Published July 11, 2011 - 11:25am
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Saturday Down South will be looking at the SEC title chances for every team in the conference and giving three reasons for and three reasons against every team winning the SEC Championship come December…in alphabetical order of course.
Three Reasons Why
Defensive Line – The defensive line for the Florida Gators is ready to break out in 2011. Players such as Jaye Howard, Shariff Floyd and Dominique Easley at tackle, combined with Ronald Powell and William Green at defensive end, create a formidable line of defense for the Gators. Howard is the veteran of the line, and he will anchor it. Floyd, Easley and Powell were all part of the same dynamic recruiting class, ready to kick it into gear. I think this line can be as good as they want to be.
2. Jelani Jenkins – Jenkins is a freak athlete who really is looking to bust of out his shell this coming season. Last year, Jenkins was a weekly starter, but always seemed to find himself on the bottom of the pile – hence, he is not driving through his tackles. Jenkins has all the mental and physical tools to be a great football player, and I think he will be one of the best linebackers in the SEC for 2011. There is no one faster in this conference sideline to sideline than Jenkins.
3. Will Muschamp – Question the inexperience all you want, but one thing that cannot be questioned is the fire he has to be good at what he does. Muschamp wants to be the best, and it shows with his determination. He looks to breathe new life back into an exhausted program and fan base. There was no fire last year – this year, it will be totally different from a head coaching perspective.
Three Reasons Why Not
1. Quarterbacks – Charlie Weis’ pro-style offense is a big deal in Gainesville. The quarterback position, or lack of production, is the bigger deal. John Brantley couldn’t bust a grape last year at quarterback and was heavily scrutinized. It was a struggle all year for the spread offense, coupled with Brantley running it. Either Brantley will be running this offense or it will be a freshman, either Jeff Driskel or Tyler Murphy. The quarterback position could hold this offense down from making a run in the east.
2. Offensive Line – Florida is paper thin along the offensive line. Tackles Xavier Nixon and Chaz Green look to be the starters. Notre Dame transfer Dan Wenger really is a big addition to this line. If anyone on this line gets hurt at any point, depth along the offensive line could become the key issue in making a run in 2011.
3. SEC Schedule – The Gators play a hellacious schedule. From the West, the Gators play Alabama at home, with games against LSU and Auburn on the road. Auburn always plays Florida tough and usually beats them. Those three games alone will be the tell-tale for the success, or lack thereof, Florida will have this coming season.