The Florida Gators 2012
Football Spring Practice is underway and from early observations this group looks
to better across the board than last year’s edition. Just what can bettors and fans expect out of
the Gators next season?
coach Will Muschamp can only hope those observers are right because he knows
that another 7-6 season (4-8-1 ATS) won’t sit well with the Gator nation. If
his recruiting class is as good as advertised then rabid Florida fans won’t
have to wait long for another dominating campaign.
Rivals, the Gators had the third-ranked recruiting class in the nation and will
give Muschamp the type of players that fit the offensive and defensive schemes
the team wants to run. Much of last year, the Gators were hampered in their
ability to run the type of offense they wanted due to being undersized along
the offensive line and in the backfield.
Along with the
stellar recruiting class, Florida also returns10 of 11 starters on defense
the Gators look to be poised to improve upon its disappointing 2011
season. This is not to say that Florida is set to go 12-0 and represent
the SEC in the national championship game but at least a bit more positive stuff
is being said about this year’s team.
season at the helm of the Florida Gators was a difficult one. Uncommon in
regards to the fact that Florida always seems loaded, but understandable for
the reason that they were dealing with so much transition. An entirely new
coaching staff and new schemes on both sides of the ball is a difficult
adjustment for any team, but especially for a Gators team that had been
tailored to the spread.
This spring, the
Gators will have another new system in place offensively and a new quarterback,
but it’s difficult to imagine that the Gators could be much worse that they
were in 2011. Jacoby Brisset and Jeff Driskell will battle it out at
quarterback while Mike Gillislee will be tasked with replacing the production
of Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, who combined for 1,430 yards rushing and eight
touchdowns in 2011.
battle is going to be perhaps the most competitive battle this spring, but
Brisset should have an opportunity to stake claim to his job before the fall.
Obviously, the biggest factor will be who can pick up new offensive coordinator
Brent Pease’s system the quickest.
Muschamp has almost everyone back from a squad that was pretty good in 2011.
Last season, they forced just 14 turnovers on the season, and that number should
likely improve with the amount of talent the Gators have at every level. The
spring is going to be a time for veterans to lock in jobs because Florida has
some extremely talented incoming freshman scheduled to try to find their way
into the mix this fall.
The Gators defense
finished eighth nationally in total defense a year ago, despite
starting mainly underclassmen. They’ll welcome back 10 of 11
starters and will contend once again for a spot in the defensive Top 5.
Welcome to the SEC
The SEC released
its 2012 football schedule on Thursday morning and the Gators will face both
Texas A&M and Missouri in their inaugural seasons in the conference.
For the first time
since 1996, the Gators will enter a season with a school other than Tennessee
scheduled in their SEC opener. The 2001 Florida-Tennessee game, originally
scheduled in September, was moved to later in the season due to the terrorist
attacks on 9/11.
After opening the
2012 season at home against Bowling Green on Sept. 1, the Gators will travel to
College Station to face the Aggies on Sept. 8 in Texas A&M’s first game as
a member of the SEC. The game will open a stretch of eight consecutive SEC
games for the Gators.
The Gators are
lumped with South Carolina and West Virginia at 30/1 to win the 2012-1013 Bowl
By comparison in the college football odds; LSU
(19/4), USC (5/1), Alabama (11/2), Oklahoma (10/1) and Florida State (12/1) and
Oregon (12/1) are top sixth choices hoist the next NCAA Football title trophy.