Don’t be surprised if …


There are always a few spring surprises on the football field for the Gators, but here are a few things that will not be considered surprising — at least to me.

So, don’t be surprised if:

  • Austin Appleby emerges as the starting quarterback. Everyone’s been talking up Oregon State transfer Luke Del Rio since word started leaking out last summer that he was killing it in players’ only practices. But here’s something to consider: Del Rio has almost zero college experience, whereas Appleby has a bunch, including 11 starts at Purdue. The word is that if Appleby is in the right offense (and he will be) and gets solid support from his line and playmakers, he’ll be very productive — and what Jim McElwain is looking for in his quarterback.

  • Jordan Cronkrite separates himself from Jordan Scarlett and junior college transfer Mark Thompson at tailback. Cronkrite and Scarlett showed similar running styles and skill last season, and Thompson appears to be a back in the same mold. The difference-maker in the competition will be Cronkrite’s ability to make plays in the passing game. He displayed sure hands last season (remember that amazing TD reception at Vanderbilt?) and appears the best dual-threat out of the backfield, which is a big deal in this offense.

  • Tight ends C’yontai Lewis and DeAndre Goolsby have huge springs. Both showed explosive playmaking ability last season, and with Jake McGee gone, the opportunity will be there for both in what is obviously a tight end friendly offense.

  • Junior college transfer Dre Massey and true freshmen Chauncey Gardner, Josh Hammond, Eddy Pineiro, David Reese, Josh Hammond and Freddie Swain have an immediate impact. Based on what the coaches have said about Massey, he’s going to be fun to watch.

  • Martez Ivey emerges as a dominant player on the offensive line, either at guard or tackle — or both. I don’t think this would surprise anyone after watching how he played as a true freshman last fall.

  • Duke Dawson emerges as a starter at the safety spot opposite Marcus Maye. He’s a very talented athlete — and let’s just say he’s due.

  • Eddy Pineiro takes over as the starting place-kicker. I think just about everybody is anticipating this happening.

  • Cornerback Quincy Wilson takes his game to the next level and joins Jalen Tabor as one of the SEC’s elite cornerbacks.

  • Linebacker Matt Rolin misses time due to injury. It always seems to happen to this hard-luck guy.

  • Florida’s pass rush is stronger even without early departure Alex McCalister. UF’s defensive is going to be big, fast and athletic.

So, there you go, some stuff that should not be considered surprising if it happens this spring.