Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

January 2, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike DiRocco

Michael DiRocco
  (3:59 PM)

Hope everyone had a safe and happy New Years' Eve. It's game day in New Orleans.

Al (Miami, FL)

With our count at 25 commits, how many more commits do you see UF getting and who do you think they might be?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:03 PM)

Al -- The Gators are still going after Elijah Daniel, Jalen Ramsey, Montravius Adams, Trey Johnson, Demarcus Robinson and Laquon Treadwell, among others. UF probably will try and sign 3-5 more players.

Ryan (Fl)

Seems like Elam will be leaving early, any chance Brian Poole gets a shot at safety with our depth at corner?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:05 PM)

Ryan -- Poole has trained at corner and safety, and he could play safety next year depending on how certain players develop. With Riggs returning from an injury, he re-joins the CB rotation but he also can play safety. If Showers or Gorman or Maye don't develop into starters, the Gators could go with Poole at safety.

Justin (Alabama)

What was your take on the Orange bowl last night? Will the way Flordia St completly over powered NIU, finally make the BCS realize how bad of a matchup that was?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:06 PM)

Justin -- NIU couldn't handle FSU's bulk and speed. That was the difference. Everyone knew it was a bad matchup, but NIU qualified under the rules that had to be put in place to avoid an anti-trust lawsuit.

Jason (New York)

D Tyson has said that UF will land either DeMarcus Walker or Elijah Daniel- why is that?Also he believes that UF won't pursue OLB Trey Johnson even though he has interest in us...why is that the case? We've recruited multiple CB's RB's I don't get it

Michael DiRocco
  (4:09 PM)

Jason -- It's because UF only wants to sign one more DE. As for Johnson, the Gators feel like they're pretty set at LB. Plus there's possibly some behind-the-scenes stuff going on there as well. Maybe they're concerned he won't be a good fit or about his grades.

Ender (Knoxville, TN)

I'm seeing a bunch of recruits that the Gators are tied to, but not listed as a top choice. Do you have any recruits that the Gators might be dark horses to get?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:12 PM)

Ender -- Probably the biggest is Demarcus Robinson. He's torn between Clemson and UF but has been committed to Clemson for a while. He flipped for a few days to UF. UF's class is nearly complete so they're really concentrating on just a few spots. It's unlikely there will be any surprises this year.

Ron (ATL)

Mike - looking to next season, where do you see the Gators improving on offense? With Phillips now in at receivers coach, added depth to the O-line and Pease having another year to work with Driskell on his progressions that the gators will possess a more balanced attack in 2013?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:13 PM)

Ron -- I think the OL will be the most improved position on the team, thanks to the addition of Garcia, Brown and Moore to go along with the experience Humphries gained this season. The line should be even more physical than it was this year. As for having a more balanced attack, it depends on if any of those freshmen WRs are ready to be impact players right away. The key to the 2013 season is what happens at that position.

Ethan (Starke, Fl)

Who's going to be the Gators' kicker next year? Brad Phillips?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:14 PM)

Ethan - Austin Hardin, who redshirted this year, should be the kicker.

john (ga)

florida uniform for tonight will salomon patton play

Michael DiRocco
  (4:15 PM)

john -- Solomon Patton will not play. He's still out with the broken arm.

Jason (New York)

Watching J Clowney last night....How is it possible that people think M Taeo of ND is the best defensive player in the country... Makes no sense that he was up for Heisman.... J Clowney will be 1st pick when he comes out (or should be) M Taeo will be a special teams player at best in the NFL- thoughts...also Id rather have ogletree and floyd, and minko before I take him...

Michael DiRocco
  (4:17 PM)

Jason -- Te'o is a very good player and he'll be a solid NFL linebacker. His name just kind of caught fire and he played for an undefeated team, so that's why he was in the Heisman race. But you're right, Clowney is the best defensive player in the nation. He'll be a serious Heisman candidate next year and will be the first overall pick when he comes out.

Ethan (Starke, Fl)

Chances Gilly rushes for 200 tonight?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:19 PM)

Ethan -- Actually, that's not a crazy question because Louisville's rush defense has been terrible this season. In the final eight games, the Cardinals allowed teams to rush for at least 196 yards five times. UF will pound the football and Gillislee will have plenty of chances to break some big runs. I think he definitely gets 150 or more.

Jason (Schwitzer)

I'm actually somewhat surprised some of the SEC games were close...I think layoff hurt some of these teams like LSU and SC- thoughts?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:24 PM)

Jason -- The layoff can be a factor, but in LSU's case I think it had more to do with the fact that Zack Mettenberger isn't very good and the play-calling stunk. Plus, the LSU defense had several chances to make some big plays and didn't. As for South Carolina, the Gamecocks' defense didn't look good (other than Clowney) but I don't know if that had anything to do with a layoff. The Gamecocks have not played very well in bowl games under Spurrier.

Mike (St. Pete)

Prediction for the game tonight?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:24 PM)

Mike -- I think this Sugar Bowl will play out a lot like the last time UF was here. The Gators won't throw it around all over the place, but they'll score plenty of points. I think UF wins 31-14.

Erik (Miami)

Did Brantley just decommit?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:29 PM)

Erik -- That is apparently what Brantley tweeted.

Jason (Schwitzer)

whose a better in 2013 of these 3 Georgia (assuming Murray comes back), SC, or UF- basically who wins the East and do you think A&M will win West or is it still LSU/BAMA

Michael DiRocco
  (4:31 PM)

Jason -- I'll take UF to win the Eastern Division. The defense won't drop off as much as many people think and the offense will be better because they'll have more talent at WR (and it can't get worse at that spot). UF would have beaten Georgia had they not turned it over 6 times. As for the West, I'll take Bama. Even though the loss of those offensive linemen will hurt, they've got so many skill guys coming back and the defense will be better.

joe (ga)

demarcus robinson end up where

Michael DiRocco
  (4:31 PM)

joe -- I still think Clemson.

Ethan (Starke, Fl)

Chances Muschamp chest bumps at least 3 people? Sorry, I just had ask that question.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:31 PM)

Ethan -- I'll set the over/under at 4. I'll take the under.

Todd (Florida)

Do you expect to see Driskel use his legs tonight? Or will it be more of a ground and pound from Florida?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:32 PM)

Todd -- I don't think we'll see Driskel run the ball the way he did against Vandy, but he'll definitely scramble around and use some rollout passes. The ankle is supposedly completely healthy.

Ivo (Jax, FL)

Will Either or both Kent Taylor/ Colin Thompson help ease the sting of losing Reed early? Thank!

Michael DiRocco
  (4:33 PM)

Ivo -- Taylor should be able to contribute in the passing game. Thompson is more of a blocker, and he'll certainly block better than Reed did. Between the two the TE spot should be OK.

CP (CLW)

Is Bridgewater 100% healthy? Will we be bringing the house on him tonight to test that ankle out?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:34 PM)

CP -- Bridgewater says the ankle is healthy. I don't think UF blitzes a lot. They'll try to keep him contained in the pocket, get pressure with four, and cover. The secondary is the strength of the defense and should be able to shut down the Cardinals' passing attack.

richy (england)

How are we looking with adams? and ramsey?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:35 PM)

richy -- UF really wants Adams. From what I've heard they're both leaning toward UF but it's more of a 60-40 thing.

Braydon (Duncan, SC)

Do you see Elam returning for his final season? Also do you think Jenkins will return because of his injury filled season this year?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:36 PM)

Braydon -- I think Jenkins does return. As for Elam, there seems to be some momentum to him coming back, but my point is this: He's not going to get any taller. He just had an All-American season. His stock won't get much higher than it is now. I think he goes out.

Jason (Schwitzer)

Why did Brantley just decommit?? What the hell is going on?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:37 PM)

Jason -- Don't know why. All his tweet says is that he did. Derek Tyson, our recruiting guru, is chasing the story and he'll have an update on the site ASAP.

Matt (Gainesville)

What is the word on Kent Taylor and Colin Thompson's development so far?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:38 PM)

Matt -- Both were hurt by injuries. A hamstring set Taylor back early in the year and he never caught up. He's got to gain some weight. Thompson's rehab is going well and the staff expects him to be fine and ready to go in spring. Both are going to help in the red zone for sure.

John (New York)

Mike - heard rumor that some of Gator players might not play first half due to curfew violation? Is that accurate ? Thanks #GoGators

Michael DiRocco
  (4:39 PM)

John -- Muschamp said yesterday that nobody had missed curfew this week. Now, if they missed last night that's a different matter, but as of yesterday afternoon everyone was OK.

Justin (Atl)

Who do you think will start at the buck position, Powell or Fowler?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:40 PM)

Justin -- Powell will start. The Gators will try and get them on the field at the same time, though. Maybe move Fowler to OLB possibly.

Jason (Schwitzer)

Gators go in hurry up to start game or slow pace?...You know Brent is gonna have some things up his sleeve probably wants to really run up the score tonight (even though they're all saying the right things at these press conferences)

Michael DiRocco
  (4:41 PM)

Jason -- I think they run normal offense and pound the football. Louisville struggles against the run so they'll attack that first. But I do think they'll mix things up, too. We may see a drive or two in up tempo, but I expect them to start the game pretty conventionally.

Justin (Atl)

I know there's a lot of talk about Colin and Kent at TE, but what about Westbrook and Trey Burton?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:42 PM)

Justin -- Westbrook is a blocker and nothing more. I'm assuming you mean Clay Burton. All I'll say about him is that he probably blew any chance he had of being part of the passing game by dropping two passes last year -- especially the TD pass.

Todd (Florida)

Do you think that Brissett is going to transfer or move positions now that Driskel is starter for sure?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:43 PM)

Todd -- I don't think Brissett leaves. I've heard he's very happy at UF, loves Gainesville. We'll have to see what happens in the next few days. Classes start Monday. If he's going to transfer it'll likely happen before that.

Todd (Florida)

Another question: Do you think that Grier will be the next QB for UF after Driskel? And, in all reality, how much of a beast is Grier?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:45 PM)

Todd -- I don't know if I can answer that now. Grier may not even come to UF. He seems to be pretty good -- he's got the numbers for sure -- but it's so hard to project. Plus, he's got another season of hs football. Staver would have an advantage because he'll have been at UF a year, too.

Robbie (Orlando)

Is it possible if UF blows the Cardinals out and Alabama beats ND close can the Gators be co national champs

Michael DiRocco
  (4:45 PM)

Robbie -- I doubt it.

Ethan (Starke, Fl)

Are you doing this chat during the offseason?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:46 PM)

Ethan -- I don't know whether we'll do it every week, but we'll definitely do some chats. I'll tweet out a schedule once we finalize that.

Justin (Atl)

Who all is supposed to earl enroll at UF? I can't seem to find the list anywhere.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:48 PM)

Justin -- Here is the list of players who are supposed to enroll on Monday: Moore, Brown, Taylor, McMillian, Harris, Cummings, Ivie, Rolin.

JB (Lake Oswego, OR)

Over/Under 0.5 catches for Andre Debose tonight?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:48 PM)

JB -- Under. No question.

John (New York)

Mike - thanks for taking questions. Do you think we see a bit of Jacoby Brissett ? Good kid - hope he gets rewarded some play time

Michael DiRocco
  (4:49 PM)

John -- If UF's up big we'll see some Brissett in the fourth quarter. The staff would like to get him some playing time.

Ethan (Starke, Fl)

What happened to Debose? He used to be a dynamic kick returner and this year, he hasn't done much.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:50 PM)

Ethan -- He's been in the Muschamp/Pease doghouse because of his attitude, poor work ethic, and poor practice habits. He's not exactly the hardest worker, either.

Rick (North Carolina)

Everyone knows we run and they can't stop the run, so what are the odds that Pease throws deep early to catch the Cards off guard?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:51 PM)

Rick -- There's always a chance, but I think this is a game in which the Gators are going to do what they do. They shouldn't need any wrinkles to win this game.

Braydon (Duncan)

Also, who will be the key reciever next year with Hammond leaving? I saw Purifoy in against SCar. Could he play reciever often next year along with corner?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:51 PM)

Braydon -- Purifoy will spend some time at WR next year. Not a lot, because he's such a good corner. Dunbar will enter the spring as the No. 1 receiver. The staff wants a couple of those freshmen to emerge, though.

Ron (ATL)

Mike--what is the status on Ronald Powell's ACL rehab? Is he going to be ready for Spring practice? Any drop off in speed, agility, etc? With the loss of Bostic, it would be great to get Powell and Fowler on the field at the same time

Michael DiRocco
  (4:53 PM)

Ron -- I talked to Powell the other day. He says everything is going great. He'll be non-contact in the spring but expects to be full contact once camp starts in August. I think the staff will try and get those two on the field at the same time. Maybe even get those two plus Bullard on the field at the same time.

John (New York)

Would Bush Hamdan be coaching tonight? or getting ready for Arkansas state ? Thanks

Michael DiRocco
  (4:58 PM)

John -- Bush is coaching in the game.

Justin (Atl)

I noticed there weren't any WR's on that early enroll list. I wonder why? And are Hearns and Lane not enrolling early like they planned?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:58 PM)

Justin -- I don't know why the others aren't, but I know that Fulwood's school doesn't allow early graduation.

Carter (Clearwater, FL)

Can you please list all the significant seniors Florida will be losing?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:00 PM)

Carter -- Xavier Nixon, James Wilson, Jon Bostic, Josh Evans, Caleb Sturgis.

Braydon (Duncan)

Do you think UF will be a better team next year with National Championship capability?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:01 PM)

Braydon -- I do think the Gators will win the Eastern Division and will be in the national title race if they win the SEC title game.

Michael DiRocco
  (5:01 PM)

OK everyone, that's it for today. Hope you guys enjoy the game.