The suspensions of Jalen Tabor and C’yontai Lewis for what reportedly was a vicious fight in practice was the big news in Gainesville this week. Former Gators star quarterback Shane Matthews began this episode of the podcast expressing his disappointment in Tabor.
“He is one of the leaders when you think of Florida football,” Matthews said. “Tremendous talent, a guy who will be playing on Sundays and you hate to see anyone who’ll be missing game time because of foolish stuff like this.”
While Tabor is a more prominent player than Lewis, Lewis’ loss will be felt.
“(Florida offensive coordinator Doug) Nussmeier and 'Coach Mac' (Jim McElwain), they like to use two-tight end sets a lot; also a three-tight end set,” Matthews said. “So now what do you do? Another guy has to step up and play. It’s kind of disheartening what happened, but it does happen, I just hope it doesn’t carry over for the rest of the year.”
Luke Del Rio named starting quarterback
The Gators will hold a scrimmage Friday. After the recording of this podcast, McElwain named Luke Del Rio the team's starting quarterback.
Both Matthews and Ackerman expected the starter to be Del Rio and are happy the decision was made sooner rather than later.
“I think it’s important as we get closer to opening week, game-week preparations, that you have a number-one guy,” Ackerman said. “To get reps with the ‘ones’ and game-plan reps and not have to split those reps up as you prepare for UMass.”
Why does Matthews believe choosing a starter early makes a difference?
“I feel like the team needs a guy to rally behind,” Matthews said. “I still feel like they’ll play two quarterbacks in the first game, maybe even the second game – who knows – we got to get a guy the coaching staff believes in, that the players can say, ‘Hey, this is the guy we’re going to go play for, he’s the leader of our team, let’s see what he can do.’ ”
Offensive line set
Ackerman mentioned that the Gators have identified their top five offensive linemen and he expects this group, in one form or another, to be the starters: David Sharpe, Montez Ivey, Cam Dillard, Tyler Jordan and Fred Johnson.
“Cam Dillard’s had a very good camp at center, seems to have a really good grasp of the offense,” Ackerman said.
Listen to the remainder of “The Florida Gators Podcast” below.
(You can follow Shane Matthews, @SMniner, and Brady Ackerman, @bradyack, on Twitter)
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