Coming in with no notes and rattling names off the top of his head in a dangerous fashion, Will Muschamp was asked Friday by the Florida media which of the 2013 freshmen would see the field this year.
Warning that the list could change and he was doing it from memory, Muschamp started.
“I’d probably be better suited to answer this after the fourth of fifth game of the year,” he said. “We have some guys that can play for us. Off the top of my head we are obviously counting on Demarcus and Ahmad to play the receiver positions for us. Chris Thompson is also a guy that will practice and rep for us on offense because we think he is a guy that can play for us on special teams.
Demarcus Robinson has likely been the most highlighted prospect since his arrival on campus in January when he finished high school early. He and Ahmad Fulwood bring some credible size to a receiver group that drastically needed it.
Robinson is the guy that looks to benefit from his early entry and from all of his big-time physical attributes. Muschamp says he felt Robinson would be a good one, and the young man has continued on the path of proving the head man right since his arrival.
“I have been in this for a long time,” Muschamp said. “I have always had my ideas about a young man before they step on campus. Until you work with them and understand their mental make up and what they are about and their competitive edge, it is hard to count on a guy that is going to help you.
“It is hard to ever project that a guy is going to help you. I’ve gotten a way from it. There have been guys that I thought no way they would help us and they started and played (as freshmen). There have been guys that I thought there was no question they would help us and they (didn’t).
When we saw (Robinson) compete in spring, we felt like there was no question. Then you see it transfer into fall camp and then when we started game planning and a guy that is able to process information, which he can do.
The Gators needed running backs and feel good about two running backs hey signed in February. Kelvin Taylor joined Robinson in the fall and has had many highlights, but tehe issue for bot young guys is they need to do a better job of holding on to the ball. One will play for sure, but which one it will be is in question, according to Muschamp.
“We haven’t made a decision on Adam Lane or Kelvin Taylor,” Muschamp said. “Right now, both of those guys are taking some reps and you never know where the season progresses and what they can or can’t do, I’m not sure.”
Florida had the luxury of taking in three transfers along the offensive line and it appears all three will play big roles for the Gators in 2013. Outside of that, the lot of freshmen linemen will likely be redshirted, with possibly one exception.
“As far as the new guys up front, (JuCo transfer)Trenton Brown is the only one that figures in,” Muschamp said. “Octavius Jackson is the next if there were to be one to get some reps.”
The Gators are dangerously thin at defensive tackle and need at least one freshman at the position to step in and play some meaningful snaps this year. All three fresmen they brought in are still in the hunt for that spot and of course an injury or two could mean more play.
“Right now Jay-nard Bostwick, Antonio Riles, and Caleb Brantley are all kind of rotating in working some scout work and with the defense,” Muschamp said. “There is no decision made on that. It’s a long season and if you have an injury or two you have to prepare yourself. You can’t just have those guys on scout team then they get no reps and they don’t understand the speed and tempo you have to play with. It is really important to develop those guys.”
Florida is extremely excited about the quartet of linebackers they signed and outside of injured Matt Rolin who will miss the season due to an ACL tear, the other three look to hit the field early.
“Jarrad Davis is going to play, Alex Anzalone is going to play, Daniel McMillian is going to play,” Muschamp said ratting off his freshman linebacker group.
The secondary was another talented group and it looks like three guys stand out at the moment.
“At this point we are planning on playing Vernon Hargreaves(CB), Nick Washington (CB), and Keanu Neal (Saf),” Muschamp said.
Sometimes you have the luxury of great talent enrolled but no reason to waste a year of eligibility. Such is the case at punter.
“We’d like to redshirt Johnny Townsend if we could to create some separation between him and Kyle (Christy),” Muschamp said. He has punted extremely well in camp. He can really launch the ball.”
Here is a word of caution when looking at the list of guys above. Muschamp was shooting from the hip here and not from a prepared list. He very well could have inadvertently left off a player or two as I believe he did. He also could change his mind about some, including guys that did make this list.