Things to watch with Gators vs. NMSU

There are a lot of unknowns with this Gator football team and with new Florida head coach Jim McElwain at the helm. We discuss some things to look for in week one of the season.

Get to know your tight ends…

My bet for the game is that the tight end group leads in receiving yards over the receiver group. While I believe the receivers will be better than in the last few years, this tight end group is something that Jim McElwain has been harping on since the second week of spring ball back in March. Senior Jake McGee (#83), sophomore DeAndre Goolsby(#30), and redshirt freshmen Cyontai Lewis (#80) and Moral Stephens (#82) will be utilized in ways you didn’t think imaginable.

Youth will be served on the offensive line…

At least three and maybe more freshmen offensive linemen will see the field in meaningful minutes along the offensive line. It appears with Martez Ivey out with an injury that no true freshman lineman will start the game, but true freshmen Tyler Jordan (#64) and Fredrick Johnson (#74) will get on the field early Saturday. Likewise redshirt freshman Travaris Dorsey (#52) will see early playing time and redshirt freshmen Andrew Mike (#77) and Kavaris Harkless (#53) could get on the field during the game. Oh yeah, sophomores tackle David Sharpe (#78) , center Cameron Dillard (#54) and guard (Antonio Riles (#51) will likely start in the contest.

Watch the quarterbacks…

Of course it is a big deal and Treon Harris (#3) has been named the starter. The battle hasn’t ended there by any stretch of the imagination. This is going to be an audition of sorts, but the coaches certainly have a better idea of who the leader in the clubhouse is between Harris and Will Grier (#7) despite saying otherwise. Whoever the leader is might not mean anything if the other guy outperforms him by a large margin on Saturday. This should be really fun to watch during the game.

McElwain’s hidden ball trick…

We should expect all kinds of movement. Movement to a point where it looks like one of those magician tricks with the hidden ball under the moving shells. The top movement guys will be the tight ends and receivers Demarcus Robinson (#11) and Brandon Powell (#4). I am guessing some will be held back, but we will still see a great deal of it.

Attack, attack, attack on defense…

If I am Geoff Collins I am going to bring a blitz from every non-lineman on the defense. We will see that at some point this year anyway, so show it all and give further opponents a headache trying to figure out what the Gators are doing. Collins is as aggressive a play caller as you will see and he needs to show it all in game one.

Versatility up front…

Jonathan Bullard (#90), Bryan Cox (#94), Taven Bryan (#93)and maybe more can play both inside and outside. This kind of versatility will allow them to substitute in many different ways. It is a pretty deep bunch anyway, but this can help with quick play calling and all of the fast paced offenses Florida will face this year.

Veterans making their first move…

On both sides of the ball there are several guys that are returning players that look to make their first move to get on the field and impress everyone like they haven’t in previous years. On offense we can start with Grier at quarterback. At receiver C.J. Worton (#18) and Alvin Bailey (#89) have had really good fall camps. The offensive line certainly will have some step up like Antonio Riles (#51), Travaris Dorsey (#52) and others. Jordan Sherit (#17), Justus Reed (#97), and maybe one or two others on the defensive line. Linebacker Daniel McMillian (#13) made some noise in the spring and will see more significant time than he has in the past. In the secondary, Marcell Harris (#26), Nick Washington (#8), and Deiondre Porter (#15) are all guys that will get on the field a lot on Saturday.


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