As Jim McElwain and the Florida Gators prepare for the 2016 football season, here are the biggest strengths and weaknesses heading into fall camp.
Biggest positive: Quite simply, Florida this season has more guys who can put the ball into the end zone than it did last season. From quarterback to running back to wide receiver, there are more playmakers. WR Antonio Callaway, TE DeAndre Goolsby, RB Mark Thompson, RB Jordan Scarlett and a bevy of talented freshman receivers give coordinator Doug Nussmeier plenty of options this season.
Biggest negative: There is uncertainty and a lack of depth on the line. That sophomore Martez Ivey, a natural tackle, may end up at guard could mean the interior depth is not where the Gators need it to be. The line should be motivated after relinquishing a school-record 45 sacks last season. That was the most sacks allowed nationally in 2015. While depth is better than it was last season, it's still not close to where it needs to be.
Biggest positive: Even more than the offense, Florida's defense has a bevy of talented and experienced playmakers. CB Jalen Tabor, LB Jarrad Davis, S Marcus Maye, CB Quincy Wilson, Es Bryan Cox Jr. and CeCe Jefferson and T Caleb Brantley have made big-time plays in key games during their careers. Davis, Maybe and Tabor should contend for All-America honors. And junior DB Duke Dawson – who can play corner, nickel and safety – appears poised for a breakout season.
Biggest negative: Florida's lack of depth at linebacker is alarming. After Davis and oft-injured junior Alex Anzalone (22 tackles in 23 career games), the Gators have little experience. Senior Daniel McMillian has 36 career tackles and one more season to reach his potential. Matt Rolin, another oft-injured junior (11 tackles in three career games), seems to be a spot guy in the base defense. The Gators are an injury away (to Davis) from being in a huge bind. Florida needs two or three underclass linebackers to make an impact.
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