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The Rebirth Of The Gator (Florida Gators Preview)

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on August 29, 2007

Quick. Raise your hand if you believed that the Florida Gators were going to be crowned national champions in Urban Meyer’s second season.

Can’t do it? That’s because the few people that picked them to win the 2006 National Championship, let alone a win over a strong Ohio State team, was the same people that picked Michelle Southerland to be a success as the new football coach at Alabama, which as I mentioned in my preview of the Crimson Tide two weeks ago, turned out to be a complete bust and gave Alabama the greenlight to hire Nick Saban.

With only 8 starters returning to Gainesville for the 2007 season, the Florida Gators, for the most, part will be a young team being forced to defend the school’s second national championship in footbal, something that a college football realist deem as impossible.

With Chris Leak gone, the offense rests on the shoulders of sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow, who saw action in all 14 games, completing 22 of 33 attempts for 356 yards and 5 touchdowns, good enough for a 66.7 completion percentage. Not only that, Tebow proved himself to be a capable rusher as he finished second on the team with 469 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns in 2006.

Much like 2006, the Gators have a trio of playmaking receivers, starting with senior receiver Andre Caldwell, who will be in the outside receiving slot when the Gators open their season on September 1st against Western Kentucky and has 129 catches in his Florida career. Along with Caldwell, sophomore Percy Harvin, who was third on the team in rushing with 437 yards and 3 touchdowns, will fill in at inside receiver with fellow sophomore Jarred Fayson, who will be in his first year as starter after compiling 14 rushes and one catch in 2006.

During spring drills, junior running back Kesthann Moore propelled himself into the starting running back’s role after Mon Williams suffered a torn ACL, something that Moore took opportunity of by separating himself from the rest of the pack.

On defense, only two starters return from a unit that finished fifth in the country against the run and sixth in total defense, those being End Derrick Harvey and Safety Tony Joiner. In 2006, Harvey recorded 13 tackles for losses and 11 sacks, as well as an MVP award for his play against Ohio State in the BCS Championship Game where he recorded three sacks and a fumble recovery in Florida’s 41-14 win.

Final analysis: There is no doubt that Florida had a year to remember last year as they posted a school-best 13 wins and a convincing win over Ohio State in the national title game. But with most of the personnel gone from last year, the Gators are still going to be competitive but will fall short of repeating in 2006.

Projected record:8-4 (5-3 SEC)

2007 Florida Gators

Sept. 1st Western Kentucky

Sept. 8th Troy

Sept. 15th Tennessee

Sept. 22nd @ Ole Miss

Sept. 29th Auburn

Oct. 6th @ LSU

Oct. 20th @ Kentucky

Oct. 27th vs. Georgia (Jacksonville, Florida)

Nov. 3rd Vanderbilt

Nov. 10th @ South Carolina

Nov. 17 Florida Atlantic

Nov. 24th Florida State

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10 Responses to “The Rebirth Of The Gator (Florida Gators Preview)”

  1. Steven said

    5-3 in the SEC sounds about right to me for the Gators in 2007.

    They will still be very talented, but so will a lot of their opponents and I can see possible losses against TN, UGA, USC, AUB and LSU. They will not lose all 5 mind you, but all of those teams should give them a heck of a game and in my opinion they will likely lose at least 3 of the 5.

    Which 3? I am going to hazard a guess and say UGA, USC and LSU.

  2. Doc Hancock said

    Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee are my three.

  3. Matt said

    I think LSU will be one of them…

  4. Steven said

    Yeah, LSU is the one I would pick if I had to bet on just one.

    The other 4 I listed are all possible, but LSU has more talent than anyone this year.

    I also don’t know a ton about AUB this year, but thought they were supposed to be down a bit.

    For Florida’s sake, if they lose 3 SEC games, they better hope that 2 of them are LSU and AUB so they have a good record against the East.

  5. Let’s hope so.

  6. raptorcox said

    If South Carolina had beaten Florida on that last FG, it would have changed the entire path last year for both teams, most likely resulting in Ohio State vs. So Cal or Michigan in the title game. Noone expected Florida to do what they did last year. However, it gives teams in the SEC a breath of hope that when the cards fall their way, they might be there among the champions of college football.

    As for this season, I really think Florida should have 8 wins in the regular season. I’m also hoping that Spurrier gives them all they want! LOL!

  7. Matt said

    This should be a solid chance to take down the Gators, Raptorcox, especially with the game being in Colombia…

  8. Fred said

    A Gator alumni has just launched http://www.KeepUrbanMeyer.com. Please consider these facts:

    1) Meyer has never been the head coach for more than two years at any school.
    2) This is Urban Meyer’s 3rd year at the University of Florida!
    3) Urban Meyer is the hottest young college coach in America!
    4) The NFL already claimed a Gator football coach in Steve Spurrier (2001) and the NBA hired away (then released) Gator basketball coach Billy Donovan (2007)
    5) A logical person would conclude that Urban Meyer is the next Gator coach to be lured away!

    KeepUrbanMeyer.com will remain in existence ban Meyer to commit to the University of Florida until his contract expires, and to turn down the NFL when they are calling!

    Please help Gator Nation by pressuring Urban Meyer to commit to fulfilling his contract with the University of Florida by remaining head football coach until at least 2013.

  9. Steven said

    I think it is a little too early in his tenure at Florida to decide whether he is as great as some fans want to make him out to be.

    I realize that a National Championship has a way of making a coach look awesome, but let’s wait until he has nothing but his own players at Florida and has to maintain a high level for a few years.

    According to some the Gators are down this year….. IF that is the case, then something is wrong as the talent and topnotch recruiting Florida usually does year in and year out should have them just reloading.

  10. Matt said

    I tend to agree with Steven even though coaches are judged by one thing: Championships. Urban Meyer has a long way to go to this point, but the reason why I said this is because the experience I have witnessed with former Kentucky basketball coach Tubby Smith.

    Tubby won a championship in his first year, and over the years as his supporters and detractors split, whether or not he should receive a free pass because of that first-year championship was a hot item of debate.

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