There are truths and untruths in the world of sports. And there are also opinions that are worth discussing. You may agree or disagree. Just do it with decorum. So continues this occasional feature as Pat Dooley and Robbie Andreu of the Gainesville Sun embrace the debate:
Item No. 1
The combination of super recruiter Tim Brewster and the groundbreaking for the new football facility will put Florida into the top five in the 2021 recruiting rankings.
Andreu: If this combination doesn’t put the Gators over the top in recruiting, I’m not sure anything will. North Carolina coach Mack Brown has called Brewster one of the best recruiters in college football, and Brewster has a track record that supports that claim. UF certainly knows how good he is — from the other side — with his flip of Dalvin Cook when Brewster was at Florida State. Recruits seem drawn to the personable Brewster, and the top prospects are paying close attention to facilities now. So, what the Gators will have working for them is an elite recruiter recruiting to an elite football facility. FACT.
Dooley: Certainly this is something Gator fans are pining for and there is a chance this will become a regular part of building the program. But do you know what is more important than a great recruiter and a shiny new building? Winning the East and getting into the playoff. This next recruiting class is going to be a strange one (which explains Tennessee’s success) because the coaches have only been able to interact virtually. So it’s really the 2022 class that matters when the new building is completed and Florida has beaten Georgia in 2020. That’s not a prediction, it’s simply something that needs to happen to get a top-five recruiting class for 2021. And if it doesn’t, it won’t. FICTION.
Item No. 2
Florida will lead the SEC in total offense and points per game.
Andreu: The Gators should be potent, but not quite that potent. I don’t see the UF offense even coming close to what LSU’s did last season with Joe Burrow and all the talent he had around him. Kyle Trask has some impressive talent to work with, led by tight end Kyle Pitts, but a lot of that talent, especially at wide receiver, is young and untested. And let’s not forget the fact the Gators basically didn’t have a ground game last season, with the exception of some long runs by Lamical Perine (Auburn and Virginia) and Dameon Pierce (South Carolina). There are just too many unknowns to predict that the Gators will have the SEC’s most productive offense. FICTION.
Dooley: Let’s remember that Florida finished fourth in the conference last year without much of a running game. In fact, Florida was 13th in the SEC in rushing (thank goodness for Vandy). The Gators also have a lot of teams on the schedule that will not put up a whole lot of resistance. The offensive line has to be better, right? If it is, here’s another nugget for you — the top three offensive teams in the SEC last year (LSU, Alabama and Georgia) are breaking in new quarterbacks this year. Ohh, snap. FACT.
Item No. 3
Despite so much time spent away from Nick Savage, Florida will still be a team that wins the fourth quarter.
Andreu: The players may have been physically away from Florida’s Director of Football Strength and Conditioning, but you can bet he was in their face on Zoom and on their phones during the two-plus months they were gone, making sure they were taking care of themselves and getting in the workouts that would prevent them from losing too much of what they gained under him in January. Now, he’s got them back. Things are different now. He’ll have them in smaller groups. But he’s got the time to get the Gators where they need to be physically — in shape and in a position to win the fourth quarter again. FACT.
Dooley: I keep going back to the work this team put in before it was sent home. Florida had a solid two months with Savage (and you saw the pictures) and then these guys were hardly going to spend all their time playing video games and eating cheeseburgers because they knew eventually they would have to face him. Here’s a telling stat about the kind of shape the team was in last year — Florida outscored its opponents 128-43 in the fourth quarter and shut out eight of those teams. These Gators have plenty of time to get into Savage Shape. FACT.