We spend so much time discussing what’s best for the Florida Gators, what will help the sports teams both on and off the field. From time to time, we decide to be selfish though and discuss what’s best for us. These thoughts could help the football team or they could simply help us as fans. We may want a certain player to succeed because he’s a vital part of the roster or just because we like his jersey number. Whatever the case, these are the things we want out of the Gators’ 2012 football season. One Eyed Willy was first, The Bull Gator second; now it’s my turn.
10. To be able to look forward to Florida having the ball. Two years–that’s how long it’s been since I’ve almost had to close my eyes every time Florida has possession of the ball. I didn’t think it was possible, but I felt the Gators had a better chance of scoring on defense than on offense. I want the Gators to establish some rhythm on an offense that was largely sporadic over the last two years. I want a quarterback that puts some moxie (Jon Gruden) into his throws, a receiver that opposing defenses fear, and a running back that makes defenders look like bowling balls.
9. Decrease in Arrest Record. I don’t expect our arrest record to suddenly disappear completely, but I do want to see a gradual steady decrease in the number of constant mistakes the players make. To be frank, the idiotic mistakes the Gators seem to be making year after year are flat out embarrassing. I’m not sure how to correct the thug-life attitudes of some of the players, but maybe it starts with pointing out character red flags in recruiting. The Bull Gator pointed out to me that coaches see “Number 1 tight end” and may look right past character issues. That’s something to think about, character vs. talent.
8. Please no injuries on the offensive line. Injuries completely plagued the Gators’ line last year and could hamper any progress the Gators make if more pour in next year. They can’t handle injuries on the offensive line—their depth won’t allow it. The Gators made progress on adding quality to the offensive line with Jessamen Dunker and D.J. Humphries but failed to address their gaping depth issue. I’m hoping we can address this in recruiting.
7. Leaders to emerge. What do championship teams have year after year? Oh yeah, leaders. We were spoiled with leadership from ’06 to ’09 with Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes. I want someone who gives inspiring half time speeches. These are the guys who fill Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The players the fans come to see. So far, the leadership watch list only includes Matt Elam. For the offense, no obvious visible candidates. Now, if the Gators want any chance at a championship run, leaders must emerge.
6. The return of the lockdown corner. It’s a well-known fact that having a shutdown cornerback drastically makes winning games and defending an opponent easier. Thankfully, Florida doesn’t have to worry about the game changing receivers that they’ve had to deal with over the last few years: Julio Jones, A.J. Green, and Alshon Jeffery. Not so thankfully, with his size and skill, Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham looks to be the successor to those tall and athletic SEC receivers and more will be coming. The Gators will not be able to avoid these types of players without moving to the Big Ten (which I don’t suggest). I miss the days where we could count on Joe Haden or Janoris Jenkins to completely shut down these tall receivers. Sadly, Haden was drafted two years ago and Jenkins decided that smoking pot was a little more important to him than shutting down receivers. Please, give us a cornerback that’s not an idiot, please.
5. Quarterback battle decided. We know who it’s between – Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett. I simply want the better player to be our quarterback for the next few years. To tell you the truth, I have no idea which one’s better. They’ve both showed their upsides…but mostly their downsides. Lucky for me, I don’t have to choose. That decision will be left up to Will Muschamp and Brent Pease. A decision won’t be likely until summer. The stakes are high, as the loser will likely transfer. If the wrong player is selected (if there is a wrong player here), Florida fans will be kicking themselves for a long time.
4. More game-changers. Think Percy Harvin here. These are the guys that don’t necessarily have to be leaders, but impact games so that they couldn’t possibly be replaced. Guys that could turn a two-yard loss into a 60-yard touchdown run. Last year, the Gators’ offense was practically without big plays, especially the second half of the year. One of these years, I hope Andre Debose lives up to his Percy Harvin comparisons.
3.Sharrif Floyd. Basically, I want the “Sheriff” puns to be applicable. Floyd, one of my favorite Gators and a great story, finished up his second year productively with 1.5 sacks in the bowl game after a sack-less year. I’m hoping the Sheriff, I mean Sharrif, can carryover his late season production and more into next year. I want to see a new sheriff in town.
2. Learn how to tackle. I want to know who was in charge of teaching the Gators’ defense how to tackle last year. From what I saw, you’d think Josh Evans was implementing his tackling techniques into a team-wide trend. No Trent Richardson next year, Gators. No excuses. It doesn’t appear that there are any Major Wrights on this team, so let’s not go for those knockout punches that turn into opposing touchdowns. The only exception here is Matt Elam. Everyone else, learn how to wrap up a tackle.
1. A set-up year. I really think if we’re lucky, 2013 could be the year we get back to being national contenders. That’s why 2012 is even more important. We need several things in 2012 to happen in order to make this realistic:
- Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting! Really need to address that depth issue.
- It would also help if our juniors do not enter into the 2013 NFL Draft.
- Confidence is key. Get the players’ hopes up! (Confidence goes along with a few wins for the year.)
- Not necessary, but it would help if we have a Cam Newton-type player transfer in this set-up year. Yeah, that would really set up our set-up year pretty well.