QUARTERBACK BATTLE- It has been the number one story line since the start of spring football, and it will stay that way until head coach Will Muschamp announces who will be under center when Florida opens its season on September 1—if there is one decided starter. Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel are the two feature candidates for a job both came to Florida to win.There isn't any upside for head coach Will Muschamp if he announces the starter going into fall camp. He hasn't shied away from talking about the battle, using it to fuel the competition and make both players fight harder for the job. Expect him to do the same thing when he steps to the podium on Thursday.
Muschamp was open during his spring tour through Gator Clubs, saying that he isn't afraid to play both quarterbacks if necessary. That opportunity is also still possible.
MUSCHAMP COMFORT LEVEL- The buzz in Hoover at SEC Media Days about Muschamp was how much more comfortable he looked this summer compared to last year as a first-year head coach. That obviously doesn't contribute much to what happens on the field, but it is an important step in the right direction for Muschamp after his first year as a college head coach in 2011.The question now is whether or not that translates to the practice and game field. Regardless of what Muschamp said, there's no doubt that adjustments had to be made from working with defenses as a defensive coordinator in college to taking a head coach job at a major program like Florida.
QUIET SUMMER- What a difference a year makes. The Gators stayed out of police reports this summer more than they had since before Urban Meyer took the job at Florida. It's a good sign for year two of the Muschamp regime and exactly what he needed from his team after a disappointing 7-6 record in 2011.Just like every offseason, players and coaches are talking about a renewed commitment and chemistry on the team. The difference is that this year there is actual proof that the focus is different by the way the team has handled itself off the field. The talk in recent years seemed like empty words as players were being arrested at a scary pace. That hasn't happened this year.
SUMMER WORKOUT- The most important part of the summer workouts involved the quarterback. Muschamp spoke all summer about wanting to know how involved Brissett and Driskel were in getting their teammates to the practice field to work out on their own. That type of leadership is what he wanted to see out of the winner of the starting quarterback job.It's also important for other positions. The willingness of skill players to be at these workouts is always important, especially heading into the first year under offensive coordinator Brent Pease. Muschamp isn't allowed to be around the team much in the offseason, but he'll update the reports from these workouts given to him by strength coaches and other players.
DEFENSIVE LEADERSHIP- The anchor of this team will be the defense. That was also the case last year, but the strong defensive talent lacked a leader. It's something that needs to change this season and could help the defense become one of the top units in the country.There are plenty of candidates. Upperclassmen safeties Matt Elam and Josh Evans will anchor the back end of the defense. Three linebacker starters—Jon Bostic, Jelani Jenkins and Lerentee McCray—return to hold down the middle, and linemen Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley are back to anchor the defensive line. There are plenty of talented players. The Gators just need one to be a vocal leader and the personality of the defense.