Friday, May 07, 2010

FROM THE ATLANTA CONSTITUTION:


Even without Tebow, Gators will win the SEC East again

Spring practice is over. We’ve learned a lot in the past month but there is still a lot that we won’t know until the teams return in August to begin drills for the 2010 season. This week we are going to break down every team in the SEC and ACC. We’ll talk about what we learned and what we still don’t know. What we do know is that every team, even the defending national champion (Alabama), has issues. How they deal with those issues, and what kind of summer the team has in avoiding off the field problems, will determine what happens come September.

Here is the schedule for the week:

Today: SEC East

Tuesday: SEC West

Wednesday: ACC Atlantic

Thursday: ACC Coastal

Friday: Tony’s Spring Top 25

Feel free to add your own comments to what we learned and what we still don’t know about each team. This exercise is meant to be fun and to give you a football fix that will (hopefully) last until two-a-days.

Enjoy.

SEC EAST SPRING REVIEW

PROJECTED FINISH

1. FLORIDA

**–Last season: 13-1, 8-0 SEC; lost to Alabama 32-13 in SEC championship game; defeated Cincinnati 51-24 in Sugar Bowl.

**–Coach: Urban Meyer, 96-18 in nine years, 57-10 in five seasons at Florida.

**–Key losses: QB Tim Tebow, LB Brandon Spikes, DE Carlos Dunlap, C Maurkice Pouncey.

**–Returning starters: Offense 6, defense 5, specialist 2.

**–Players to watch: QB John Brantley, OL Mike Pouncey, S Ahmad Black, RB Jeff Demps.

**–What we learned: Florida’s offense will be very good again. Yes Tim Tebow and four other starters are gone from a unit that was seventh nationally in total offense (457.86 ypg). But don’t expect a significant drop off from the 2010 Gators. New quarterback John Brantley has an NFL arm and four of five starters return from a very good offensive line. The Gators are loaded at receiver as Andre Debose and Carl Moore return from injuries. Chris Rainey, who played running back last season, moved to the hybrid “Percy Harvin” position and should have a big year. Florida has a couple of young players, Trey Burton and tight end Jordan Reed, who can run the ball from the quarterback position.

**–What we still don’t know: Can the defense overcome the losses? Five starters from the 2009 defense, which finished fourth nationally (252.57 ypg), were taken in the NFL draft. The other lost starter, linebacker Ryan Stamper, led the team in tackles last season with 78. Also gone is defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, now the head coach at Louisville. That’s a lot of talent to replace, but there is a lot of talent waiting in the wings. Look for safety Ahmad Black to have a huge season.

**–Opening game: Sept. 4 vs. Miami of Ohio.

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