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.

 

2. GEORGIA

**–Last season:  8-5, 4-4 SEC; beat Texas A&M 44-20 in Independence Bowl.

**–Coach: Mark Richt, 90-27 in nine seasons at Georgia.

**–Key losses: LB Rennie Curran, DT Jeff Owens, S Reshad Jones, DT Geno Atkins.

**–Returning starters: Offense 10; defense 5; specialist 2.

**–Players to watch: WR A.J. Green, RB Caleb King, RB Washaun Ealey, OT Clint Boling, C Ben Jones.

**–What we learned:  The offensive line has to be good from day one. After OT Trinton Sturdivant was lost after the first game of 2009, a veteran Georgia offensive line struggled to find the right five guys who could work together.  With players like tackle Josh Davis (6-6, 305) back in the lineup,  the Bulldogs finally found that chemistry in the second half of the season and ran the ball significantly better. Georgia and O-line coach Stacy Searels do not have that luxury in 2010. Georgia has to be able to run the ball and take the pressure off Aaron Murray, the redshirt freshman quarterback. Sturdivant is back at 100 percent. If he can stay healthy, there are a couple of bell cows in this group (Clint Boling, Ben Jones) who give Georgia a chance to be good up front.

**–What we still don’t know: Is the new 3-4 defense going to create more turnovers? Last season Georgia played 13 football games and somehow recovered only two fumbles, which was 120th (dead last) nationally. The Bulldogs were 76th nationally with only 10 interceptions. Todd Grantham was hired as defensive coordinator to install the 3-4 and (hopefully) make Georgia a more opportunistic team. Georgia was 118th nationally in turnover margin (minus-16) last season.  By contrast, Alabama was plus-19 in turnovers (31 takeaways, 12 giveaways). That has to change if Georgia wants to compete again for the SEC East championship. We also don’t know, for all the work that was done in the spring, if Georgia can get a handle on its penalty problem. Georgia committed 105 penalties in 13 games. Only five teams in college football (Troy, Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas Tech, Arizona State) had more.

**–Opening game: Sept. 4 vs. Louisiana-Lafayette.

 

3. SOUTH CAROLINA

**–Last season: 7-6, 3-5 SEC; lost to Connecticut 20-7 in Papajohns.com Bowl.

**–Coach:  Steve Spurrier, 177-68-2 in 20 years; 35-28 in five seasons at South Carolina.

**–Key losses: LB Eric Norwood, DE Clifton Geathers, WR Moe Brown.

**–Returning starters: Offense 8, defense 7, specialist 2.

**–Players to watch: WR Alshon Jeffrey, QB Stephen Garcia, S Chris Culliver, DE Cliff Matthews.

**–What we learned:   Quarterback Stephen Garcia is going to be on a very short leash in 2010. Last season South Carolina “pretty much had to live with what Stephen gave us,” coach Steve Spurrier said. That will not be the case in 2010 as Spurrier spent the spring taking a hard look at early-enrollee Connor Shaw of Flowery Branch. Spurrier threw down the gauntlet to Garcia to work harder and spend more time in the film room this summer. “We’re going to have two quarterbacks ready to go this year,” said Spurrier. Understand that Garcia’s numbers (55.3 percent, 2,862 yards, 17 touchdowns) are not terrible. But there is a certain way that Spurrier wants the position played and Garcia needs to make the reads that Spurrier gives him. Under pressure (and he was under a lot of pressure as South Carolina allowed 37 sacks last season), Garcia starts to free-lance. The Head Ball Coach doesn’t like that.

**–What we still don’t know: What will be the impact of freshman Marcus Lattimore? The incoming freshman from Duncan, S.C., was rated the No. 1 running back in the nation by some recruiting services. Lattimore, 5-11, 215, is a special talent who will be thrown into a mix of running backs that includes sophomores Kenny Miles (626 yards) and Jarvis Giles (5.3 ypg). But Lattimore can’t make a significant contribution if the offensive line doesn’t get better. Spurrier hired his third offensive line coach (Shawn Elliott from Appalachian State) in three years.  South Carolina was dead last in the SEC in rushing (121.23 ypg.) That has to improve.

**–Opening game: Sept. 2 vs. Southern Miss.

 

4. TENNESSEE

**–Last season: 7-6, 4-4 SEC; lost to Virginia Tech 37-14 in Chick-fil-A Bowl.

**–Coach: Derek Dooley, 17-20 in three years, first season at Tennessee.

**–Key losses: S Eric Berry, RB Montario Hardesty, DT Dan Williams. .

**–Returning starters: Offense 4, defense 6, specialist 2.

**–Players to watch:  TE Luke Stocker, WR Gerald Jones, DE Chris Walker, LB Nick Reviez.

**–What we learned:  The offensive line is a mess. The Volunteers had only one starter coming back up front, sophomore tackle Aaron Douglas. But Douglas, a freshman All-America last season, suddenly left the program in March and now the Vols are confronted with starting as many as three freshmen on the offensive line. Not good.  Tackle Ju’Wuan James looks like he can play but there are still a lot of questions at the guard and center sports. Tennessee has to be able to run the ball and shorten the game to have any shot at a winning record. Tauren Poole is finally ready to step up as a running back but he has to have someplace to run.

**–What we still don’t know:  Who will be the starting quarterback? Nick Stephens, the only quarterback in camp who had taken a snap for Tennessee, decided to transfer to Tarleton State, a Division II school, in April. That leaves the Volunteers with Matt Simms, a junior college transfer who started his career at Louisville, and true freshman Tyler Bray, who enrolled in January. Bray performed  a little better in the spring game but Simms gained experience last season in junior college. We also don’t know how this group of players is going to respond when times get tough. And times are going to get tough. In a six-week period Tennessee will play Oregon, Florida, LSU, Georgia, and Alabama. Dooley is the third head coach at Tennessee in three years. The players, who are rightfully a little shell-shocked, have bought into Dooley’s way of doing things. What happens if the losses start to pile up?

**–Opening game: Sept. 4 vs. UT-Martin.

 

5. KENTUCKY

**–Last season: 7-6, 3-5 SEC; lost to Clemson 21-13 in Music City Bowl.                                 

**–Coach: Joker Phillips, first season at Kentucky.

**–Key losses:  CB Trevard Lindley, DT Corey Peters, LB Micah Johnson, PK Lones Seiber.

**–Returning starters: Offense 5, defense 7, specialist 1.

**–Players to watch: WR/QB Randall Cobb, TB/RS Derrick Locke, LB Danny Trevathan, QB Mike Hartline, QB Morgan Newton.

**–What we know:  Kentucky has some good options at quarterback. A year ago the Wildcats had to take the redshirt off of Morgan Newton, the 2008 Indiana high school player of the year, when starter Mike Hartline went down with an injury. Newton completed 55.6 percent of his passes in six games. Now Hartline has returned and joining the mix is Ryan Mossakowski, a strong-armed redshirt freshman. Hartline had an edge coming out of spring practice but expect two quarterbacks to play. Kentucky has two great offensive weapons in running back Derrick Locke (907 yards rushing) and wide receiver/quarterback Randall Cobb (447 receiving, 573 rushing). The quarterback has to get the ball to them.

**–What we still don’t know:  Can new coach Joker Phillips keep things rolling at UK? Rich Brooks decided to retire after taking Kentucky to a school-record fourth straight bowl game last season.  Phillips, a former Kentucky player under Jerry Claiborne, takes over. The former OC has to replace the entire offensive line and the defense is missing three big-time players in DT Corey Peters, LB Micah Johnson, and CB Trevard Lindley. Can Phillips rebuild this team and get Kentucky to a fifth straight bowl game?

**–Opening game: Sept. 4 at Louisville.

 

6. VANDERBILT

**–Last season: 2-10, 0-8 SEC.

**–Coach: Bobby Johnson, 89-102 in 16 years, 29-66 in eight years at Vanderbilt.

**–Key losses:  CB Myron Lewis, C Bradley Vierling,  LB Patrick Benoist.

**–Returning starters:  Offense 6, defense 4, specialist 1.

**–Players to watch:  LB Chris Marve, TB Warren Norman, TB Zac Stacy, S Sean Richardson.

**–What we know: It was a costly spring for Vanderbilt. Starting DT Adam Smotherman suffered a torn ACL during a scrimmage and may miss the first half of the 2010 season.  OT Ryan Seymour dislocated a shoulder which required surgery. Seymour should make it back for the first game. A total of six players scheduled to be starters missed all or part of spring with injuries.

**–What we still don’t know: Can the Vanderbilt offense get better? The numbers in SEC play last season were just staggering. In eight conference game the Commodores scored only 71 points (8.875 ppg). In three games Vanderbilt scored in single digits and only once (a 31-16 loss to Tennessee) did Vanderbilt score more than 13 points in a game. Johnson shuffled his offensive staff, moving offensive coordinator Ted Cain to tight ends and replacing him with Jimmy Kiser. Quarterback Larry Smith, who completed only 46.7 percent of his passes last season, held off a challenge by Jared Funk and JUCO transfer Jordan Rogers. Vanderbilt has to get better on offense if it wants to improve on last season’s 2-10 record.

**–Opening game:  Sept. 4 vs. Northwestern.

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765 comments Add your comment

Reptillicide

May 3rd, 2010
10:50 am

Anybody that proclaims who will win ANY division in May is a blithering idiot who apparently has a short enough memory that he doesn’t remember how things RARELY pan out like we think they’re going to.

Can You Dig It

May 3rd, 2010
10:55 am

I just don’t see Florida winning the East this year. Too many good starters gone, new QB, new coaches and throw in Meyer to disrupt everything…it just isn’t going to happen. Either Georgia or South Carolina will win the East. This is going to be a long year for the Gators…believe it or not…thier savior Tebow is gone. He was the intangible that pulled them through many games and they don’t have anyone close to replace him. Meyer is not that good of a coach to be able to coach them through close games….he’s been very lucky the past few years due to Tebow’s ability to pull his ass out of the fire many times. If Garcia comes through Carolina will be a very hard team to beat. I think the Dawgs are a year away from taking control of the East …..but they could surprise this year if thier new QB comes through along with thier new 3/4 defense…but they are loaded with talent so it won’t surprise me if they do…..Tony you’ve got to stop your love fest with Meyer and Florida…they’ve been very lucky the past few years and Meyer’s been fooling a lot of people about his ability to coach….Did anyone happen to read the recent article in The Sporting News about how 75% of the 2006 Florida team was smoking pot during the season and Meyer chose to look the other way……I guess thats what’s his definition of “winning at all costs” means……..
Can You Dig It!

HugoStiglitz

May 3rd, 2010
10:55 am

Florida will easily win the east. Seems like a pretty down year for the division. Although I could see South Carolina being a little better then expected.

Eric

May 3rd, 2010
11:01 am

You poor, pitiful Bulldogs. I’d love to see you beat bama, but I don’t think you’ll get the opportunity.

ga gator

May 3rd, 2010
11:02 am

Good post Tony, except I think if Stephen Garcia got his head out of his …… then SC would be a team to recon with but I predict Conner Shaw will be the starter by mid season. UGA’s offense should be exceptional, but it is going to take some time for the D to play like Grantham expects. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kentucky surprise some teams this year. The West will come down to who wins between AL, Aub and Ark; all three tough teams.

[...] Tony Barnhart of The AJC predicts another East Division title for Florida this fall.2.  Georgia’s Mark Richt might let his players grow beards or let their locks flow [...]

GATORZONE

May 3rd, 2010
11:04 am

Andre Debose is the correct name, Tony. South Carolina could be the surprise team this year. I know we say it often, but they appear to have lots of experience returning.

tormentor

May 3rd, 2010
11:06 am

Your just a CMR coolaid drinking idiot. Everyone but delirious Dawg fans believe Meyer is one of the top 3 coaches in America. He didn’t recruit most of the 06 team which was recruited by Zook who by the way owned your butts also. UGA is NOT loaded with talent, they lost almost as many as UF did on D except your D was sorry. Your OL which every year is touted to be one of the best hasnt lived up to expectations in years. UGA goes 5-7 this year and Richt is replaced by Chris Peterson from Boise St. Book it!!

Gator Mike (Original)

May 3rd, 2010
11:09 am

Tony, great article.
It is too early for me to predict anything. I do think that the sleeper in the East is UGA. Mark Richt knows he better produce this year. I would be very surprised to see SoCar threaten with Garcia at the helm, but anything can happen.
Any team can be seriously damaged due to possible injuries this summer before the first games are played. I firmly believe that the East will start to come into focus on 18 Sept. UF will definately have a more balanced offense this year, but the schedule is much more dificult than last year’s schedule. BAMA is definately the best on paper, but they could be upset by someone in the West.
Good luck to everyone.

tormentor

May 3rd, 2010
11:10 am

Mr SEC East Headlines:
Georgia’s Mark Richt might let his players grow beards or let their locks flow long if they cut down on penalties this year.

Please!! If this idiot you have for a coach would worry more about winning than spreading the gospel he would start demoting players who committed excessive penalties. What does he get paid 3 million per year for; preaching or coaching???

CharlotteGator

May 3rd, 2010
11:15 am

KGator,

Agreed, this is a different team your right. The 07 comparison does work on the surface but when you dig in there are more positive signs this year. There’s more reason for optimism than the 07 squad gave but I think there’s still concern.

- Nobody wants to say it but JJenkins didn’t have the best year. Soph slump that he’s hopefully working hard to overcome.
- Black is good but came back to earth last year. 08 was a perfect storm for him that he’ll be hard pressed to repeat. I’d love to be wrong though.
- excited about hill because coverage wise he may be an upgrade over wright. Nervous about the other CB. Putting a lot of hope into Brown and his back. ABushell needs to mature and grow up. shaw is still just a frosh. A 2nd Haden out of him would be nice, but is asking a lot.
- I think well miss stamper more than spikes who was hurt a lot last year. A lot riding on Beal Bostic and Jelani to produce.
- definitely relying on a lot of frosh for the DL. Could be good (think D Harvey) or a mistake (think O Hunter) to do that this early in their careers.

we have many more established players than the 07 squad did which is the good
news, but were relying on a lot of young talent for the key spots on our D. As with most Gator squads, the key to achieving lofty goals is the play of the defense and we all have to admit we have no idea how it’s gonna go.

Pat

May 3rd, 2010
11:16 am

Gators couldn’t find a go-to RB, and they don’t have a go-to WR with Cooper gone. And their RB’s have fumble issues. Gators offense has had problems since Percy left.

Tony’s predicting Mark Richt will bat himself again with penalties and turnovers, and since Richt is 2-7 against Florida, and has shown he simply cannot put together a plan that works against Florida more than 1x every 5 years, it’s hard to disagree.

If Meyer couldn’t win in 2009 with 22 starters back, a Sr. Heisman QB, Charlie Strong, and 9 NFL players, he sure won’t win it all in 2010.

The defense and Brantley have both looked poor all Spring.

Ed

May 3rd, 2010
11:20 am

Good news Georgia fans. Tony predicted Ga Tech would hammer Georgia last year, and Ga Tech got hammered. He was dead wrong as Georgia set a rushing record hammering Ga Tech for nearly 400 yards rushing.

Now Tony predicts Florida will hammer the SEC East. Hopefully, he’s 0-2 in his predictions.

KGator79

May 3rd, 2010
11:20 am

Lets be honest here, UGA fan would allow 100% of their team to smoke weed if it brought them a national title. Wouldnt throw stones in a glass house. UGA hasnt exactly been the cleanest program when it comes to players arrested of late.

KGator79

May 3rd, 2010
11:30 am

Pat…..1. Demps is the go to running back. 2. Your right, UF wont have A go to WR, they will have multiple this year with Thompson, Moore and Debose being the top 3 WR targets. 3. Show your info on UF running backs having fumbling issues. I can only think of one or two fumbles Demps had all last year. Not exactly something that is labeled an issue. 4. Your theory on the Gator offense is a bit off. Here are the actual stats. 2008 with Percy after SEC title game…… Total offense 4894 yards, 2363 passing, 2528 rushing…… 2009 after SEC title game 5754 total yards, 2827 passing, 2927 rushing. So the 2009 offense, which you stated has had more problems since Percy left had more total yards, passing yards and rushing yards than the 2008 offense. The difference in 2008 and 2009 were defensive touchdowns from turnovers. But you see the overall score and think all points were offensive related.

tormentor

May 3rd, 2010
11:33 am

K79, you cant debate with these morons; they are still hyperventalating over LeMay picking them. They are like this every year and bark all over themselves.

Pat

May 3rd, 2010
11:35 am

National Championships with NFL Rookie of the Year Percy Harvin = 2

Without = 0

tormentor

May 3rd, 2010
11:35 am

Patrick, you are just an idiot. Brantley played spectacular when in a game situation, unlike midget aaron murray.

fatrick

May 3rd, 2010
11:36 am

I am the king of stats and always forget about cmr’s record against urban.

Pat

May 3rd, 2010
11:37 am

UGA NC’s with Hershel=1 Without Hershel=0 30 years and still waiting.

dog time

May 3rd, 2010
11:42 am

Tony Barnhart’s not the first guy to underestimate Coach Mark Richt, and he won’t be the last. Richt had lots of critics and doubters who jumped off the Richt bandwagon in 2001 & 2006, both times Richt had a poor season, he finished #2 or #3 in the country the next year both times. Richt has his best years after his worst years, every time, like clockwork.

Wonder what Tony will think once Florida finishes playing Alabama and LSU back to back in the Fall?

KGator79

May 3rd, 2010
11:42 am

wow could have swore UF won a national title in 96 also. Was Percy playing then too?

KGator79

May 3rd, 2010
11:46 am

Dogtime…while the game at Alabama will be tough for Florida. Playing LSU at home in the swamp honestly is not as tough as it once would have been. Miles is slowly losing that team and Tiger fans are close to calling for his head.

Ultra

May 3rd, 2010
11:52 am

Since Tony likes predictions, here’s one for him:

Oct. 30, 2010

Georgia beats Florida.

Georgia wins the turnover margin, the 3-4 defense baffles inexperienced Brantley, and Georgia outrushes Florida.

Georgia’s record will then be 9-0 on the season.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

May 3rd, 2010
11:55 am

i still think it’s too early to predict anything yet. We have pretty much 4 months to go…a lot of time for injuries, messups, etc. Both UF/UGA will have inexperienced QBs taking snaps in the SEC. I agree though TB that if UGA’s new defense comes to life, that could be the “it” factor.

Tide Rising

May 3rd, 2010
11:59 am

Patrick,

You are a complete moron. Brantley is in his 3rd year in UF’s system, I saw him in the spring game 2 years ago when he completed something crazy like 22 of 25. The guy is the real deal while Murray was in the middle of a competition with the likes of Logan Gray whose best td pass was to Brandon Spikes. And while he won the job over the hapless Gray he didn’t blow him away by any means. What does that tell you?

SEGADawg

May 3rd, 2010
12:04 pm

Good posts for the most part (with a smattering of idiocy allowed in for entertainment value I guess) Just one question…I’m sure Brantley s a good QB else he wouldn’t be at UF…but had it not been for the kid that recently transferred to Auburn(cant think of his name) getting kicked out of UF wouldnt Brantley still be 2nd string?? After all, the way they talked about this guy he was the second coming of Chris Leak. I even heard a few Gator fan friends of mine say that part of..PART of Tebow’s decision to come back for his Sr. season was because they had counted on this kid and Meyer didnt have a ton of confidence in Brantley’s ability to lead the team. Again I am sure the kids has skill but one poster was very right when he mentioned the intangibles Tebow had….They have NOONE on this team with those leadership qualities…not even Meyer who IS a great coach. BTW whoever said the only reason Murray is at UGA is cuz Brantley went to UF better check your facts. Meyer wanted Murray worse than anything in this world…why…because this kid…though untested and young…HAS those Tebow like leadership intangibles. Not saying he is as skilled as TT but he does have the guts and leadership skills. As for how the East will shake out…no telling..it is way too early. All these teams have the same guy on the roster…That guy named IF. The whole conference is filled with IF’s. Dawg fans…the problem with our team is that over the last couple of years we lost a lot of respect. Been pathetic in Turnovers and penalties and the defense has been soft…SOFT…hopefully that will change but it will be a challenge until Grantham gets HIS type of guys in there to run the 3-4…

Ultra

May 3rd, 2010
12:04 pm

I predict next year, Tony will finally learn how to spell Ealey’s name, so will everyone in the country.

GatorGuy

May 3rd, 2010
12:06 pm

Pat – Florida’s never won a National Championship without Percy Harvin? I think the ‘96 team will be upset to hear that.

Reptiles Rule

May 3rd, 2010
12:07 pm

Tony, I can tell you that despite losing NINE players to the NFL draft, including the best player of all time, and another three talented ones to free agency, the Gators are stockpiled with talent and still have a very good mix of experience at virtually all positions. Despite what some have said here or want to believe, this in NOT the 2007 team that had to replace virtually the entire defense. In fact, only one spot remains unsettled and that is the one corner but there are three very talented guys who will settle that issue in the fall. The D Line will be returning almost everybody and will be very deep. The linebackers could well be even better than last year in spite of the loss of Spikes and Stamper. This much I can tell you, they WILL be faster. I can also tell you that Gator fans are very excited about next years offense and a new chapter in Gator football. Yes, Tim’s gone and will be missed, but how many teams have a third year five star guy ready to plug in? We were very fortunate that a guy like Brantley was willing to be patient, learn and absorb the system and not transfer out to USC or something. And as far as the running game? Demps,Moody, Rainey, Gillislee, Brown as well as the two big QBs Trey Burton and Jordan Reed will carry that load.

WonderDawg

May 3rd, 2010
12:07 pm

Actually, Tony, UGA “ran the ball significantly better” last season when the defenses got significantly worse. We still struggled mightily against good and even average defenses.

Bama fan

May 3rd, 2010
12:08 pm

Florida never won a title without Harvin. That’s one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard. Its like saying Georgia never won a national title without Herschel.

Mr. Lucky

May 3rd, 2010
12:12 pm

Meyer did win 2 National Championships wiht his NFL Rookie of the Year, but has won 0 without him. Percy Harvin was an absolute unstoppable force in college football. Since he left, Meyer hasn’t won the big one. And I don’t think he’ll ever win another one again. Just got lucky and had a great player. Meyer can’t ask for more than he had in 2009, a QB like Tebow, every starter back, the best defensive coordinator, and, without Percy, just couldn’t get it done. This team isn’t anywhere NEAR that 2009 team without those 9 NFLplayers and Carlie Strong and Tebow, so it will be another rebuilding year for Meyer where he goes 5-3 in the SEC like he does 40% of the time in the SEC.

SEGADawg

May 3rd, 2010
12:13 pm

Another question…is UF’s running game is so potent why was Tebow your leading rusher?? And as for the WR’s…again where were they? Cooper and the TE…Hernandez?? (sorry names escape me today) I know a lot of DAwg Fans seem to have our heads up our silver britches sometimes with some of our claims…but right now you Gator fans arent far off. Noone is saying your not good…thats a given…noone sayuing u havent owned UGA for the last 20 (though we owned you for thre 30 before that) and noone…at least I an not saying you arent the favs to win the EAst…on paper…but at least get ur head out of ur butts long enough to admit you have as many hooles as any of us this year and stop trying to sell us on ur mythological amazing RB’s and WR’s…Brantley may go 22-25 in a freakin SPRING GAME when his own players are not allowed to take his freakin head off but defenses around the SEC wont treat him as favorably. And the reason he won the job so easily s cuz there is NOONE behind him….UF is just like UGA…one injury from a mess ay QB.

Tide Rising

May 3rd, 2010
12:14 pm

Florida- Loaded again everywhere with a monster incoming freshman class. Like Georgia they are anchored by a great O-line.

UGA- Dead last in turnover margin and one of the worst 6 in penalties. Can’t blame all that on the D-coordinator last year. That goes straight to the top. Richt has to instill some discipline on this team. That could be the difference between the dawgs going 11-1 behind a great O-line and 7-5

UT- Very good secondary is the one bright spot. When you have to start 3 freshman O-lineman in the SEC you are in big trouble. Lack of talent and depth everywhere.

UK- Hard to believe the mildcats are 1 hail mary pass for a td away from beating the dogs 3 of the last 4. Joker keeps an up and coming program going.

SC- Will there ever be “the year” for them. A lot of good starters coming back and as a Bama fan the Carolina game along with the Florida game are the 2 that worry me the most. If they’re ever going to win the east this year is their chance.

KGator79

May 3rd, 2010
12:19 pm

SEGadawg…..Actually in 2008 Brantley did beat out Cam Newton for the #2 spot on the depth chart. Cam Newton was not kicked off of the team until Dec. of that year….As for your friends “info”. Really? Come on now. You really think if that were even close to being true, Tebow would relay that message to anybody? As for the rest of your post, I find it humorous that you know for a FACT that UF has NOBODY on the current team with Tebow’s leadership ability, but you do know that Aaron Murray who has never played a down does. Which I had your Nostradomus abilities.

Tide Rising

May 3rd, 2010
12:20 pm

As Tony pointed out Florida has those 2 qb/running back prototypes that can take the snap and run the option a la Tebow or like Ingram does at Bama. I don’t think they will miss a beat in their running game. Also, its when Florida is supposedly down or having an off year that they explode. No one seems to be talking much about them and that’s why I think the gators make another national title run. And lets face it. They’ve got mega talent everywhere. The secondary may again be the best in the country and the guy Bostic most likely replacing Spikes may be even better.

Ultra

May 3rd, 2010
12:21 pm

Attention Tony Brnhrt:

You didn’t spell Ealey’s name right in your article.

You left out an “a” off his last name.

The first name is spelled Washaun.

You might want to change that.

RxDawg

May 3rd, 2010
12:22 pm

It’s hard to argue with that ranking. Until someone knocks UF off their pedestal they remain the team in the east to beat. I don’t know if the dawgs have the horses or not, but we’ll see. First up is USC though, if UGA can win that game convincingly we’ll start to turn some national heads our way. Personaly, I’m not going into the season confident. A whole new D and a very green (and so far unimpressive in practice) QB will be our downfall I’m afraid. But, who knows. Maybe the dawgs have finally regain their team after the heavy NFL losses from 07 and the injuries from 08.

G8R GRAD

May 3rd, 2010
12:22 pm

UA will lose to one or all of the squads from Gainesville, Auburn and Fayetteville.
UF’s toughest weekends are in Tuscaloosa and Tallahassee.
Since niether UA or FSU are in the SEC East, I suspect it would surprise no one if the Gators returned to Atlanta in 2010.
But against whom?

Ed

May 3rd, 2010
12:24 pm

Are we talking about the same Florida who called 6 running plays for their running backs in the SEC Championship? The same Florida RB’s who had 5 fumbles against Troy? Just making sure. Yeah, lots ot be afraid of there. What happened to the powerful Florida running backs in the SEC Championship game?

Fatrick

May 3rd, 2010
12:24 pm

Ultra=Ultra idiot.

Fatrick=Ed=idiot

May 3rd, 2010
12:25 pm

Same ol patrick

Gen Neyland

May 3rd, 2010
12:25 pm

Reptillicide : Blithering idiots stick together. We even formed a club..! Part of the fun is taking an early wag at things that are out of our control. The highest form of respect is given to fans of any program that can be honest about their chances. The rah-rahs of any program at this time of year that see early BCS guesses as a stepping stone to a national title game may turn into suicidal maniacs by OCT…#1 rule : Remain pessimistically optimistic and defend yours when piling on occurs.

Reptiles Rule

May 3rd, 2010
12:26 pm

SEGADawg…Cameron Newton was considered a raw talent during his time at UF. He was never considered a “Chris Leak” type as he was much more of a physical runner and not a pure passer (by any means) and Leak was quite the opposite. Cam fell behind Brantley in the last year he was here and in fact had a horrible spring game (sound familiar?) that really set him back after it seemed like he had made some strides. He is a great kid (and a BIG kid) and some still speculate that the reason he kind of “fell off the wagon” and had his issue (we’ll just leave it at that) was because he was becoming discouraged with his on field situation. And nobody was more shocked than the head coach because he’d never been even close to trouble before. But I think that was a one time thing with Cam and i know he still is well liked and respected in these parts…And I hope he does well up there at AU which is a very good place for him I think.

termigator

May 3rd, 2010
12:27 pm

Agreed General, I hope you give Dooley at least 3 years because I think he will turn it around. I expect him to have 1 big upset this year and I hope it is not the gators.

KGator79

May 3rd, 2010
12:27 pm

SEGadawg…..Yes Tebow was the leading rusher in yards with 859 yards. Which was followed up by Demps with 738 yards, Rainey 547 yards and Moody at 362 yards. Tebow was 1/4 of the rushing game. Having 4 contributors to the weekly rushing game was why the rushing attack was so potent. Tebow was just one part. And yes UF did lose Cooper and Hernandez which I remember this time last year, especially Cooper was said by fans like yourself as being an unproven WR and playmaker. Now as he leaves he is a big loss. Thats whats called recruiting. As players leave others step in. Next year its going to be said how losing Deonte Thompson is a huge loss and so on.

WonderDawg

May 3rd, 2010
12:28 pm

We’ve been hearing since ‘08 how good and deep the O-Line is gonna be, how the linemen can play any position, etc. I believe every bit of it.

The problem is that when you have an OC calling plays in such a predictable manner that opposing DCs and head coaches all but snicker BEFORE the game (UT’s 2 Kiffins) then it doesn’t matter who is playing on the line. For those who forget what the Kiffins said, it something to the effect that “Georgia is the easiest team on our schedule to prepare for. They are running the same offense they ran 9 years ago.” They then went out and backed up their talk. Bobo’s offense generated two field goals.

Until Mark Richt goes back to the NFL for an OC, the Dawgs are going to stay an also-ran in the SEC East.

termigator

May 3rd, 2010
12:29 pm

Dont forget Carl Moore Kgator.

Beast from the East

May 3rd, 2010
12:30 pm

Boy, there sure are some crazy dog fans on here. I don’t belive Tony said we’d win the NC or the SECCG….just the East. If you don’t agree, then so be it. But to keep dreamimg up differnt reasons UF possibly won’t win it is just silly. Who’s going to win the East if not Florida? USC has never proven they can get it done. Ever. Until they do they can’t be seen as legitimate contenders. Same w/ KY and Vandy. I think we all know that UT is in for a tough year. No chance to win the East this year. That leaves only UGA. Coming off of a bad year, losing just as much as UF did, new DC, new QB, etc. Many of the same questions UF has except their issues are compunded by being a mediocre, undisciplined team. The difference is UF was better than everyone last year except for Bama and possibly Texas. Until UGA can beat UF on a regular basis then your OPINIONS really count for nothing. If you want to be the Big Dawg then you have to beat the Beast from the East (UF).