When it comes to recent SEC history, defensive coordinators entering their second year at a school can expect their troops to perform better than in their debut seasons in a new system. From Nick Saban to Todd Grantham and more, the second year usually shows a nice jump. That should be reassuring to Florida fans who are wondering what Dan Quinn and Will Muschamp — it’s his system after all — can pull out of their hats this fall.
When it comes to linebacker, Rachel George of The Orlando Sentinel says two players have emerged as “the heart of the group.” Senior Jonathan Bostic and junior Jelani Jenkins both had solid 2011s and are expected to be as good or better in 2012.
“After Bostic and Jenkins, the Gators are slim. Lerentee McCray earned the starting spot at strongside linebacker last year but missed time because of a shoulder injury. He’ll be one of the players counted on to replace Ronald Powell at the Buck position while he recovers from ACL surgery. Mike Taylor wasn’t as productive as coaches had hoped for last season, and Graham Stewart transferred this month after one season at Florida.”
Florida — like most of the SEC East’s teams beyond Georgia and South Carolina — is a tough squad to read. There is talent, but much of it is young. It’s the second year of Muschamp’s reign, but there are still some Urban Meyer guys running around (but hopefully not running amok) on campus.
While the D-line is experienced, question marks remain at quarterback, running back, defensive back and linebacker depth.
If it all comes together, the Gators could surprise. If not, Muschamp could be looking at a hot-seat year in 2013.