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August 24, 2010

Top 25 Countdown: #11 Florida Gators


2009 Record – 13-1, 8-0 SEC
Bowl Game – Sugar Bowl – Beat Cincinnati 51-24
Letterman Returning: 42
Stadium – Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (88,548)
College Location – Gainesville, FL
Coach – Urban Meyer, 55-10 (6th year)


Key Returnees – C Mike Pouncey, RB Jeff Demps (below), RB Chris Rainey, WR Deonte Thompson, G Carl Johnson

Key Losses – QB Tim Tebow, WR Riley Cooper, TE Aaron Hernandez, G Maurkice Pouncey

- After the tears have cleared and the statues get re-polished it should be interesting to see how the University of Florida deals with the process of life branded F.A.T.T. circa 2010, – Football after Tim Tebow. The prodigy quarterback was more popular in college football than a guy with water in the desert. Over the last three years Tebow led a Florida offense that never averaged less than 35 points a game and 445 yards of total offense. No pressure on the 2010 offense though. Stepping in for the departed Tebow will be heralded junior quarterback John Brantley. Brantley has all the physical tools and arm to be the next best thing to the halo child Tebow. The Ocala Florida native is a traditional pocket passer with plenty of weapons to excel in Urban Meyer’s system. Brantley completed 75 percent of his passes last season for 410 yards and seven scores. The most impressive part, however, were his zero turnovers. The Gators offense has carved through SEC defenses as of late leaving opponents beaten down like the cast of Jersey Shore in a Spelling Bee. Much of the success can be credited to the overall speed of the offense, a lot of which returns in 2010. At wide receiver, junior Deonte Thompson may be one of the fastest players in the country, let alone the Gators offense. Thompson has been a disappointment so far at Florida, but is expected to have a breakout season in 2010. A trio of seniors make up the rest of an inexperienced group of pass catchers in David Nelson, Justin Williams and Carl Moore. Moore has perhaps the most upside, being ranked the number one junior college wideout a year ago. The Gators remain stacked in the offensive backfield where the team’s top four rushers from the running back position remain intact. Junior speed backs Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey offer a lot of excitement to the Gator spread system. Demps rushed for 745 yards last season, second only to Tebow, with seven touchdowns and a 7.5 average. Rainey, who also excels at slot for the Gators, brought in 575 yards and a 6.5 yard average on the ground. The offensive line comes back a bit lighter after shedding a Pouncey in the offseason. That is Maurkice Pouncey, brother of center and former guard Mike Pouncey. Mike, who remains on the line, may be just as good as his first round draft choice brother, and anchors a line which returns three other starters from the ‘09 season. Senior guard Carl Johnson and sophomore tackle Xavier Nixon are future high round draft choices as well.


Key Returnees – CB Janoris Jenkins, S Ahmad Black, S Will Hill (below), OLB AJ Jones

Key Losses – CB Joe Haden, MLB Brandon Spikes, DE Carlos Dunlap, OLB Ryan Stamper, S Major Wright, DE Jermaine Cunningham

- Producing so much NFL ready defenders year in and year out was bound to catch up to the Gators sooner or later. The Gators lose five 2009 starters to the draft and another two to graduation. Five of the team’s top seven tacklers from last season depart. The old saying they don’t lose, but reload, holds true in Gainesville, however. A bundle of former prep All-Americans remain, the only question is will the defenses inexperience and youth be too much to overcome? The secondary remains one of the best in the SEC and the country, even with the loss of No. 7 overall draft choice Joe Haden. Opposing passing games where left shut down like Carrot Top at an L.A. bar last season. The Gators sacrificed just three 200 yard games, giving up an average of just 153 passing yards a game. In four consecutive games UF held opponents to under 100 yards, including three against SEC teams. The backfield returns All-American candidate corner, Janoris Jenkins and safeties Ahmad Black and Will Hill. As a sophomore last season, Jenkins came away with eight pass deflections and two interceptions. Black finished second on the team in tackles with 70, while Hill, who started just five games last season, is a talented safety who plays with a mean streak. The loss of linebackers Brandon Spikes and Ryan Stamper hurt the Gators but heralded youngsters Jonathan Bostic and Jelani Jenkins appear ready to step up to fill the void. Bostic brought in 18 tackles as a true freshman last season, while Jenkins spent the season on a medical redshirt. The defensive line takes a hit from players lost to the NFL draft but the core of the defense has perhaps the most potential of any area of the team. Underachieving junior tackle, Jay Howard, returns, as doe’s sophomore tackle, Omar Hunter, a freshman All-American last season. Senior defensive end, Justin Trattou, finally looks poised to take his game to the level the Gators thought they were getting when they recruited the five star product. Expect Trattou to have a big season in 2010. Junior end William Green should get the start at the other end position, but heralded true freshman Ronald Powell and Dominique Easley are college ready. It will be hard for this Gator defense to expect themselves to live up to the years previous numbers with so much youth in key positions but if Florida wants to be a contender in the SEC, these youngsters will need to grow up in a hurry.


- The Florida Gators schedule each year is pretty much what you would expect from a team trying to compete for a National Championship and SEC title every year. A couple of early season dustings before the heap of the treacherous SEC schedule begins. The Gators have not lost to a team outside the SEC since the 2007 bowl loss to Michigan and before that, the last loss out of conference was all the way back in 2004. Last season, the Gators early season kindle were Charleston Southern and Troy. This season Miami (Oh) starts the year Sept. 4, with the Gators actually tossing a log on to start the fire a week later, inviting instate foe South Florida to the Swamp. A trip to Knoxville to take on Tennessee kicks of SEC play with the traditional week three, Volunteer matchup. After a visit from Kentucky Sept. 25, an Oct. 2 matchup against Alabama lies in store. The Gators are 2-2 in the last four meetings and will be looking for payback to last season’s 13-32 whacking in the conference title game. Following ‘Bama are home visits from LSU and Mississippi State. After a bye week the Gators head to Jacksonville to take on the Georgia Bulldogs for a heated rivalry that should be the most equally matched game in a few years. At Vanderbilt, South Carolina in the Swamp and Appalachian State all lead up to the season finale at Florida State Nov. 27, where new head coach Jimbo Fisher would love nothing more than to beat the Gators to close out his first season as a head coach.

Schedule rating: A

Red = Toughest Game. Blue = Pivotal to conference.

Top Incoming Freshman:

1.) Sharrif Floyd, *#1 DT, 6-2 311, Philadelphia, PA

Floyd was far and beyond the most talented defensive lineman to come out of the high school ranks this past season and maybe one of the top of the decade.

2.) Ronald Powell (left), *#1 DE, 6-4 250, Moreno Valley, CA

A pass rushing specialist, Powell will backup both defensive end positions this fall, getting an early look on the defense. Powell walked away with the US Army Bowl MVP award this season.

3.) Matt Elam, #2 S, 6-0 205, Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Also a standout running back for his state champion’s team, Elam has a nose for the football playing in the defensive backfield.

4.) Chris Martin, #1 OLB, 6-4 240, Aurora, CO

A late addition to the Gator class, Martin left Jeff Tedford and Cal in July to be a part of the success at Florida.

5.) Dominique Easley, #2 DT, 6-2 270, Staten Island, NY

A New York native, Easley showed week long at the Under Armor All-American game that he was one of the most talented lineman in the country, constantly wreaking havoc on the offense.

*Rankings according to


Powell: John Albright/Icon SMI

Demps: Stephen M. Dowell / The Orlando Sentinel - AP

1 comment:

Marcel Duff said...

Nice post. I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good. This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information. Keep posting...

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