Part of the issue was inexperience. Florida played Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler at defensive end during their freshmen seasons and got a combined four sacks out of them. The breakout year for both should come in 2013. With Sharrif Floyd and Omar Hunter gone, Dominique Easley slides inside to defensive tackle with both end positions open.
Fowler has shown signs since coming to campus. He was the talk of fall practice last year before admitting that overthinking the game caused him to play slow until the midway point of his freshman year. With those days now behind him, Fowler drew rave reviews from players and coaches during the spring. Bullard actually led the Gators with seven quarterback hurries last season.
Bullard will see plenty of playing timeRonald Powell will also return after leading Florida with six sacks in 2011. He's healthy after missing the 2012 season with a torn ACL and will have no restrictions going into fall camp. Redshirt freshman Bryan Cox, Jr. was also moved to defensive end after his weight rose to 260 pounds in the offseason.
Offensive line: The two spots on the left side of the offensive line are open after losing Xavier Nixon and James Wilson last year, but the right tackle spot is also up for grabs this offseason. The two that seem locked into starting jobs are Jonotthan Harrison at center and Jon Halapio at right guard.
Nixon had an inconsistent career on the edge and is expected to be replaced by sophomore D.J. Humphries. Listed at 285 pounds on the post-spring depth chart, Humphries has been given clear instructions to eat as much as possible this offseason to continue gaining weight. He earned immediate playing time as a freshman despite playing in the 270s because of his advanced technique. Trenton Brown, who enrolled last week for Summer A session, will head into the summer as the back up.
Left guard has candidates for the job, but it always seems to come back to transfer lineman Max Garcia. The redshirt junior sat out last season because of NCAA rules after transferring from Maryland. The 6-4, 307-pounder now has the inside track at a starting position. Kyle Koehne, Ian Silberman and Trip Thurman will also be involved at the position.
Garcia (right) adds immediate depthThe right tackle spot is where things get more interesting. Redshirt junior Chaz Green didn't participate during the spring because of an ankle injury while Tyler Moore got to campus and improved as the spring went on. Moore didn't play football last season after going to St. Petersburg College during his transfer year from Nebraska to Florida.
The battle at right tackle seems to be between Green and Moore. Green is the more experienced in the SEC after starting 10 games last season, but Moore set a new Nebraska record with four starts as a freshman on the offensive line before electing to transfer. Both will be on the field plenty in the fall but the starting job will be decided in fall camp.