Saturday, February 24, 2018
Colleges

Analyzing the 2014 Florida Gators by position

Quarterback

After missing 9½ games with a broken leg in 2013, junior starter Jeff Driskel returns with a new offensive scheme that's more suited to his style of play and hoping to prove he can lead Florida's comeback season. The Gators need him to stay healthy because the two vying for the backup position — Treon Harris and Will Grier — are true freshmen.

Running backs

A position where the Gators have both depth and quality, which is good since it's a featured role in Kurt Roper's offense. After a solid freshman season, Florida hopes for a breakout year for Kelvin Taylor. Former Armwood star Matt Jones, who missed most of last season with a torn MCL, is healthy again, providing a solid runner and pass catcher. Senior Mack Brown, Adam Lane and Hunter Joyer add more depth.

Offensive line

Arguably the unit that needed most improvement from last season, the Gators instantly improve with the return of RT Chaz Green, who missed last season with a shoulder injury. LG Tyler Moore is finally in his true position and Trenton Brown is big, yet versatile enough to play guard and tackle. Freshman David Sharpe has shown potential to help with depth, along with D.J. Humphries, Trip Thurman and Drew Sarvary. The biggest concern might be Max Garcia, who is playing center for the first time in his career.

Wide receivers

Under Roper's new offense, the Gators might finally return to the glory days of big-time receivers. Will Muschamp calls this group the deepest he has had at Florida, but it's depth without experience. Senior Quinton Dunbar (44 receptions for 556 yards) and redshirt senior Andre Debose, who missed last season with a knee injury, are experienced. But up-and-coming young players such as Demarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fulwood could also be impact players. Expect transfer TE Jake McGee to catch a lot of passes this season.

Defensive line

Lakewood alumnus Dante Fowler is preseason first team All-SEC and the Gators hope along with his athleticism he can become a more dominant pass rusher. DE Jonathan Bullard can also play defensive tackle, and seniors Leon Orr and Darious Cummings add experience. Though less experienced, LB Alex McCalister, DE Bryan Cox and DT Joey Ivie enter the year with high expectations. Lack of another proven pass rusher could be an issue if Fowler sees heavy double-teams.

Linebackers

There are 33 combined starts among Antonio Morrison, Michael Taylor, Neiron Ball and Jarrad Davis, but depth remains an issue. Taylor (12 starts) said he has improved his speed and is most experienced. Morrison has dropped 20 pounds, and is vowing to improve upon a disappointing 2013. Five-star recruit Alex Anzalone could be a big contributor if he can stay healthy. Matt Rolin and Jeremi Powell both have promise, but are a question mark returning from ACL injuries.

Special teams

One of the most disappointing aspects of the 2013 season. Former Ray Guy Award finalist P Kyle Christy struggled, then lost his starting job, as did K Austin Hardin. Both have shown more consistency in fall camp, and Muschamp says improving the kicking game is imperative. Christy and Johnny Townsend will punt, and K Frankie Velez, who played in five games last season, might still see some action.

Antonya English, Times staff writer

Secondary

Preseason first-team All-SEC CB Vernon Hargreaves and Keanu Neal were penciled in as starters early in fall camp. Jabari Gorman and Marcus Maye have experience, but May missed a week of practice (hamstring) and needs big improvement in one-on-one coverage. Muschamp said Duke Dawson, Marcell Harris and Nick Washington are talented, but inconsistent.

Comments
Louisville must vacate 2013 basketball title, NCAA denies appeal

Louisville must vacate 2013 basketball title, NCAA denies appeal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville must vacate its 2013 men’s basketball title following an NCAA appeals panel’s decision to uphold sanctions against the men’s program in the sex scandal case. The Cardinals will have to vacate 123 victories including the c...
Published: 02/20/18
Center Molly Franson’s value to UT is easily quantifiable

Center Molly Franson’s value to UT is easily quantifiable

TAMPA — Coaches often point to "intangibles" — the subtle positive qualities that usually don’t show up in the boxscore — when praising their key players.But University of Tampa women’s basketball coach Tom Jessee has a different definition when desc...
Published: 02/13/18
FSU holds off rally in hard-fought win over Louisville

FSU holds off rally in hard-fought win over Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Terance Mann couldn’t mope over two missed free throws that could have sealed Florida State’s victory. There was still work to do on the other end to make sure Louisville didn’t take advantage. The junior guard quickly redeemed hims...
Updated one month ago
No. 23 Florida clobbered at home by Alabama

No. 23 Florida clobbered at home by Alabama

GAINESVILLE — Mike White hung his head.Florida’s coach scuffed his shoes against the hardwood, screamed into his hands and watched as his team let Saturday’s game slip away.With Alabama on a seven-point run 11 minutes into the second half, the Gators...
Updated one month ago

USF Bulls fall to Memphis

TAMPA — From its two-point home loss against UCF to its victory at Tulane, USF recently had provided its fan base encouragement in spurts. Similarly, its interior defense against Memphis on Wednesday night also came and went.With 6-foot-3 Tigers guar...
Updated one month ago
Florida’s shooting goes cold in road loss to Georgia

Florida’s shooting goes cold in road loss to Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. — The repeated misses were bad for No. 23 Florida. The failure to rebound them made the offensive struggles even more painful. Yante Maten scored 20 and Georgia recovered after blowing a halftime lead to beat the Gators 72-60 on Tuesday n...
Updated one month ago

Florida State beats Miami in OT despite 17 Hurricanes 3-pointers

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State’s Leonard Hamilton and Miami’s Jim Larranaga both have at least 33 years of college basketball coaching experience under their belts.Both might have experienced a first during their matchup Saturday.FSU and Miami needed a ...
Updated one month ago
Chris Chiozza scores 20 as No. 20 Florida routs Baylor

Chris Chiozza scores 20 as No. 20 Florida routs Baylor

GAINESVILLE — Florida point guard Chris Chiozza was feeling it, so he went with the flow.A pass-first point guard by nature, Chiozza decided to stay aggressive as a scorer and see what happened.The Gators were glad he did.Chiozza finished the 20th-ra...
Updated one month ago
Pro Bowl to honor UCF for undefeated season

Pro Bowl to honor UCF for undefeated season

ORLANDO — The NFL plans to recognize UCF’s 13-0 season during today’s Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium.Players have been invited to walk out on the field for a celebration after the first quarter."When we thought about UCF and the amazing season the...
Updated one month ago
Michigan State athletic director retires in wake of scathing ESPN report

Michigan State athletic director retires in wake of scathing ESPN report

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis announced his retirement Friday, the day an explosive ESPN story detailing a number of allegations of sexual assault and violent attacks on women occurred with Spartan athletes.Hollis...
Updated one month ago