Maybe UF not as talented as you think


Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 4:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 4:48 p.m.

Now that we have a little distance from the Florida football regular (or irregular) season that just ended, maybe we can look at this thing with less emotion and more logic. Rather than scream for coaches to be fired or replaced, perhaps we can step back and look at what they had to work with.

Since recruiting is part of coaching, perhaps the theory I'm about to throw out there is another indictment of this coaching staff. But since the guys who have been here since the beginning won two national titles and the new guys have only one class to discuss, well, let's just look at it.

The theory I'm proposing is that Florida isn't as talented as you might want to believe.

This is where you scoff, question what I'm smoking, shake your head and throw the newspaper down or log off.

Not talented? Florida?

It's enough to make you do a spit-take.

But stay with me on this.

Just because a recruiting service says you have great talent doesn't mean you have great football players. Take, for example, the class that makes up the fourth-year seniors on this team.

That class was No. 1 because there were 10 players in Rivals top 100 that chose Florida. But of those 10 players, there is only one that is still here and playing well, and he was suspended for five games. The rest moved on to the NFL, left the program or have failed to live up to expectations (bust is such a harsh word).

It says something that the best player on Florida's 2010 team was one of the least recruited — Ahmad Black.

You look at the 2008 and 2009 classes and you see some players, but nowhere near the depth those lofty rankings were supposed to provide. So when you have injuries, you are replacing good players with mediocre ones and 7-5 occurs.

I believe the 2010 class will eventually be the core of Florida football when Urban Meyer turns it back around. But which one of those players had a major impact on this season?

Nobody. Sharrif Floyd is going to be a player. So is Ronald Powell. Matt Elam will be the starting strong safety next year.

But impact this year?

Didn't happen.

Everyone knows how talented last year's team was. The Gators went 13-1 the year after winning a national championship and 11 players followed that by making NFL rosters. Some of them are starters at the next level.

How many players from this year's team do you think will be in the NFL next season?

We can argue about individual players. But it's a very short list.

In a way, Meyer is going through what Billy Donovan did after his team's won back-to-back national titles. It was difficult to recruit with a talented roster that decided to return after the first title. And then Donovan missed on some players and ended up in the NIT for two straight years.

NIT. Gator Bowl.

About the same deal.

Don't be surprised if Meyer needs more than the millisecond you want to give him to get things headed in the right direction. I think Florida will struggle again next year. South Carolina will be everyone's pick to win the SEC East.

In the end, maybe Florida missed on enough players to cause this year's Armageddon. Or maybe if that fake field goal by LSU had not worked, it would have been a different season. But either way, Meyer and his staff tried to use gimmicks and band-aids to bridge the gap between what we thought they were and what they actually were.

A team without enough quality football players.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at dooleyp@gvillesun.com. You can listen to The Pat Dooley Show weekdays from 4-6 p.m. on 104.9 FM. And follow at http://Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

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