This is posted here with permission of the Author, Irish2U2, who is a contributor to GatorCountry. I believe this is one of the most complete and accurate evaluations of the program I have seen in awhile. It is these type posts that make GatorCountry.Com an excellent, if not the best source, of information on all Gator Sports. If you have never been there, try by clicking here
My Take on the 2012 Season
Irish2U2 from Gatorcountry.Com
I admit I'm an optimist. But to be fair I'm an "informed" optimist so here is my sincere attempt at being objective and optimistic at the same time. It's not an easy gig to pull off so be kind and be gentle...
First a look at our roster...
Jacoby Brissett 6'3, 229 SO
Jeff Driscoll 6'4, 232 SO
Tyler Murphy, 6'2, 210 SO
Skyler Mornhinwg, 6'3, 210 FR
Mike Gillislee, 5'11, 201 SR
Mack Brown, 5'11, 210 SO
Omarious Hines, 6'2, 232 SR
Chris Johnson, 5'9, 205 SO
Matt Jones, 6'3, 220 FR
Trey Burton , 6'3, 230 JR
Hunter Joyer, 5'10, 244 SO
Jordan Reed 6'3, 240 JR
Clay Burton, 6'4, 242 SO
Tevin Westbrook, 6'5, 255 SO
Kent Taylor, 6'5, 230 FR
Colin Thompson, 6'4, 255 FR
Andre Debose, 5'11, 186 JR
Frankie Hammond, Jr., 6'1, 185 SR
Stephen Ali, 6'6, 217 JR
Quinton Dunbar, 6'1, 183 SO
Ja'Juan Story, 6'3, 206 FR
Solomon Patton, 5'9, 170 JR
Latroy Pittman, 6'1, 201 FR
Raphael Andrades 6', 190 FR
Jon Halapio, 6'3, 325 JR
James Wilson, 6'5, 327 SR
Xavier Nixon, 6'6, 309 SR
Matt Patchan, 6'6, 279 JR
Ian Silberman, 6'5, 290 SO
Trip Thurman, 6'5, 315 FR
Sam Robey, 6'3, 297 SR
Tommy Jordan, 6'4, 288 FR
Jon Harrison, 6'3, 309 JR
Chaz Green, 6'5, 300 SO
Kyle Koehne, 6'5, 304 JR
Jessamen Dunker, 6'4, 313 FR
DJ Humphries, 6'6, 275 FR
Kyle Christy, 6'3, 200 SO
Caleb Sturgis, 5'11, 190 SR
Austin Hardin, 5'11, 200 FR
Ronald Powell, 6'4, 250 JR
Lerentee McCray, 6'2, 252 SR
Earl Okine 6'6, 290 SR
Kedric Johnson, 6'4, 225 JR
Jonathan Bullard, 6'4, 255 FR
Bryan Cox, Jr., 6'3, 245 FR
Dante Fowler, 6'3, 250 FR
Alex McCallister, 6'6, 225 FR
Quiteze Williams, 6'5 255
Sharif Floyd, 6'3, 305 JR
Dominique Easley, 6'2, 286 JR
Oman Hunter, 6'1, 314 SR
Leon Orr, 6'5, 305 SO
Nick Alajajian, 6'4, 285 SR
Damien Jacobs, 6'3, 310
Dante Phillips, 6'6, 270 FR
Jafar Mann, 6'3, 292 FR
Jelani Jenkins, 6', 233 JR
Jon Bostic, 6'1, 243 SR
Gideon Agjabe, 6'3, 222 SO
Michael Taylor, 6', 220 SO
Neiron Ball, 6'2, 222 SO
Darrin Kitchens, 6'2, 222
Antonio Morrison, 6'1, 220 FR
Jeremi Powell, 6'2, 200 FR
Marcus Roberson, 6', 180 SO
Cody Riggs, 5'9, 180 JR
Loucheiz Purifoy, 6'1, 186 SO
Jaylen Watkins, 6', 187 JR
Jeremy Brown, 5'10, 181 JR
Willie Bailey, 6'2, 170 FR
Brian Poole, Jr, 5'10, 190 FR
Matt Elam, 5'10, 210 JR
Josh Evans, 6'1, 201 SR
Jabari Gorman, 5'11, 170 FR
Pop Sanders, 5'9, 190 SO
Valdez Showers, 5'11, 192 FR
Marcus Maye, 6'1, 195 FR
Rhaheim Ledbetter, 5'11, 190 FR
General observations first… we finally have depth at QB, RB the DL and Secondary. Depth on the OL is borderline but the talent is top notch. Ditto with LB but depth at FB and WR is a potential issue. There is a nice mix of experience and youth on this team and for sure some true freshmen will play some football for the Gators this season. There might even be a starter in this class with my bets being on Bullard at DE and Pittman at WR. I think we can be dominant on Special Teams which is a huge key.
So here is my take on the upcoming season.
I like to start with the good news first.
Defensively we will be better than last year. We could be awe inspiring with Powell but Lerentee McCray is an excellent player and with all the talent at depth on the defensive line we will create shock and awe on opposing offensive lines and backfields. In particular Floyd and Easley have the potential for All-American type greatness and with more depth they get more rest and more chances to come at opponents at 110%. I'd love Okine to step up and be The Man at DE in his senior year. He has the physical gifts to be dominating but I also can't wait to see Bullard, Cox and Fowler in action too.
Who joins star LBers Jenkins and Bostic as starters? Eventually McCray could play here when Powell gets back but for now it's a battle between sentimental favorite Neiron Ball, Darren Kitchens, Gideon Ajagbe and freshman phenom Antoni Morrison. But don't be surprised to see Jelani and Jon teamed up with Mike "The Hitting Machine" Taylor. There is a question or two about LB but overall our front seven should be extremely effective and maybe even dominating.
With that front seven and especially with a healthy Ronald Powell terrorizing SEC QBs from the edge while Floyd and Easley collapse the interior protection the secondary's job should be a lot easier. We have some real competition at Cornerback with Roberson, Brown, Riggs, Watkins and Purifoy. There is a lot of physical talent here and I won't make any predictions save the CB rotation should be extremely strong but it's at Safety where the Gators will make their mark. Literally.
I doubt there is a harder hitting safety in the SEC than Matt Elam. He is a terror and he's always around the ball but he has to make some progress with his ball skills to make that All-Americn leap. Breaking up passes is hard to do but intercepting them gets you first round NFL money. Josh Evans is experienced and steady but I like the ball skills of Pop Sanders.
We were #8 in the nation in total defense though to add some perspective we were 5th in the SEC as Bama, LSU, South Carolina and Georgia were all ranked above us nationally. Our defensive stats were not helped by the fact that we were 105th in the nation in total offense and that is the 800lb Gator in the room. We also were lousy in generating turnovers. We need our defense to make plays and that doesn't mean just tackles. We have the size and ability to cause fumbles and make INTs. With a good offense this defense is on the field less and overall it's more effective. It's potentially a Top 3 in the nation defense but it needs help so without further adieu we go to the…..
When North Texas has a better offense than the Florida Gators our problems cannot be understated. The irony is we go in to 2012 with more offensive questions than last year but we also have more potential answers. IMHO it all starts with the offense of Brent Pease. While we languished at 105th in the nation in total offense his Boise State team was 9th. BSU finished 11th in the nation in passing and 40th in rushing. They had one back run for almost 1300 yards. Kellen Moore, the starting QB for the Broncos, was 3rd in the nation in passing efficiency. For some perspective Moore was a good HS QB but he wasn't a can't miss star and his physical talent won't knock your socks off but he was a smart kid playing for a smart OC who maximized Moore's ability. None of the BSU receivers or offensive linemen was a stud HS player either. Pease has more talent than he ever dreamed of at Florida.
IMHO the secret "weapon" of the Florida offense is our offensive line. We should have one of the best offensive lines in the SEC with Harrison, Halapio, Wilson, Nixon and Green as the likely starters. I love our 2man deep depth on the OL too. As a unit they have size and a great deal of experience and loads of athletic ability and thanks to new Strength and conditioning Coach Jeff Dillman they might be stronger and better prepared to dominate the line of scrimmage. I hope so because they HAVE to dominate the line of scrimmage.
We have 2 young and talented QBs vying for the starting job. In truth both likely will play and they have different strengths but they share one thing in common. Inexperience. A great offensive line does two things for them. It buys them time to make decisions and then throws in the passing game and it helps provide a stellar running attack which also takes the pressure off the QBs. Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett are both talented QBs. Frankly I don't care who starts because they both can be top notch SEC QBs but for the time being I like the coolness under fire that Brissett shows and I love the running that Driskel can do. Both are needed but I sort of hope one puts some distance between himself and his competitor. A two headed QB approach can work but it's systemically problematic in execution and a bit tougher on the offense to adjust back and forth from one QB to another.
In order to make it easier for these two young QBs we have to run the ball and frankly I am excited about our running game. I think the fact that we no longer will be an edge only running team is huge. I want to run the ball between the tackles. I want to wear down opposing defenses and with Mike Gillislee and Mack Brown we have 2 tailbacks capable of making a defense have a very bad day. They both have good size. They both can run between the tackles and in traffic and most important both have cutback ability which is key to being a SEC 1000 yard a season type rusher. BTW, I love Chris Johnson and Omarious Hines too and I especially like Hines out of the backfield as a receiving option.
Now add in the running ability of FBs Trey Burton and Hunter Joyer plus Driskel and the Gator running attack is lethal. Joyer moves the sticks. Burton adds a dimension to the Gators with his ability to run, catch and throw and with Pease you know we will utilize that ability. The running game has a lot of pressure on it to succeed but i believe the talent of the RBs, the ability and depth of the OL and Brent Pease will transform the Gator running attack into a weapon. That has to happen because the passing attack has issues.
Not insurmountable issues though. I know a lot of Gator fans complain about a lack of productivity from our wide receivers. Nothing makes a QB look great better than a WR who can make plays. But to make plays you need the ball and that, again IMHO, is the main issue. We have wideouts who can make plays but they need the ball to make them and our QBs have not been getting them the ball. Or even looking at them. We got too concerned with constantly throwing outside but in order to be an effective passing team we need to use the WHOLE field. We need to go downfield. We need to go across the middle. We need to mix it up and be unpredictable.
It all starts with the ground game. Master that and defenses have to play us straight up. With a great offensive line our QBs have time to make their reads, do their progressions and Brent Pease will have his offense throw the ball downfield. He will get wide receivers open. He won't have 2 WRs in the same area unless one of the WRs makes a mistake. He won't just throw the ball to the edge but he will use the speed on this Gator team. With Brent Pease it's a matter of execution and playmakers making plays. To be fair though the wideouts have to run better routes. They have to help their young QBs. If the QBs are throwing the ball at them they have no more excuses. They have to do what they have trained to do but I think we have the WRs to more than do the job. I feel like Mike Gillislee, if he stays healthy, can be a 1000 yard plus RB. I feel Andre Debose can be a 1000 yard plus wide receiver. I think Jordan Reed can be an outstanding SEC TE and I love the two incoming freshmen TEs. But they guy I get a special vibe about is Latroy Pittman. He just has a special quality about him. Plenty of wideouts are bigger, stronger, faster and have better skills but a major part of the game is in the chest and in the head. Pittman is fearless. Pittman is smart. Pittman is tough. Pittman does have physical and ball skills too but he has the intangibles. I think Debose can stretch the field. I think Reed ca be hugely effective in the short passing game but the guy running slants, hooks and flashing across the middle in front of the safeties is Pittman.
I can be reasonably sure the Gator defense will be excellent. I can hope the Gator offense can move the ball and score points and be the factor they have always been for the University of Florida. Right now it's not a question of talent. Florida has plenty of talent. It's not a question of coaching. Coach Muschamp has a year under his belt. He has gone out and gotten a terrific offensive coordinator and he lets his people do their job. We have bigger backs, a stronger and deeper team and a more traditional approach to offense that is more in line with what SEC football is all about. But questions do abound and that just makes me so damn happy! I love being the underdog. Every time a critic fires up his mike or keyboard about the Gators and their perceived issues I just love it. Heightened expectations is one problem we should not have as a team. Coach Boom is a fun coach to play football for and that to me is a huge factor in my restrained enthusiasm. Once the mentality of dread is dead and these kids can have fun playing the game we will see a different Gator team. I think this team is capable of surprising a lot of people. Mainly I think the defense keeps us in all our games and if the offense can get a rhythm and some confidence it's Katy Bar the Door and let's have some fun!!
Read more: http://www.gatorcountry.com/swampgas/showthread.php?t=235464#ixzz22hzgsLIW
Well, it defies belief but another month is gone. March 13 was a sad day, but the rest of the Month was busy and fun. We were able to participate in a 5K road run to support Haven Hospice - a great experience. Having never done one before, I was excited just to finish without the need for EMS or an ambulance! ( Both Kathy and I finished and actually won ribbons - amazing but true. Here is proof !!
Allan West, WA4JD, let me join to communications group that worked the 2012 March Of Dimes Walk for Babies. It is very gratifying to be able to help out on these type projects. We also worked a station for the recent Gainesville 5 Points of Life Marathon - both Kathy and I worked at one of the water and communications stations.
Thanks to Gary, I served as an examiner for the FCC Tech Class licensure exam - all of the candidates who took Gary’s excellent 6 hour class easily passed the exam and are now operating amateur radio operators. Some are anxiously awaiting a General License class. Congrats to them.
Another licensure exam is being held on Saturday, April 7 at 12:30, hosted by the Gainesville Amateur Radio Club. Please contact me if you are interested in sitting for this exam session. We are looking forward to examining those candidates and having more amateur tech license operators soon.
Back to football !
The Gators are making serious headway with recruiting for the 2013 class. Although signing day is still months away (February, 2013) our commit board looks as follows:
Adam Lane - 5-8, 216lbs from Winter Haven, Fl
Kelvin Taylor - 5-11, 190 lbs from Belle Glade, Fl
Rodney Adams - 6-1, 175 lbs from St. Petersburg, Fl
Caleb Brantley - 6-3, 307 lbs from Crescent City, Fl
James Hearns - 6-3, 237 lbs from Tallahassee, Fl
Dillon Lawson - 6-4, 216 lbs from Crestview, Fl
Daniel McMillan - 6-2, 220 lbs from Jacksonville, Fl
Quinton Powell - 6-2, 187 lbs from Jacksonville, Fl
Keanu Neal - 6-1, 200 lbs from Bushnell, Fl
Nick Washington - 6-1, 180 lbs from Jacksonville, Fl
Rod Johnson - 6-5, 290 lbs from Delray Beach (American Heritage)
As we learn of more commits, we will add them to our list for your review.
As we all unfortunately remember, the offensive production of the Gators last season was not anywhere near expectations. A lot of discussion has dealt with the Offensive Coordinator play calling and coaching, a weakness of the offensive line (indeed the whole team) and numerous other issues.
It is heartening to see some of the changes already made by Coach Muschamp. He has his coaches and recruiters working overtime, has brought in a new offensive coordinator who is working with the quarterbacks and the wide receivers and a new Strength and Conditioning Coach who has already made a visual change to the condition of our players. The Spring Game will be very interesting to watch.
Andy Hutchins wrote an excellent article about Florida’s offense returning to form in 2012. In case you missed it, clink upon this link and enjoy.
As always, thanks for taking time to read my blog. I look forward to any comments, suggestions or criticisms you might have.
Until next time - GO GATORS !!!!
It sure is good to be home! We returned today from an adventure filled weekend in Rincon, Puerto Rico where I had the privilege to participate in the ARRL International DX Contest. Rincon is a really beautiful place, close to the westernmost tip of the island. We were there during the surfing competition, which filled the beaches. While my mentor, W4GVL and I worked together in the contest, other members of the expedition had time to enjoy the sun and the scenery! The photo below is the view from the KP4MM Headquarters station - simply amazing!
This is a view of the beach, with the surfing contest in high gear. For some reason, our ladies (or XYL in hamspeak) were last seen headed that way,
The objective for this contest was (since we were classified as a DX station) to contact as many US stations as possible within the time frame of the contest. In order to compete, strategy sessions were frequent and challenging, as can be seen from the picture below. This meeting the the Rincon Wireless Club was held in Tioga before we left for the contest!
Of course, Kathy, Suzanne and Renee also held many of their own strategy sessions, as can be seen from this picture taken from the top of the KP4MM headquarters.
Of course, during this time Gary and I were hard at work in the contest. While not able to work to 40 Meter band, which cut our operational time down considerably, we still managed a solid performance. I learned a lot, as this was my first real endurance contest.
For those with a technical interest, we ran a 100 watt transmitter at the KP4MM station, using 3 bands. We had dipole antennas working on 20 and 15 meters and a sloper for 10 meters. I was really amazed with the sloper, as it tuned up at a 1:1 swr and we received several comments on how effective our signal was. My furthest contact (which didn’t count since it was not in the US) was from the Phillipines.
Bottom line, we operated 26 hours, 47 minutes out of the 48 hours available. During that time, we confirmed 1,673 valid contest qso’s. With our earned multiplier, we ended the contest with a final score of 692,622 total points. Although many larger staffed and more permanent stations participating in the contest, both Gary and I felt we had far exceeded our expectations for the contest!
Note Kathy in the background making notes for a better success next yea
At the end of the contest, we enjoyed the outstanding margaritas that are a Rincon Specialty, along with Churrasco, beans and rice.
Like the Gators, wait ’til next year! We are already refining our plans and equipment choices to become even more competitive!
73’s and thanks to all the US stations that contacted us during the contest. For the time being, I am going to do my best to resemble the first picture and really “Do Nothing - like I did yesterday!”
Strength and Conditioning
A look at what the off-season is really like
While our attention has been focused upon recruiting - getting the right players to fill our needs, the Gators are in the off season strength and conditioning program. What happens during this period determines how the players will perform during the season. This is a very critical part of the program and it looks like Coach Muschamp has hired a very talented Director in Jeff Dillman. He and his assistant - Jesse Ackerman are making this program work. We will see how well they persevere and endure in the upcoming season.
In talking with a coach from a very respected high school program a few days ago, the emphasis on discipline and conditioning came up. He stressed the importance to his players, even in the high school level. While he doesn’t try to keep the players at a game ready level, he wants them to be at a maintenance level. When the season approaches, it should not be that difficult to get the players at a game ready level of fitness and strength.
A video link provides a look at how this is being done with our football team. It is a very interesting look inside our program. To view this video,
Attitude of a Champion
Jeff Dillman has taken control of the Strength and Conditioning program for our Gators. From everything I have heard and read, he is bringing significant change to what the program requires of student athletes as well as the techniques being used. For example, under the prior program we emphasized large numbers of repetition with moderate weights. For a spread type offense, this may be the system of choice, but it does not create bulk and maximum strength. Dillman reportedly emphasizes maximum weight for a limited number of reps. That type exercise will definitely create muscle bulk. But - there is more to his message.
I think mental conditioning plays an equally important role in the development of players. The correct mental attitude is required in order to be successful on the field and, more importantly, in life. From looking at the video below, this message is first and foremost in his coaching and mentoring philosophy. If this attitude can become the norm for our players, Coach Muschamp will not have to worry about our team being, or playing, soft.
Take a look.
“Get your attitude right, dominate the quarters of the game, dominate your life”. Quite a message. Something tells me he will get our players attention. I think this is also the message that Coach Muschamp has been pushing, and the two of them go together, hand in glove. I read a post today that reflects the same sentiment, but characterized them as baseball bat and windshield!
In any event - we will see a much different team next year. I would bet we will see a return to an even more dominant defense with a blue collar mentality that rivals that of Alabama and LSU. Fasten your seat belts, it could be a bumpy ride, but we will be proud as we reach our destination.