside, to cover Powell and he can move to cover McCray and you throw in a Dominique Easley to cover Howard or Floyd, you have even more muster inside. The short yardage defense should be greatly improved and I can't wait to see the match up with South Carolina and their big hoss running back.
Easley is key in the pass rush. His quick first step gets him even or behind the offensive lineman very fast and makes it very difficult to control the pocket. Having him in there is very key in the pass rush. Then, depending on down and distance situations you would want to go big or small and fast on the outside. If it is long down and distance, you want the speed off the edge, so a Powell and McCray on the ends may be better. For medium, you need someone that can also handle tackles on the outside, so put some quick beef like a Floyd or Howard out there to provide some push with power.
I haven't even talked about Omar Hunter, and he is going to be more of the gapper guy that controls his gap and less of a play making tackle like I expected him to be after watching him in the Under Armour game a few years ago.
The bottom line is they can really move the parts around and I think Howard, Floyd, McCray, and Powell are the key components to the flexibility of the defensive line.
4. With as many as three new offensive starters on the offensive line potentially in Silberman, Green and Harrison what should the Florida fans expect to see from this unit in comparison to last year's bunch. At the end of the season who will we look back on and say that guy was the MVP and the anchor of the offensive line?
I have to say that I am extremely excited that Chaz Green is getting the accolades and playing like we hear he is playing. I really thought Patchan would take that right tackle spot and to me it doesn't sound like a knock on Patchan as much as Green is doing well.
Also, the news that James Wilson is fighting hard with Silberman at left guard is some fo the biggest news coming out of camp. Muschamp mentioned that Saturday evening and Wilson can be a beast if he can play. I had him penciled for a series or two a game, but maybe he can hold out and play more than that.
I expect Nixon to play like a freshman and he has worked his body back into that kind of shape. Halapio has already been labeled as the best lineman in camp. That leaves the center position of which Jonotthan Harrison does seem to have a strangle hold on. To me, that is the one we have to watch carefully and see how the sophomore performs.
5. Can we expect to see Charlie Weis pound the rock early to open up short to medium passing lanes for Brantley early in the season? Is that the strength of John Brantley's game?
I do believe it is going to be play action all day and night with this offense, especially early on. Run, run, and run some more and then throw it when they think you are still going to run it. I am still waiting to see what the strength of John Brantley's game is. I have seen him make all the throws, but I want to see it when it means something.
6. With a new DC and OC what will the adjustment periods be with regards to both coach Quinn and Weis learning the Southeastern conference tendencies or will we see one at all?
With Quinn, I think he can lean on Muschamp, so I don't think that is an issue at all. Because of that I think the learning curve on defense will be much easier than the offense was when Meyer arrived in 2005. On offense I think Weis has already seen it all with his NFL background, and he has shown that he can coach against it all as well.
7. What will be the biggest win of the season? In Gainesville, in late November. It isn't a conference game, but will quiet the natives.
8. Worst loss of the season?
If you are talking about the game that hurts the most, I might have to say Auburn. I know they are rebuilding, but Florida always plays terrible against Auburn or at least has in recent contests with the Tigers / War Eagles/ Plainsmen. The game is on the road in a great environment and will be tough for a new team and new staff.
If you are talking about blowout loss or big loss, it would have to be LSU or Bama. Both have really good talent and especially at the line of scrimmage. I will go with LSU because it is on the road and again in an unbelievable environment.
9. What can we expect to the defensive backfield rotation to look like in the opener?
S – Matt Elam / Josh Shaw – Big and physical, Elam is a beast and feels at home in the box. He loves the contact and one of the best tacklers on the team. Shaw is probably the top backup on either side, but I will put him here because of his size as well. He wants to play so bad and I am looking forward to it.
S – Josh Evans / Jaylen Watkins – Evans is my sleeper guy as to who will stand out, but Muschamp Saturday had reservations about some of his decisions. Still, he is the starter and has all the physical tools. He can flat fly and has good size. Watkins is up to 190 pounds now and his versatility makes him more of a free safety type and so I have him baking up Evans at the position that will likely play more free safety in this defense. They like his athleticism and want to get him on the field.
CB – Jeremy Brown / Pop Saunders – These two guys play a lot alike. They both pay off their man and want to make a play on the ball. Brown has the experience and gets the nod of course and is the Gators best returning corner. Saunders was very sly with the ball in the air in high school and supposedly is doing the same in camp.
CB – Marcus Roberson / / Cody Riggs / Moses Jenkins – These guys are the compliments to the other side. They are the more aggressive, in your face, corners that like to take receivers out of their pass patterns. I listed Roberson first, because I think sometime early in the season he is going to own that spot. I went ahead and said the opener even though I know coaches are very leery of playing young guys like that so early. Riggs gets accolades every day from his teammates as being a tough guy to go against and he is relentless on his man. Moses is supposedly improving with the coaching and I want to see what is happening with him.
10. If the Gators sustain injuries at either linebacker or offensive line Gator fans could fall on hard times this season. Which projected back up at either linebacker or offensive line is ready for the challenge if called upon from each unit?
Michael Taylor is the guy I have been saying for months and that is holding true through fall camp so far. He has drawn constant praise from Muschamp, so I think they are going to get him on the field as much as they can without messing up the chemistry between Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins.
I'm going to throw a sleeper in there as well. Graham Stewart. He is turning a few heads in camp, so we shall see.
On the offensive line, they want 8-9 guys in a rotation and Muschamp rattled off seven on Saturday night. Three tackles in Xavier Nixon, Matt Patchan. And Chaz Green are in the mix to play a lot. Three guards in James Wilson, Ian Silberman, and Jon Halapio are in the mix to start or play. Then, center Jonotthan Harrison.
One thing to note is the staff is very happy with the offensive linemen including the two new freshmen Tommy Jordan and Trip Thurman, but also Sam Robey, Dan Wenger, and maybe to a lesser extent David Young because of his aching knees.
It's Bob's turn and he has a grin on his face as Jason sweats what is coming to him. Still a little scorned after not even talking to the last two commitments since they have done so, Jason thinks he will show you he knows what he is talking about when it comes to Florida recruiting.
1. Where do we end on scholarships for the 2011 class? With zero attrition from this point forward, they can already sign 22. There are a few guys health wise that there are still going to be questions with moving forward and normal attrition is between three and five players. I say 27, IF, they don't have to reach for #26 and #27. What say you and why?
There are well over 30 players left on the board right now and we know you dont always close with everyone you think you will get. We also know in a normal year you typically close with some out of the blue for example Tyler Murphy and Tevin Westbrook the last two years. The number is a bit misleading however and here's why. For example, say the Gators wanted to land one more tight end player in the class but they have 12 tight ends on the board. In this scenario you go from 17 to 18 by adding one player. While you just added one more player in the class your total players on the board just dropped from 30 to 18. These two scenario's kind of cancel each other out in a typical recruiting season but this is a new staff and with it comes new strategies, philosophies and ideas. At this time those are a little unclear and we need to see a full calendar recruiting year play out to be able to determine them.
It's a simple game of numbers at this point and the bigger question becomes do you have enough players on the board at the remaining positions to fill out your needs? The answer is yes the Gators do have enough players left on the board at the position's they want to close at. With that in mind I think you will see a BUCK, SAM, SDE and a DT to run the total to 21. The Gators will land another TE prospect to push them to 22. Two more offensive linemen and two more wide receivers will get you 26 total players on NSD. The Gators will fall one short of your projected 27 number and end with 26 players for this class.
2. This kind of has influence on the first question, but how many offensive linemen in this class? I think we can both agree the original target was five, but maybe there is a healthy guy on roster that wasn't expected or maybe they just can't get five top targets? Is the number five or what is it and why that number now?
We heard Will Muschamp say he wants to carry 18 offensive linemen in any given year and while that might be a tad high it's clear the offensive line number was five going in. The Gators might come up a bit short on the quantity but they will come up big in the quality category. Sometimes you take that 4th or 5th player at a position and you start to see a down grade in the talent level but with who the Gators have a shot at the quality pretty much stays the course which is saying something because the two you have now are both five star players in Humphries and Dunker. Florida has a better than average shot at both Avery Young and Adam Bisnowaty both high caliber offensive linemen. These are not the only guys left but the two Frank Verducci would love to land to round out this class. I still think the Gators show up with four offensive linemen on NSD. 3. Who are the best two recruiters on staff right now? Can you give an example of who they have targeted and succeeded and who they might be targeting?
Each recruiting calendar there are extenuating circumstances that can help or hinder an assistant coach on the recruiting trail. Last season coach Durkin laid the ground work and was in prime position to land a couple big time linebackers to no avail. Extenuating circumstances worked against him and the Gators fell way short. This season the Gators have already landed Rhaheim Ledbetter and D.J. Humphries, two North Carolina players. Who is recruiting North Carolina? …Coach Durkin. The extenuating circumstances this season are working with coach Durkin and it's paying off in a major way. Florida is also looking very good with Carlos Watkins and Jonathan Bullard who will take another unofficial visit to Gainesville with Rhaheim Ledbetter on August 20th.
I have always maintained the assistant coaches are only as good as the school you are recruiting for and in this case Florida is a major power house program. Other factors include three very important people being your two coordinators and the head coach. The Gators are firing on all cylinders in this department with loads of NFL Experience with Will Muschamp, Charlie Weis and Dan Quinn. All these factors help the assistant coaches go out to recruit and close the door.
Coach Travaris Robinson has done a spectacular job so far in landing both Willie Bailey, Brian Poole and Marcus Maye. He is young and full of energy and the recruits love being around him. It's hard to go with two and only two but as of right now I would say Durkin and Robinson are the two getting it done.
4. Who is the biggest freak already committed? And, who is the biggest freak you expect to commit?
I have made no bones about it that I feel Brian Poole is a difference maker in every sense of the word. He has all the tools you look for in a lock down corner. I dont care who is on the team or where he falls on the depth chart year one I expect to see Brian Poole make a major move once he arrives on campus.
The other is Jordan Jenkins. It's very hard to find players in the 6'3 and 250-pound range that can do the things athletically on the football field and basketball court. He is called the Freak for a reason and it's well deserved.
5. Not saying any are shaky, but which prospect is the shakiest commit at this time and why?
This one will be very easy for me and it's Antonio Morrison. I have never seen the recruiting process unfold the way his did. I still dont know if he spoke with any of the Florida recruiting analysts for any of the major networks to this day. I heard he finally spoke with I believe the high school Illinois site on one of the other networks. That coupled with the distance factor makes this an easy choice for me. THE single most important part of your question lies in the first five words. "Not saying any are shaky" as I believe Antonio Morrison will be in this class on NSD no question about it.
6. We understand there are no locks, but who is the most likely prospect in this class at the end of the day and why?
Since you did not say who is the most likely "uncommitted" player in this class I will go with Latroy Pittman :) Latroy has wanted to be a Gator for as long as he can remember and nothing will change that. It does not matter if the Gators grab two more wide outs or not Latroy Pittman is all Gator and it will remain that way. Pittman will also graduate early and enroll at the University of Florida in January.
7. Outside of Charlie Weis' star power, which coach on staff has the most star power among the recruits? Give an example of someone attracted to that.
If someone asked me who is the greatest basketball player of all time minus Michael Jordan I would still say it's #23. He is without question the greatest basketball player of all time in my mind. Charlie Weis is the coach with all the juice right now on this staff from a recruiting standpoint. He is attracting players from all over the place that are blown away by his mere presence at Florida.
8. Keith Marshall (1), Noah Spence (1), Stefon Diggs (2), Nelson Agholor (3), Kent Taylor (1), Darius Hamilton (4), Jordan Jenkins (6) are all five-star prospects or #1 at their positions. Florida isn't likely for some of the above, but put them in order of likelihood in the class. Tell why it is a no go on the last two.
This is a much easier question to answer than most would think.
Whenever answering a question like this it's important to look at the numbers and percentages based off your starting point. Jordan Jenkins could be a 95% stating number while the number two guy Nelson Agholor could be at 42% and so on down the line. Jordan Jenkins could be 35% starting point and so on down the line. This is the subject group you gave me to work with so someone must be number one and someone must be number seven.
Some might look at this list and say wow Florida has a better chance of landing Keith Marshall vs. Kent Taylor but not if the percentage on Keith Marshall is zero making the percentage on Kent Taylor zero as well. In fact, the zero percentage may actually start at Darius Hamilton?
Based on the circumstances you should have both Keith Marshall and Kent Taylor ahead of Hamilton and Spence because Marshall/Taylor have both visited and have official visits set up with Florida at this time. The best thing to say at this time is Florida has a much better chance at landing the first three vs. the last four. Will it or could it change with visits in the future? Sure it could, but as of right now it's best to focus on the top three. There are plenty of reasons why some of the others on the list won't be in the class. It could be from them, from Florida, or because of some other players on the board and in this case it's from others.
9. Are we going to get commitments on game weekends in your opinion? How many commits left to get in January and after the All-American games?
Honestly this is the most difficult question of the bunch to answer accurately. First you must find or identify the prospects that will be in the class, check. Secondly and much more difficult is trying to project "when" they will announce. Let's not forget how long Brian Poole ended up waiting before making his decision public. The number of reasons or factors determine when a player makes this kind of announcement and that is hard to predict.
I think Florida will land one possibly two more by the end of September and after that it's a crap shoot. Most of the kids that Florida is waiting on at this time are going to announce on TV through various all star games and a couple are going to wait until NSD making this a very stressful time for the fans. Three would be the total number combined possibly four before and during the season and another four to five possible throughout the all star games and on NSD.
10. Counting secondary as a unit, LB's as a unit, DL as a unit, OL as a unit, TE / WR as a unit, RB as a unit, what will be the top two units in this class at the end of the day? Not ranking wise compared to other programs, but best compared to the other units. Tell us why it will happen for the Gators in regards to those units.
To predict how these units will compare vs. each other on NSD we first must come up with the subject groups of who will ultimately be in at each position. Why dont you just ask me to predict the entire class while you're at it :) These are the units that will on NSD fight it out for the top two spots for the Gators and "some" of the players that are still on the board at each position.
Taking the secondary might be the safe bet because those guys are in at this time and nothing should change moving forward. The offensive line is off to the best start with two five star players and the possibility of landing one more five star player in Avery Young. Adam Bisnowaty could possibly be the next player to pop for the Gators during his visit September 3rd or shortly thereafter. Those four players would put the offensive line class in the top two for sure. What happens if Agholor and Diggs both end up Gators, two five star players at the Wide Receiver/Tight End unit. That would surely put the offensive line and wide receiver groups one and two. Then all of a sudden here comes the defensive line group if they were to add Jenkins, Watkins, and Bullard.
Coach Muschamp has put a premium on both sides of the line of scrimmage and so will I. I think the top units on NSD will be the offensive and defensive line units.
PS --- in regards to question number six above. I should stick with that answer and stick it to Hollywood Bob since I answered the question he laid out before me. However, I know that is not what he intended the question to be and I will not cheat the good people of this board of the answer he is fishing for.
The most likely "uncommitted" player to be in this class on National Signing Day in my opinion is Adam Bisnowaty. He is a player you dont hear much about but one the Gators would love to land. Following the bread crumbs on this one he recently visited Gainesville and walked away very impressed. Bisnowaty is coming back in three weeks for his official visit with his Mother and has no other official visits scheduled at this time. That's not to say he won't take other official visits in the future and he will in all likelihood drive to those schools if he makes those trips. This pick is a little bit of the beaten path so to speak but I like to switch things up from time to time and not go with the "normal" answer.
Most people in response to this question would answer Tyriq McCord or even Jordan Jenkins but I am not most people. With both McCord and Jenkins you might see some other circumstances albeit Jenkins and his attraction to Alabama or McCord and his friendships with Fowler and Agholor that "could" conceivably steer them in another direction all together.