What: The Orange and Blue Debut
When: Friday April 8, 2016; 7 p.m.
Where: Gainesville, Florida; Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
TV: SEC Network
The Orange and Blue Debut shouldn’t be anything like we have seen in the last 2-3 years. With a full allotment of offensive linemen, there will likely be one or two that are switching sides during the scrimmage, but they have enough to actually have a real competition between two teams.
With so many new faces, here is what I want to see on the defensive side of the ball.
Davis has some real wheels. With the loss of Alex McCalister early to the NFL, Florida needs some extra speed off the edge. Jordan Sherit will likely start and looks quicker and more athletic than a year ago even after gaining some weight, but he can’t do it all. Let’s see Davis have a disruptive spring game Friday night.
On the strong side, Jabari Zuniga was the big talk heading into the spring and although we heard some solid things about Zuniga in the last month, we expected more. I want to see where Zuniga is by him having a nice day up front as well.
Zuniga was a January commitment a year ago and redshirted with the Gators depth up front. He possesses the tools to be a really good one at this level and starting Friday would be a great thing.
The big one for me will be Bryan. He has shown tremendous athletic ability but showed up on campus raw a couple of years ago. Is he sound enough technique wise to play a bunch and be a disruptive force throughout the scrimmage? That is what we need to see.
There is little doubt that McMillian has the athletic ability they desire at the position, if the mental part takes a big step forward, he has a chance to be a really good one for the Gators in 2016.
The other particular we want to see is freshman early enrollee David Reese. Reese has drawn a lot of praise as a leader type and a go getter from the time he stepped on campus. Combine that with his athleticism and that he is already 240 pounds… he has the making of a future big time player. But, they need him to be good now, so why not start on the big stage Friday night?
The other one that has garnered a lot of attention is true freshman Chauncey Gardner who we should see line up at safety and NICKEL. Gardner came in with the biggest thing a player in the secondary needs and that is to not be scared to make a mistake.
He’s ultra-aggressive and that does cause a mistake or two, but he will learn and get better from those mistakes. You would rather have that than someone that isn’t ready to go out there and square up with a receiver.
Burnett, like Gardner comes in playing with an edge to him… someone that is aggressive and in your face. It makes no sense for someone of his size to play passive, so he makes up for it by playing in-your-face man coverage. I would like to see him lock down a few receivers tonight and make a big play or two to get his career started in a good way.
Duke Dawson has made the transition from safety to corner and evidently has performed well behind closed doors. The position needed a boost as far as numbers, but getting a quality player with game experience is better than can be imagined. It will be interesting watching him line up on the outside and taking on the receivers face to face during the scrimmage.
Finally, a player that was expected a lot from a year ago but faced a myriad of minor injuries that kept him off the field a lot is sophomore Chris Williamson.
He was also not too keen on being aggressive last year, but that has evidently changed. Now Williamson is healthy and he is playing aggressively and will be relied upon this fall. A good scrimmage from him in front of all the spectators would be a big thing to further his confidence. Let’s see it happen.