This is the last Wednesdays With Dr. Football for a couple of weeks as I have some vacation coming. But it will resume live from Hoover, Ala., during SEC Media Days.
1. So I put on Twitter that I was going to list the five Florida players who must come through for this to be a big season and asked for responses, And, of course, Will Muschamp’s name came up. So did Jeremy Foley’s. Some of you are not going to be happy until there is a new coach. For those of you who aren’t pessimistic about this season, here are my five (and I’m staying away from the obvious) — 1. Quinton Dunbar. I think he was on the verge of a great season last year (seven catches for 98 yards against Miami) before Jeff Driskel went down. He has 90 catches but only six TDs as a fifth-year senior. It’s time. 2. Chaz Green. I’ve said a hundred times that his injury hurt Florida worse than anyone could imagine. He needs to bounce back and be an All-SEC type tackle. 3. Jalen Tabor. It’s just the reality when you lose so much in the secondary that a true freshman has to live up to the hype right away. They aren’t throwing it in the direction of the other corner. 4. Jonathan Bullard. Florida is going to ask a lot of him, moving from position to position. Can he come through? 5. Austin Hardin. Missed field goals can sap momentum and energy. Florida absolutely has to be able to count on three points when the Gators get inside the 30.
2. West Virginia named Clint Trickett its starting quarterback on Tuesday meaning we could have a battle between ex-FSU quarterbacks in the season opener if Jacob Coker wins the starting job at Alabama. If nothing else, it’s a sign of the times — quarterbacks don’t stay if they don’t play. I’ve always thought Trickett had a great arm and he did well in seven starts, but he took 16 sacks and only threw seven TD passes. West Virginia’s problem (the ‘Eers went 4-8) was that it was defenseless, especially against the pass. WVU allowed 24 passing touchdowns, the most in the Big 12 and 3,160 passing yards. Remember that if Coker lights the Mountaineers up.
3. There seems to be a consensus out there that Florida will finish 8-4. That’s right where I have the Gators. But that would be achieving, not over or under. This team with its schedule is an 8-4 team. I think the 2012 team was the same and it definitely overachieved. The question is whether or not 8-4 appeases the masses. Heck, I’m not sure 11-2 did with some of the Gator fans out there.
4. I saw a ranking of coaches the other day on 24/7 that had Nick Saban at No. 1 and Chris Petersen at No. 2. I’m not so sure about that. Winning at Boise State with little grumbling from the media and fans is one thing. (I’ve heard from coaches that Boise assistants who go to bigger schools struggle with the criticism they receive). I think Petersen is an excellent coach but the second-best in the land? Over Urban Meyer? And Jimbo Fisher is 13th? Hey, the reason people do lists is to get you talking.
5. Finally, we leave you with another gem from Steve Spurrier, whose quote about Nick Saban’s work ethic was making the rounds this week. Spurrier has never understood why coaches feel a need to sleep on office couches while he’s snuggled into his bed at home. “Would we be 12-1 instead of 11-2? Oh, you’re kidding. I haven’t heard anybody say that really, but if you wanted to, you can find faults with anybody if they don’t win them all. How many SECs has (Saban) won there in eight years? He’s won two. He’s won three nationals, but he’s only won two SECs in eight years. Now, if you had the No. 1 recruiting class every year and so forth, I don’t know if he has maxed out potentially as well as he could.” Only the ball coach would think about calling Saban an underachiever.