FAU Preview

12Time for a fresh start across the board for the 2011 Florida Gators.  It starts with new Head Coach Will Muschamp, an almost completely new staff, and (hopefully) better coaching and play on the field this season.

Most of the off-season attention has been paid to re-building the offense.  The confidence of the entire unit, especially John Brantley, must have been shattered by abominable coaching and coordinating by the Dazzler, and Charlie Weis has a monumental job to get these guys believing they can compete in the SEC again.  I expect a vanilla scheme for the most part in the opener, but it appears Brantley will play more than you would normally expect, needing as many reps as he can get in the new offense before the SEC season starts.  Florida should be able to overpower FAU on the ground, but the timing and honing of the downfield passing game need to develop right away.

The perceived strength of the 2011 Gators is their defense, but this is a very young group with a thin depth chart at LB and in the secondary.  The defensive line will have to lead the way all season, starting in the opener, by getting run penetration and pressure on the QB.  Expect most of the roster to get some snaps in this game.  The linebackers and secondary have a few weeks to gear up for the SEC schedule, and still have along way to go to establish communication and cohesiveness.  That position is going to struggle at times in 2011, and it will get ugly at times.

FAU might hang around for 1-2 quarters on emotion and adrenaline, but Florida outclasses them across the board.  One coach starts his head coaching career, while another (Howard Schnellenberger) begins his last season.  The mantra for the opener is, as always, NO INJURIES.

Prediction  – UF 41        FAU 13