Florida Gators: 30 Things

ESPN’s GatorNation brings you the 30 things you need to know about Florida’s upcoming 2012 season. For 30 weekdays we’ll preview games, talk about trends, spotlight players and positions, and give you pretty much everything you need to know to be ready for the season before the Sept. 1 opener against Bowling Green.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- This is it. The end of the road.

Over the course of 29 weekdays, GatorNation gave you 29 things you needed to know about Florida’s upcoming 2012 season. Today is the final installment -- and it’s personal.

Here are my five predictions for Florida’s 2012 season:

The QB battle will continue throughout the season

The competition between Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett has been close throughout spring and into fall practice. It seems highly unlikely that either will gain a significant advantage over the other -- barring injury, of course -- during preseason practice. Coach Will Muschhamp would love for one player to emerge as the clear-cut starter but likely will end up having a weekly competition to determine the starter.

Mike Gillislee will surpass 1,000 yards

The senior running back finally gets his chance, in an offense that’s a much better fit for his talents, and he will deliver. The Gators want to play power football and run the ball between the tackles and they’ll get that done with an improved offensive line and a healthy Gillislee, who has averaged 6.3 yards per carry in his career. Only seven players have rushed for 1,000 yards in a season at Florida, and nobody has done it since Ciatrick Fason in 2004.

(Read full post)

ESPN’s GatorNation brings you the 30 things you need to know about Florida’s upcoming 2012 season. For 30 weekdays we’ll preview games, talk about trends, spotlight players and positions, and give you pretty much everything you need to know to be ready for the season before the Sept. 1 opener against Bowling Green.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- For the past seven months, Florida fans have been trying to forget a disappointing 2011 season and hoping for a much better performance in 2012.

Optimistic Gators fans are pointing to the fact that four coaches in the last 11 years have won national championships in their second season. Realistic Gators fans know there are too many questions on offense -- especially at quarterback -- and are hoping UF can remain in the hunt for the Eastern Division title into November.

The second scenario is more likely, according to four of the most popular and prominent college football preseason magazines that have been on the shelves since May. Lindy’s, USA Today, and Athlon predict the Gators will finish third in the Eastern Division.

Phill Steele, however, is giving Florida a lot more love. He has the Gators winning the Eastern Division.

The Sporting News’ preseason magazine comes out in August.

Here’s a quick look at what each magazine has to say:

(Read full post)

ESPN’s GatorNation brings you the 30 things you need to know about Florida’s upcoming 2012 season. For 30 weekdays we’ll preview games, talk about trends, spotlight players and positions, and give you pretty much everything you need to know to be ready for the season before the Sept. 1 opener against Bowling Green.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida had one of the nation’s top defenses in 2011. The upcoming season should be no different.

Matt Elam
Kim Klement/US PresswireSafety Matt Elam might be the Gators' best player.
There are 12 players returning who started at least three games last season. There is a good mix of younger and older players, especially in the secondary. In fact, most of UF’s top players on the roster can be found on the defensive side of the ball.

That made choosing the Gators’ top five defensive players heading into the 2012 season difficult. Buck Ronald Powell was not included on the list because he is expected to miss part of the season with a torn ACL, and there’s no way to know how effective he will be when he returns. If he were completely healthy, he’d be on the list.

Here they are in order:

S Matt Elam -- He is UF’s best defensive player and is good enough to leave for the NFL draft after this season. He was a nickelback and special teams standout as a freshman in 2010, then started every game last season. He led the Gators in pass breakups (seven) and tackles for loss (11.0). He was second on the team with 78 tackles. He’s a big hitter who rarely finds himself out of position.

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ESPN 300 Ranking Motivates Byron Cowart
After a recent rise into the top 10 overall, defensive end Byron Cowart of Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) joins ESPN's Matt Schick to discuss recruiting and the new ESPN 300.Tags: Byron Cowart, Armwood, ESPN 300, RecruitingNation, high school football recruiting, Matt Schick
VIDEO PLAYLIST video