SEC: William Green

Things will look a lot different for the Gators this season.

There will be a new coaching staff, which will feature the coordinators alongside the head coach on the ground instead of the booth, and there are a ton of new faces out there.

Monday, Florida released its depth chart for Saturday's opener against Florida Atlantic and there were a few surprises.

The first thing that stands out is that the Gators could line up with two true freshmen starters in the secondary. If that were to happen, it would be first time in school history that two true freshmen started in the secondary for the Gators during the season opener.

Coach Will Muschamp currently has De'Ante Saunders penciled in as the starter at free safety and Marcus Roberson at one of the corner positions. If Saunders starts, he would be the first true freshman to start for the Gators at safety on opening day. Saunders is also listed as the starter at the nickel.

Junior cornerback Jeremy Brown is questionable with a knee injury, so Moses Jenkins or Cody Riggs could start opposite Roberson.

Sophomore Sharrif Floyd is listed as a starting defensive end. Floyd began his career as a defensive tackle, but Muschamp wants to get the best players on the field and Floyd is versatile and strong enough to play outside. Senior William Green is behind him on the depth chart.

Sophomore Dominique Easley is set to start next to Jaye Howard inside.

On offense, Matt Patchan is listed as the starting right tackle. He's dealt with a handful of injuries through the years, but if he's healthy, he could be the Gators' top lineman.

Notre Dame transfer Dan Wenger, who had his Irish career cut short by concussions, came in as a center, but is listed as the starting left guard. Former guard Jonotthan Harrison is the starting center.

Quinton Dunbar is listed as the starting receiver at the X position. Dunbar has been one of the coaches' favorite players to watch this year and the thought is he could be a big-time deep threat this fall.

One other interesting note is that tight end Jordan Reed is also listed as the backup punt returner behind Chris Rainey. Reed isn't the shiftiest player, but he's very athletic and tough to bring down. Still, you'd think Florida would want to get one of its faster, more elusive players in the open space.

SEC Media Days lineup

July, 13, 2011
7/13/11
9:00
AM ET
It's almost here, folks. SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., are just a week away, which means the regular season is just around the corner.

You're ready for some football, and we're definitely ready for some football.

You can always find an interesting story or two at media days and there are always a few surprises here and there.

What will the coaches say about paying players? What will players say about paying players? What will be the reactions to the new rules on oversigning? Who will have the snazziest suit? Who will drop the best/funniest quotes of the week?

And of course, which fan base will have the most representation during the three-day event?

Each team will be bringing three players, along with the head coach. There are some good names on this year's list, including Ole Miss defensive end Kentrell Lockett. He's not only fun to talk with but has one of the more interesting stories to follow, considering his 2011 season was up in the air a few months ago.

Two youngsters that should get a lot of attention are South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore and Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. Big things are expected from each one this fall, so it will be interesting to see how they deal with the media onslaught.

This will be Will Muschamp and James Franklin's first go-rounds at media days. Florida's new coach will also be bringing much-criticized quarterback John Brantley with him, but senior defensive tackle Jaye Howard won't make the trip. Too bad because he has a great personality and is fun to talk to.

Alabama coach Nick Saban, running back Trent Richardson, safety Mark Barron and linebacker Dont’a Hightower should get a few cameras and tape recorders in their faces next week. Alabama enters the fall as the likely favorite in the league and everyone will let Saban and his crew know that when they arrive Friday morning.

One disappointment is that South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia won't be around. The troubled athlete is looking to clean up his image in Columbia, but we won't have an opportunity to hear what he has to say as he attempts his transformation. Luckily, coach Steve Spurrier will be in town, meaning there should be some good laughs and great quotes. Plus, I'm interested to see if he's had more thoughts on compensating student-athletes.

I’m sure a few more personalities will come out next week, so it should be fun.

Here is a complete list of players and coaches for next week's event.

WEDNESDAY
First Rotation:
1 -- 3:50 p.m. ET

Arkansas
Coach Bobby Petrino
RB Knile Davis
WR Jarius Wright
DE Tenarius Wright

Florida
Coach Will Muschamp
QB John Brantley
DE William Green
WR Deonte Thompson

Second Rotation: 3:20 -- 6 p.m. ET

South Carolina
Coach Steve Spurrier
WR Alshon Jeffery
RB Marcus Lattimore
DT Travian Robertson

Mississippi State
Coach Dan Mullen
RB Vick Ballard
DT Fletcher Cox
QB Chris Relf

THURSDAY
First Rotation:
8:30 -- 11:20 a.m. ET

Kentucky
Coach Joker Phillips
OG Stuart Hines
CB Anthony Mosley
QB Morgan Newton

Georgia
Coach Mark Richt
CB Brandon Boykin
C Ben Jones
QB Aaron Murray

Second Rotation: 10:50 a.m. -- 1:30 p.m. ET

Auburn
Coach Gene Chizik
WR Emory Blake
DT Nosa Equae
TE Phillip Lutzenkirchen

Tennessee
Coach Derek Dooley
DL Malik Jackson
RB Tauren Poole
OL Dallas Thomas

FRIDAY
First Rotation:
8:30 -- 11:20 a.m. ET

Alabama
Coach Nick Saban
S Mark Barron
LB Dont'a Hightower
RB Trent Richardson

Vanderbilt
Coach James Franklin
CB Casey Hayward
LB Chris Marve
QB Larry Smith

Second Rotation: 10:50 a.m. -- 1:30 p.m. ET

Ole Miss
Coach Houston Nutt
RB Brandon Bolden
DE Kentrell Lockett
OT Bradley Sowell

LSU
Coach Les Miles
LB Ryan Baker
QB Jordan Jefferson
WR Russell Shepard
Today we look at the big uglies that cause all the mayhem in the trenches. The SEC consistently spits out nasty defensive linemen and this year has more of an athletic feel.

Here's how the teams stacked up:

1. South Carolina: The Gamecocks return a defensive line that would make any offensive line shutter. Plus, incoming freshman Jadeveon Clowney comes in as the top high school player in the country and could be one of the best ends in the league this fall. Devin Taylor leads the group at end and was second on the team with 7.5 sacks as a sophomore. Helping on the outside is Melvin Ingram, who plays inside on passing downs, and led South Carolina with nine sacks a year ago. Senior Travian Robertson, who came off injury to get four sacks last year, is solid in the middle as well.

[+] EnlargeDevin Taylor
Dale Zanine/US PresswireDevin Taylor made a habit of harassing quarterbacks last season.
2. Arkansas: The Razorbacks might have the best pass-rushing group Arkansas has seen in a while. Things revolve around defensive end Jake Bequette, who was one of the more unheralded players in the league last year, despite having seven sacks. On the other side of the line is Tenarius Wright, who will make up the second part of a formidable outside duo in Fayetteville with his speed and athleticism. In the middle, there are plenty of options. Byran Jones and DeQuinta Jones missed spring due to injury, but will be back this fall and there’s a wealth of depth behind them. Junior college transfer Robert Thomas might be the best and most athletic option in the middle is primed to break out.

3. LSU: There are some questions about the experience the Tigers bring back, but no one will question the talent and athleticism in Baton Rouge. Sam Montgomery is back at defensive end, after suffering a serious knee injury. He hasn’t played much, but the coaches believe he’s got what it takes to be a top end in this league. Kendrick Adams started 11 games last year at end, while Lavar Edwards filled in for Montgomery. Ego Ferguson redshirted last year, but should get a ton of playing time in the middle this fall. He is already one of the most athletic tackles in the SEC. Don’t forget about five-star early enrollee Anthony Johnson, who made very strong impressions on his coaches this spring and will be in the rotation inside.

4. Florida: This unit was criticized for lacking toughness last season, but will be full of that and even more athleticism in 2011. Jaye Howard is returning from spring ankle surgery and is already considered a top defensive tackle prospect in next year’s NFL draft. Alongside him are youngsters Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley. Floyd was the most consistent of the much-ballyhooed freshman class last fall, while Easley struggled with attitude problems. Easley has rebounded and both excelled this spring. Omar Hunter is finally healthy and will share time with Floyd at noseguard and senior William Green will occupy an end spot. This group is even better when Ronald Powell lines up at end in the 4-3.

5. Alabama: On paper, there are a few questions with this group, but it’s hard to drop Alabama very far on this list. The 3-4 scheme will have senior Josh Chapman at noseguard. Chapman started 12 games in the middle last fall, totaling 31 tackles, including 3.5 for loss. Damion Square will compete for time on the outside, and since returning from his ACL injury, he’s gained a lot more playing confidence and could be a budding star in the league. Junior college transfers Quinton Dial and Jesse Williams will compete for time on the line as well, while sophomore Ed Stinson will stay at end after starting last season at Jack linebacker.

6. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs have arguably the top returning tackle tandem in the SEC. Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd are the behemoths in the middle who combined for 53 tackles, 13 for loss and five sacks last year. Finding any sort of inside running game against Mississippi State will be extremely tough. Developing a pass-rusher is the next step for the Bulldogs’ staff. Sean Ferguson occupies one side, but the other is still up for grabs. Trevor Stigers and Shane McCardell battled for the spot this spring, but neither has really pushed ahead.

7. Georgia: There is a lot of talent in Athens, but there could be a lot of movement on the line. JUCO transfer John Jenkins is the big -- and we mean big -- name up front and he’s yet to play a down in the SEC. He arrives with a ton of hype, but is perfect at noseguard in Todd Grantham’s 3-4. DeAngelo Tyson moves to his natural position outside after playing noseguard last year. Kwame Geathers played in the middle this spring, but could be usurped for Jenkins this fall and move outside. Abry Jones is still maturing after moving to end and recording 34 tackles including 3.5 for loss last season and had a 16-tackle performance against Georgia Tech.

8. Auburn: The Tigers must replace three starters this season. Inside, Auburn is talented but inexperienced with Kenneth Carter and Jeffrey Whitaker having 13 combined tackles from a year ago. There’s less concern on the outside with lone returning starter Nosa Eguae on one side and sophomore Corey Lemonier on the other. Eguae might have more experience with 11 starts, but Lemonier appears to be more athletic and should be near the top of the defensive end pool this year. After that, the Tigers are young across the board.

9. Tennessee: The Volunteers’ line will grow with senior Malik Jackson running things in the middle. He had 48 tackles and five sacks a year ago and some think he’ll be even better this fall. A lot will also be expected from incoming JUCO transfer Maurice Couch. He’s pretty athletic at 6-foot-4, 327 pounds and he’ll be greatly needed, considering the dismissal of Montori Hughes. Jacques Smith has All-SEC potential and will hold one of the end spots. After that, Tennessee has some young, but encouragingly talented bodies at each position.

10. Ole Miss: Some of the best news of the spring coming out of Oxford was the return of Kentrell Lockett at defensive end. Lockett was granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA and will not only be the Rebels’ top lineman but possibly their best defensive player. After that, the questions roll in with four tackles gone and youth coming in. Tackle Justin Smith has yet to really emerge as the All-SEC talent he was expected to be and Ole Miss is smaller up front. JUCO transfer Gilbert Pena could add some size in the middle. Gerald Rivers returns to get time at end, but has played in just 15 career games in two years.

11. Vanderbilt: This was supposed to be a strength for the Commodores last year until injuries hit. Still, Vanderbilt returns three starters. Experience is there, but this unit has to continue to improve, especially in the pass-rushing department where the Commodores had just 20 sacks in 2010. Rob Lohr led Vanderbilt with four sacks a year ago and had 35 tackles. T.J. Greenstone is coming off of injury and will line up inside. Tim Fugger was one of the Commodores' most consistent players at end, playing in every game and registering three sacks and four forced fumbles.

12. Kentucky: End Collins Ukwu and tackle Luke McDermott return with the most experience on Kentucky’s line. Ukwu improved not only on the field but in the weight room this spring and is expected to be a more consistent pass-rusher. McDermott is a walk-on currently ahead of Donte Rumph, who has the talent to be one of Kentucky’s top defenders, but has yet to fully buy in to the program. The coaches are also waiting for tackle Mister Cobble to finally break out of his funk and be a regular contributor. The rest of Kentucky’s linemen have some developing to do and are inexperienced.
Omar Hunter knows his time is running out.

Florida’s redshirt junior defensive lineman fought early hype and nagging injuries during his first three years with the Gators and now sees that he’s got to step up or sit and watch.

Hunter doesn’t want to do the latter. He had all the right to that this spring when a nagging injury returned. While he was listed as limited on Florida’s pre-spring depth chart, he pushed through the pain and competed as much as he could with a new coaching staff watching.

“It was tough, but they [the coaches] realized that I was injured and I was still trying to fight through some things,” Hunter said. “They let me off a few times on some things that they could have easily gotten on me for, but they understood I had an injury and took it easy on me a little bit.”

[+] EnlargeOmar Hunter
Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesJunior Omar Hunter (99) fought through injuries this spring and is looking forward to making an impact in the fall.
Hunter, who is down to 300 pounds after working at 307 this spring, decided that participating would help him learn defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s new system and get him more familiar with defensive line coach Bryant Young’s new philosophy. If he was going to show the new staff he was ready to take his game to a new level, he had to do it -- hurt or not.

Hunter’s ability to stay on the practice field this spring also helped him gain more respect from his teammates. With depth issues and a gang of youngsters pushing for time on Florida’s line, Hunter wanted to not only show he wasn’t going to just hand his spot over, he wanted to prove that he was going to be a leader for the line.

“The message I tried to send was that I was going to be there whether I was hurt or not,” he said. “I’m always going to have their backs and I’m always going to push through injuries for them.”

The young talent certainly motivated Hunter. Regardless of how he felt physically, Hunter knew he’d have to fight off some pups this spring.

Leading the underclassmen charge is sophomore Sharrif Floyd, who will compete with Hunter for time at nose tackle when the Gators go into the 3-4. Dominique Easley, who blossomed this spring, and Leon Orr are also pushing for time on the interior.

Hunter is looking over his shoulder at those players, but he’s also helping them. While his goal is to be the disruptor in the middle, he wants what’s best for the team, and development of the younger players will be key to keeping Florida’s line fresh.

“I keep pushing them, they push me,” Hunter said. “We’re all getting better because of that.

“Last year, we were a close group, but we could have been closer. If we would have been closer, we would have been even better.”

The unit could be special, really. There is talent oozing at each position. Senior Jaye Howard, who ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper ranked as the fourth-best draft-eligible returner at defensive tackle, missed all of the spring because of surgery on his ankle, but is expected to be full-go for two-a-days. Senior William Green will maintain one of the end spots, and while he hasn’t truly broken out, he’ll fit nicely into Florida’s multiple defense.

Sophomore Ronald Powell will play the hybrid defensive end/linebacker position known as the Buck. He’s got all the athleticism and speed to be a menace in the pass rush, but he’s got to continue to mature. Cal transfer Chris Martin and junior Lerentee McCray will also get time at end.

Florida’s line is young, but the ceiling appears high for the unit. Barring injuries, this could be the strength of Florida’s defense in the fall.

Reviewing Florida's scrimmage

March, 29, 2010
3/29/10
11:26
AM ET
Florida quarterback John Brantley had his hands full going against the Gators' defense in last Saturday's scrimmage.

Brantley didn't have a lot of time to throw and never really got into a rhythm, as just about the entire starting offensive line was held out of the scrimmage.

William Green and Duke Lemmens both had big days on defense with a handful of sacks.

Freshman safety Matt Elam intercepted Brantley and returned it for a touchdown. Elam worked with the first-team defense for much of the day.

Redshirt freshman receiver Stephen Alli had a big day catching passes from backup Trey Burton. Brantley did throw a 30-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Reed.

One of the best competitions this spring is at the cornerback spot opposite Janoris Jenkins. Co-defensive coordinator Chuck Heater said senior Moses Jenkins and sophomore Jeremy Brown have waged a tight battle for that spot this spring. The only thing holding Brown back the last couple of years was a lingering back problem.

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