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March 13, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike DiRocco

Michael DiRocco
  (4:01 PM)

Hello everyone. Spring practice starts today, and I'm sure everyone has a lot of questions. Let's get started.

Steve (Texas)

start of the 2013 football season who do you believe is the better team alabama or florida

Michael DiRocco
  (4:02 PM)

Steve -- Without question Alabama. UF has a lot of work to do at WR and needs to figure out the DL rotation.

CP (CLW)

MD, Should Pat Young take a serious look at switching to the gridiron? His size and athletic ability at TE would be mismatch central for any opposing def, hes def got the size and speed. With a guy his size he should dominate down in the block every game and just manages to disappoint. Maybe its time for him to come help out our TE's.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:03 PM)

CP -- I'm with you about his size, speed, strength and athleticism. That's what you want in a TE. But the big problem is he doesn't have great hands. Watch him on the court. He bobbles a lot of passes and doesn't have the soft touch around the basket.

Matt (Florida)

How much do you think Driskel will improve with the new receivers? and do you think the defense will be as good as last year?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:07 PM)

Matt -- That's tough to say about Driskel. He has to improve on some things regardless of who's catching the passes: making quicker reads and decisions, pocket awareness, and down-field accuracy. If he gets better at that -- and it seems logical that he will now that he's not splitting reps with Brissett -- then the passing game should be better. If any of those WRs finally emerge, or one of the freshmen steps up and makes a Sammy Watkins-type impact, the passing game should be significantly better. As for the defense, I believe there's a lot of talent, especially in the secondary. I'm a little leery about the DT rotation and the LBs. Need to see those guys prove they can be relied upon. Defense probably takes a bit of a step back because of that inexperience, but it won't be terrible.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

After watching Florida's basketball team choke leads away against Kentucky at Rupp, why hasn't Billy Donovan learned how to adjust (such as not allowing Boynton to take bad shots) to help the team hold onto the lead? After three years, I'm convinced it has more to do with Donovan. The final made basket at the 7:35 mark is simply pitiful.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:09 PM)

Marlon -- The blame goes all around. Billy should get some for not devising something better for end-of-game situations. The players deserve blame for not executing what he has designed and for taking bad shots. Sometimes the play isn't run the way Billy wants. Other times the players settle for poor shots. I think they don't go inside enough at end-of-game situations.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

What are your thoughts on Purifoy moving to receiver? Will this be a full time thing or will he play both ways a la Charles Woodson and Champ Bailey?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:12 PM)

Marlon -- I like it because he's able to go up in the air and make a play on the ball. He's physical and has very good speed, too. Plus, he's got good size (6-1, 185). I don't think the staff knows if it's full-time yet. It'll take a while for Purifoy to absorb the offense. It's more than just knowing the play. He's got to know what adjustments to make against certain coverages. That takes time. I think he'll get work on offense here and there during the season, especially if none of the other WRs step up, but I still see him being a full-time CB first.

Bill (Jax Beach)

With the limited FB scholarship next year, does Fla try to get guys to commit early like year or do you try to wait, so not lose out on the 5-star players that tend to wait til NSD. Also, this basketball team scares me...

Michael DiRocco
  (4:14 PM)

Bill -- UF may only be able to sign 14 players next year. I think they'll try and get some early commits if they can, but they're going after some big-time players who will wait until February to announce. Muschamp is going to have to find a balance there, especially with so few scholarships. I think he'd rather have more early commits but he may not have a choice.

Brandon (Rushville IN)

I know its only day one but what is your take on jeff d's confidence in his recievers ?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:15 PM)

Brandon -- I'll have a better answer for you next week. The media can watch practice on Friday and Saturday and that's one of the things I'm eager to see. We'll have a live thread on our message boards for the practices, by the way. Next week I can give a more thorough analysis.

Mike (Atlanta)

It seems like this years freshman class has played alongside and against each other more than any other class that I can remember on different 7 on 7 and allstar teams do you think this is an advantage?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:17 PM)

Mike -- I do think the guys tend to bond more during all-star games and camps, though. And that seems to be where this group really developed some chemistry. It's always good when a class has good chemistry, but the key is how it fits into the established roster. That we can't know until August.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

Do you see any of the true freshman (i.e. Keanu Neal, Marcell Harris) being able to win either of the spots at safety?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:18 PM)

Marlon -- I don't think so. UF has some experienced guys back there (Riggs, Gorman, Showers) and others who also can play safety if needed (Watkins, Poole). They'll play on special teams and some on defense. Now Vernon Hargreaves may be able to earn a spot in the CB rotation.

Brandon (Rushville IN)

Is their a chance if the backup QB situation doesnt go well between the two this spring Muschamp throws staver into the mix?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:19 PM)

Brandon -- Absolutely, but it will depend on how quickly he can absorb the offense. Mornhinweg struggled with that last year. If Staver can figure it out quickly and they trust him enough, he could win the job. He's the most talented of the three for sure.

Mike (Atlanta)

Moving Quinteze Williams from defense to offense is this just for the Spring practices or is this a permanent move?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:20 PM)

Mike -- I think it's permanent. UF still needs to develop more depth along the line and he gives them a big body they can develop.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

How does the SEC use the rotating schedule? Why did Florida play South Carolina in October instead of November like they've done for the past couple of decades? Will the SEC ever go to a 9 game schedule to even things out?Last year, UF has Auburn and Ole Miss removed from the schedule, and had Texas A&M added. UGA has Bama removed in favor of Mississippi. SC gets clobbered with a consecutive three game stretch of UGA, LSU, and UF. SC definitely got ripped off by the SEC last year.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:22 PM)

Marlon -- Last year's schedule was thrown together because of expansion and the league did the best it could. SC definitely didn't get any favors with that stretch. As for 2013, it's still a bridge schedule as the league tries to figure out a permanent format. Doesn't look like they'll be going to nine games. Plus, there's still some debate to keep permanent opponents from other divisions, like UF-LSU, Bama-Tennessee, Ga-Aub. ADs will deal with this in the spring meetings.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

What are your thoughts on Florida's non-conference schedule for 2013? Toledo is a solid team from the WAC with a rising young coach, and Miami and FSU are bitter rivals. Georgia Southern's intriguing because you seldom see the triple option outside of the service academies and Georgia Tech.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:24 PM)

Marlon -- Toledo is solid but UF shouldn't have a lot of trouble. UF should win in Miami, but it's a road game, most likely at night, and a somewhat young team with a lot of new starters on defense. They've played Georgia Southern before. Muschamp's defense should be disciplined enough to handle the option.

Mike (Atlanta)

Which offensive unit do you see making the largest leap this year?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:25 PM)

Mike -- Right now I'd say the OL. Better on the left side with Humphries and Garcia, although I thought James Wilson played solidly last year. More depth with addition of Moore, who I expect to eventually win the starting RT job. Should be a physical group.

David (Florida)

How are the early enrollees doing? Are any of them expected to get significant playing time next year?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:28 PM)

David -- Muschamp said he was impressed with them, especially in terms of their bodies. He said you could go out and watch them work out with veterans and you wouldn't be able to tell them apart. Two of the LBs -- Anzalone and McMillian -- could start. I expect Taylor, Cummings, Ivie, Moore and Robinson to play a lot. Rolin will miss spring as he continues to recover from ACL surgery, so he's a bit behind, but the Gators need help at LB so he may get on the field, too.

Drew (Florida)

Is this the year we finally get back on top of the SEC East? If not what are some of the key things you think are holding us back?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:30 PM)

Drew -- I'd still take Georgia right now to win the Eastern Division, mainly because of Aaron Murray. UF still has to figure out the mess at receiver and come up with some kind of rotation on the defensive line. Too many young guys may play there this season, and that's a concern. I also need to see how the LBs shake out. I don't worry about the secondary, though. Lots of talent there.

Dominique Wilson (Las Vegas, NV)

Do you think Demarcus Robinson or any of the WR commits can make an Amari Cooper type impact and also is Marcus Maye one of the better options at one of the starting safety positions?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:32 PM)

Dominique -- Of all the freshman WRs, Robinson is the most likely, but it's hard to do that. You have to be a special player like Julio Jones, Sammy Watkins, AJ Green. Robinson may be but he's got to prove that. Let's see what he looks like this weekend in the open practices. As for Maye, he's No. 2 on the depth chart behind Cody Riggs. He's bigger than Riggs, but Riggs has more experience.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

Hey Mike. What's the status of Jessamen Dunker heading into spring practices? Is it possible Muschamp dismisses him from the team?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:34 PM)

Marlon -- He's still suspended and won't be around the team. Muschamp is waiting for the case to be resolved before he makes his decision. I've heard that Dunker is not exactly the greatest teammate, and Muschamp may weigh that factor into his decision. Locker room chemistry is fragile and Muschamp may decide he doesn't need a headache.

Pope Francis (The Vatican)

What young receiver do you expect to emerge next season for the Gators? Also do you think having Joker Phillips as a receivers coach will have a noticeable impact?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:35 PM)

Pope -- It's hard to say because making an impact as a freshman WR is hard. I'd pick Robinson only because he's already on campus. But remember, the staff raved about Latroy Pittman last year and he ended up catching two passes. I think Phillips is a significant upgrade from Aubrey Hill as a coach and will help the unit be more productive.

Angel (NYC)

I know Morrison moved inside and has gained 11 pounds. DT also mentioned that Fowler looks great and is at 265 after being almost 280 last season. Any info on how other guys have progressed during the offseason weight program?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:38 PM)

Angel -- DJ Humphries is up almost 10 pounds, Matt Jones has added 13 pounds, Quinteze Williams has gained 25 pounds. The difference in their bodies after a full offseason in the conditioning program is significant.

Proud_Poppa (Indiana)

Have you heard anything as to why Kyle Christy is "limited" this Spring?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:40 PM)

Proud -- Muschamp said he's recovering from a shoulder surgery that he had done after the bowl game. He said he can punt all day long but won't be doing any live work. He's a big key to this team, especially if the offense struggles again. He bailed them out in the field position battle time and time again last year.

Juan (Miami)

With Quinton Dunbar the only returning WR or TE from UF's top six receiving leaders last year, who do you see as another receiver that could break out and become a deep threat or big name WR for the Gators? Could Andre Debose finally get over the injury big and go out in style by becoming a big receiving option for the Gators?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:42 PM)

Juan -- It took 25 questions, but we finally got one about Andre Debose. I knew one was coming. I'm not expecting anything more out of him than what he did last year. He's still not showing the consistency and work that the staff wants him to. As for a deep threat WR, it's hard to pick any of the freshmen because it's hard to make an impact at WR as a freshman. But I guess I'd take Demarcus Robinson (who is already enrolled) and Ahmad Fulwood as the most likely.

CP (CLW)

MD, Right now if you had to pick one of our boys to take the game winning shot who would it be? Honestly, I would have to go with Rosario but somehow Kenny always winds up with the ball making a dumb decision.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:44 PM)

CP -- We were talking about this the other day in the media room. I'd take either Rosario or Murphy. The problem with Murphy is that if it's a 3 you need, someone has to penetrate and dish because he can't create his own shot. Rosario would be the guy I'd take if you only need a two-point basket. He can drive and finish at the rim, which is something the Gators don't do enough of in late-game situations.

Brandon (Rushville IN)

will we target a second QB for the '14 class

Michael DiRocco
  (4:54 PM)

Brandon -- Only if Grier decommits. Otherwise UF is standing pat on signing just one. The class will be small (14-16) so they'd rather hit OL and other positions than add 2 QBs.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:56 PM)

OK everyone, that's it for today. Bugging out a few minutes early because I've got to head to a Muschamp media availability. After that, I'm going to drown my sorrows to forget that Wes Welker won't be back with the Patriots.