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Analyzing the 2012 Florida Gators

COACH: Will Muschamp (7-6 overall, 7-6 UF)

2011 record: 7-6 (3-5 SEC)

Website: gatorzone.com

Quarterbacks

Fall camp has consisted of a battle between Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel — who have played portions of a combined 13 games. Neither was outstanding playing in adverse conditions last season. Both will play in the opener, coach Will Muschamp said Friday.

Running backs

Muschamp has the players he wants in a power rushing attack. Florida has depth, but outside of senior Mike Gillislee and junior Trey Burton, there's little experience. Expectations are high for Hunter Joyer, Matt Jones and Chris Johnson. Mack Brown (15 carries) has potential despite injuries.

Receivers/tight ends

Senior Frankie Hammond and junior Andre Debose bring experience, but after that there's no one that has proven much at WR. Omarius Hines could emerge after juggling between RB and WR, and Solomon Patton and Quinton Dunbar have shown potential. TE Jordan Reed is a big target in a tight-end friendly offense, and Land O'Lakes freshman Kent Taylor can contribute early.

Offensive line

The unit was abused by SEC defenses last season. Muschamp is banking on new offensive line coach Tim Davis, and the help of strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman. Projected starters Xavier Nixon, James Wilson, Jonotthan Harrison, Jon Halapio, Chaz Green and Matt Patchan have a combined 125 games (78 starts) among them, but must improve as a group.

Defensive line

Dominique Easley, Omar Hunter, Sharrif Floyd and Lerentee McCray have a combined 48 starts. Easley has made the transition from nose tackle to end, and Damien Jacobs and Leon Orr will be looked upon to step up, particularly without DE/LB Ronald Powell (ACL).

Linebackers

The loss of Powell until at least midseason forces senior Lerentee McCray into that spot on the front, and Darrin Kitchens will fill McCray's position having spent much of his time on special teams. Senior Jon Bostic and junior Jelani Jenkins lead this unit and have a combined 42 starts. The Gators have high expectations for sophomore Michael Taylor and Neiron Ball, who missed last season after brain surgery.

Defensive backs

The talk of the preseason has been the intense competition among four players for the two CB positions, and depth and experience makes this unit potentially the most solid of all for Florida. Matt Elam, Josh Evans and De'Ante Saunders are experienced safeties. Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy at cornerback will be aided by Jaylen Watkins and Cody Riggs, who provide valuable depth. After only six interceptions last season, the Gators are focused on improving.

Special teams

The only unit most outsiders consider to be exceptional. K Caleb Sturgis is the only player who has received preseason first-team honors after tying for the SEC lead in PATs and fifth overall in scoring last season. P Kyle Christy returns after a solid freshman season, and the Gators' kickoff return unit led by Debose should be a legitimate weapon for the Gators.

Antonya English, Times staff writer

Who: Bowling Green

Where: Florida Field, Gainesville

When: 3:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: 620-AM

Who: Texas A&M

Where: Kyle Field, College Station, Texas

When: 3:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: 620-AM

Who: Tennessee

Where: Neyland Stadium, Knoxville

When: 6 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: 620-AM

Who: Kentucky

Where: Florida Field, Gainesville

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 620-AM

Who: LSU

Where: Florida Field, Gainesville

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 620-AM

Who: Vandy

Where: Dudley Field, Nashville

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 620-AM

Who: South Carolina

Where: Florida Field, Gainesville

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 620-AM

Who: Georgia

Where: Gator Bowl, Jacksonville (neutral)

When: 3:30 p.m

TV: Ch. 10

Radio: 620-AM

Who: Missouri

Where: Florida Field, Gainesville

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 620-AM

Who: La.-Lafayette

Where: Florida Field, Gainesville

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 620-AM

Who: Jacksonville State

Where: Florida Field, Gainesville

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 620-AM

Who: FSU

Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee.

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 620-AM

Analyzing the 2012 Florida Gators 08/24/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 24, 2012 5:54pm]

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