The Florida Gators embarked upon their first spring under new head coach Jim McElwain, and it was very challenging, for the lack of a better term.

The lack of depth along the offensive line — only five healthy scholarship O-linemen participated in practice — hopefully didn’t inhibit the offense too much, but McElwain acknowledges his new team has a long way to go to improve and build depth.

McElwain and new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier are charged with jumpstarting a stagnant offense with just two scholarship quarterbacks: redshirt freshman Will Grier and sophomore Treon Harris.


  • Defensive Backs: Florida may have the best defensive backfield in the SEC. In fact, the Gators are loaded with elite defensive back talent. If Will Muschamp did anything right, he stacked corners and safeties like cord wood. Vernon Hargreaves is the top corner in the SEC — and maybe the country, and it doesn’t stop there. Fellow cornerbacks Jalen Tabor, Brian Poole and Quincy Wilson could start on several SEC teams, and safeties Marcus Maye, Marcell Harris and Keanu Neal could too. Florida’s defense can afford to be more aggressive with the front seven because the defensive backfield is so talented.
  • Defensive Line: Despite losing Dante Fowler, the Gators’ defensive line may not miss a beat. Alex McCalister is ready to step in for Fowler. The 6-6, 240-pound athlete is ready to grow into a premier NFL draft pick. He’s primed for a huge season. Even though McCalister is so talented and may be the biggest impact player, the catalyst is senior Jonathan Bullard. Under Geoff Collins, Bullard could become a force much like second-round pick Preston Smith did in the same system at Mississippi State. Bullard will play both end and tackle during 2015. Caleb Brantley, Taven Bryan and Thomas Holley should also be in for big seasons. Let’s not forget incoming five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson for this fall either.
  • SEC East: Perhaps the most beautiful thing about Florida in the SEC East is the division is wide open. Tennessee, Georgia, Missouri and South Carolina all have their issues. Any of those four teams, including Florida, could win the division. The East has been down for a few years, and Florida and Tennessee are big reasons for that.


  • No Known QB Starter: Obviously, as it stands now, Will Grier and Treon Harris will continue to compete for the starting job in fall camp. They are the only two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, but McElwain has been trying to add a graduate transfer at the position. Florida fans hope Grier is the future, but Harris could be the best choice based on his escapability. No matter who starts game one, we could see both throughout the season.
  • Offensive Line: The biggest weakness and hindrance during spring camp, the offensive line is the biggest question mark entering the season. Left tackle David Sharp and the versatile Trip Thurman are two you can pencil in for starting jobs, and incoming players Martez Ivey, Nick Buchanan and Tyler Jordan need to be ready to play this fall. Losing Rod Johnson to a neck injury is one of the biggest losses of any team this spring.
  • Linebacker Depth: Should Florida stay healthy at linebacker, the position could be a strength. But there isn’t much depth. Injured Antonio Morrison hopes to be back in September, but he’ll miss some of fall camp recovering from his knee injury. Jarrad Davis, too, is recovering from a knee injury suffered last season. Alex Anzalone and Daniel McMillian stepped up this spring and will need to continue to progress and stay healthy this season. Jeremi Powell and Matt Rolin also need to be ready to make impacts.