10:22 PM EDT, August 29, 2012
Scouting report: A new weight program and renewed commitment from the players could spell improvements for the Gators going into Year 2 of the Will Muschamp Era.
Hope and Glory: Keys to the season
Pick a QB: The starting quarterback is supposed to lead the team, so Florida needs coach Will Muschamp and his staff to pick a quarterback and stick with him.
Find playmakers: The Gators have plenty of skilled players, including WR Andre Debose, TE Jordan Reed, RB Trey Burton and RB Mike Gillislee, but this team needs someone to step up and consistently make big plays on offense.
Finish games: Will Muschamp has lamented how the Gators ran out of steam late in games last season. A new weight room program and better depth should help Florida’s players finish strong late in the season.
No Guts, No Glory: Make-it or break-it games
Oct. 6 vs. LSU: It’s been more than three decades since Florida lost three straight games to the Tigers, making this mid-season contest at The Swamp against the nation’s preseason coaches’ poll No. 1 team so critical.
Oct. 20 vs. South Carolina: Any hopes Florida has of winning the SEC East rest on whether the Gators can shut down Marcus Lattimore and the Gamecocks at The Swamp.
Oct. 27 vs. Georgia: As if this game needed any more hype. If Florida topples South Carolina, this one could help decide who takes home the SEC East division crown.
Quest for Glory: Did you know ...
The offensive line is much better. Looking to put dismal 2011 behind them, the linemen bulked up in the weight room and logged endless meals together to bolster their chemistry.
Players give new offensive coordinator Brent Pease’s unconventional playbook rave reviews. They love the idea of potentially starring in the next iconic Statue of Liberty, game-changing moment.
The team’s preseason MVP award could go to strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman, whose methods have drawn rave reviews from head coach Will Muschamp and the players.
Five Gators Players Chasing Glory
QB Jacoby Brissett: The dual-threat quarterback battling for the starting job made the most of his opportunities in preseason camp and impressed new offensive coordinator Brent Pease.
QB Jeff Driskel: A shoulder injury may have put Driskel half a step behind in the tight starting quarterback race, but the dual-threat quarterback quarterback should still earn plenty of playing time this season.
RB Mike Gillislee: After an inconsistent performance in 2011, Gillislee expects to rush for 1,500 yards and 24 touchdowns.
LB Jon Bostic: Florida’s big man in the middle led the team in tackles seven times last season and leads all current Gators with 169 total tackles going into 2012.
DL Sharrif Floyd: Gator standout is expected to create havoc for opposing offenses this season.
Glory Days: Gators 5 greatest players
Steve Spurrier, QB (1963-66): Spurrier left the program holding most of the school’s and the SEC’s passing records while becoming the first Gator to win the Heisman Trophy in 1966.
Jack Youngblood, DL (1967-70): Youngblood is considered the best defensive end the Florida football program has ever produced.
Emmitt Smith, RB (1987-89): One of the most prolific running backs in Florida history, Smith shattered school records on his way to rushing for 3,928 yards and 36 touchdowns during three seasons in Gainesville.
Danny Wuerffel, QB (1993-96): Wuerffel won four SEC titles and led his team to two national championship games, including Florida’s title win in 1996. His performance that season earned him the Heisman Trophy.
Tim Tebow, QB (2006-09): Tebow was on two national championship teams. He became the third Florida player to earn the Heisman Trophy.
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