Dooley: Can these Florida players go from good to great?

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask. [Matt Pendleton/Correspondent]

In a perfect college football world for the perfect college football team, every single player on scholarship would get better every year and every offseason. Of course, we know this doesn’t happen.

Some guys get bigger the wrong way. Some guys show up with false swagger for the wrong reasons. Some decide their third cousins know better than the coaches. And some are slowed by injuries and are always trying to be the same player as when they started the process at the school.

There are also different levels of expectations for players, just as there are for programs. The key is to get all of this to mesh and that’s how championships are created.

For teams who have aspirations about being one of the four lucky ones who will get into the College Football Playoff, “good” must become “great”. The usual suspects already have enough to be contenders but have to get it from others to be more. 

Those teams — the Alabamas and Ohio States — know they already have great players returning. But the only way they will have enough is if good becomes great at enough spots in the lineup.

Which brings us to the mighty Gators.

Close to great, to be sure.

Not quite there. 

And many of the great players have moved on.

So this is what Florida has to have.

And it’s what Florida has to have despite no spring practice. Despite not constantly hearing Nick Savage shouting at them. Despite being separated and locked down, (Mick Hubert likes to yell about a player being “quarantined” but this isn’t what he had in mind).

Two years, two big steps for Dan Mullen. But to take that third step, he and the Florida football team need these five guys to be great. Good will get you a nice bowl game. Great takes you to a different atmosphere.

  1. Kyle Trask.

There will be a lot more pressure surrounding Trask after he was one of the best stories in college football in 2019. And a lot of people will have him as their preseason All-SEC quarterback.

But for Florida to be great, he has to be the postseason All-SEC quarterback. 

He has to flirt with some of the all-time single season passing records. He can’t make some of the throws that should have resulted in interceptions last year. He has to make it difficult to pull him out of the game for Emory Jones.

I’m not saying Jones shouldn’t play more, but if putting a headset on Trask for an offensive series doesn’t make you cringe just a little, he will not have achieved the level Florida needs to be special.

  1. Stone Forsythe.

Let’s assume he is the left tackle. We all know how important that position is. He has to protect the quarterback’s blind side. He has to establish the edge on running plays.

If you don’t have a special left tackle, you can’t have a special team.  

  1. Trevon Grimes.

Look, we know Kyle Pitts will be great. He has NFL first-round pick written all over him. But we also know Florida lost four senior wide receivers.

Grimes returned for his senior season to be an alpha dog. Every great Florida offense has had more than one great receiver. And more than one great leader.

It’s his time.

  1. Kaiir Elam.

You have to give offenses a reason not to throw it at Marco Wilson. 

We saw flashes of brilliance from Elam last year as a freshman. We need to see it all the time.

  1. Shawn Davis. 

Which brings us to a guy I think can have an awesome senior season. Davis has everything tangible, but to be great at safety you have to have some intangibles.

Florida’s safety play was erratic at best last year. Too many guys wide open behind the defense. Davis is fast and physical.

Let’s see if he can be great.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at


  1. ”…the (Coach Mullen) and the Florida football team need these five guys to be great. Good will get you a nice bowl game. Great takes you to a different atmosphere.” -Dooley.

    So 1 QB, 1 WR, and of course a Left Tackle to protect Trask & Jones, and some DB’s? That’s all, Pat? ”Come on man!” -as you say, on the radio. There NEEDS TO BE MORE HELP from other positions, too. All this the time-off has your game weakening, Pat.

    Florida Football NEEDS a great RUNNING GAME! This is the SEC, and for U.F. Football to win ”championships are forever!” then the RUN GAME is a must! D. Peirce and…???
    Florida won’t even win the East with just the 5 guys you mentioned being ”great.”

    The RUN GAME has to evolve more quickly under Mullen. It’s the ELEPHANT in then empty press room. Sure, Trask was a bright blessing last year, but he along with few receivers won’t win JACK! And I know you know ”JACK,” Pat, so…