This, that and the other

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With the start of spring football practice now less than three weeks away, some random thoughts on the Gators:

  • Much is going to be made of the quarterback competition between true sophomore Treon Harris and redshirt freshman Will Grier, but the battle for the starting tailback role could be just as intense. Some seem to think that Kelvin Taylor clearly will be No. 1, but Adam Lane, coming off his 100-yard performance in the Birmingham Bowl and now with a fresh start under a new coaching staff, is the tailback with the most momentum heading into the spring. All the tailbacks should be highly motivated by the fact that Jim McElwain’s tailbacks have a track record of success and are featured in his offense.

  • Nothing is official yet, but it is becoming more and more apparent that the spring game is going to be free this year. The word is that McElwain wants it that way. And that’s certainly going to be UF’s way if the Gators don’t have enough offensive linemen to have a traditional spring game. UF is not going to charge fans to watch a scrimmage/practice. At least that’s the word.

  • My picks for the offensive players who are going to benefit the most from the new offense (and offensive philosophy): Treon Harris and Will Grier; Kelvin Taylor, Adam Lane and Brandon Powell; Jake McGee; Demarcus Robinson, Ahmad Fulwood, Alvin Bailey, C.J. Worton, Latroy Pittman, Chris Thompson and J.C. Jackson. McElwain has not revealed yet what his first UF offense is going to look like, but he has a history of putting his skill players in a position to make plays. That will not change.

  • Former UF coach Steve Spurrier used to get frustrated sometimes trying to figure out what the NFL is looking for in potential players, especially quarterbacks. I’m with Spurrier on this. The NFL is hard to figure out at times. Here’s a perfect, mystifying example: why was defensive tackle Leon Orr invited to the Combine, while fellow tackle Darious Cummings was not? Orr obviously has attitude issues after he elected to walk off the team and take a bus home before the South Carolina game in November. He was a career underachiever at Florida. While Orr was showing his rear end last fall, Cummings was putting together a great senior season in which his strong work ethic was obvious. Here’s another thing that’s hard to understand: offensive tackle D.J. Humphries’ rapid rise on draft boards. The NFL must see some thing in him that Missouri defensive end Shane Ray does not.

  • If redshirt sophomore outside linebacker Matt Rolin is healthy, and can stay healthy, he’ll have a significant impact on defense in the spring and next season. His good buddy Alex Anzalone also seems on target for a breakout spring at linebacker.

  • New defensive coordinator Geoff Collins said it is a priority finding hybrid linebacker/safeties who can make plays against the run and the pass against spread offenses. Here’s my leading candidate to emerge as one this spring — sophomore Marcell Harris, a big, very physical player (as he showed on special teams last season) who has cover skills and a nasty attitude.

  • Redshirt freshmen Thomas Holley and Khairi Clark will make the Gators feel a whole lot better about their situation at defensive tackle, where depth is a concern heading into the spring.