Florida spring wrap-up

May, 5, 2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

Florida Gators
2008 overall record: 13-1

2008 conference record: 8-1

Returning starters

Offense: 7; Defense: 11; Kicker/punter: 2

Top returners

QB Tim Tebow, RB Jeffery Demps, RB/KR Brandon James, TE Aaron Hernandez, OG Maurkice Pouncey, OG Mike Pouncey, DE Carlos Dunlap, LB Brandon Spikes, CB Joe Haden, S Ahmad Black, S Major Wright.

Key losses

RB/WR Percy Harvin, WR Louis Murphy, OT Jason Watkins, OT Phil Trautwein.

2008 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Tim Tebow* (673 yards)
: Tim Tebow* (2,746 yards)
: Louis Murphy (655 yards)
: Brandon Spikes* (93) 
: Carlos Dunlap* (9.5)
Interceptions: Ahmad Black* (7)

Spring answers

2009 Schedule
Sept. 5 Charleston Southern
Sept. 12 Troy
Sept. 19 Tennessee
Sept. 26 at Kentucky
Oct. 10 at LSU
Oct. 17 Arkansas
Oct. 24 at Mississippi State
Oct. 31 Georgia (Jacksonville)
Nov. 7 Vanderbilt
Nov. 14 at South Carolina
Nov. 21 Florida International
Nov. 28 Florida State
Brantley's ready: Any concerns about who would back up Tim Tebow next season were alleviated this spring thanks to the performance of John Brantley. He was the highlight of the spring for the Gators with the way he threw the ball and was good enough that Florida coach Urban Meyer would like to use him some next season in certain situations.

Depth on defense: Not only do the Gators have everybody coming back on defense, but they're getting safety Dorian Munroe back after he missed all of last season with a knee injury. There's not a deeper defensive team in the country, and it's always nice to have a veteran like Brandon Spikes to lean on.

Greedy Gators: Spikes said this offseason was even more intense than the one last year when the Gators were coming off a 9-4 record. The competition this spring was equally intense. As cornerback Joe Haden said, the Gators have already forgotten about what they did in 2008 and want to add another ring to their collection.

Fall questions

Percy position: Percy Harvin was a touchdown machine for the Gators. He had his own position -- part-running back and part-receiver. It's safe to say that nobody will be able to replace him, but Deonte Thompson, Frankie Hammond and T.J. Lawrence all showed this spring that they're capable of striking from long distance.

Twin tackles: The Gators lost starting offensive tackles Jason Watkins and Phil Trautwein, who started a combined 58 games at Florida. Carl Johnson looks like a starter at one tackle after sliding over from guard, and Marcus Gilbert is the front runner at the other tackle. Gilbert was one of Florida's most improved players this spring. Matt Patchan is also a possibility after filling in on the defensive line last season, although he could stand to add a few pounds.

Offensive staff changes: Florida's offensive coaching staff looks a little different with Dan Mullen now heading up the Mississippi State program. Offensive line coach Steve Addazio was promoted to offensive coordinator and will call plays, while Meyer brought in Scot Loeffler to coach the Gators' quarterbacks and Brian White to coach tight ends.



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