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March 27, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike DiRocco

Brandon (Rushville IN)

With the injury bug sweeping across our o line will that have an impact with dunkers possible return to the team

Michael DiRocco
  (4:07 PM)

Brandon -- I don't think so. Muschamp is awaiting the case to go through the legal system before making a decision. If Dunker comes back it won't be until August anyway, and UF will already be getting some more OL in then.

Tyler (Tampa)

MD, how much weight has Antonio put on since the Sugar Bowl? Is he carrying it well? What weight do you expect him to play at this fall?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:09 PM)

Tyler -- He has added 13 pounds, and he looks like he's carrying it pretty well. I think he'll play in the 228-235 range. In the two practices I saw, it didn't look like the extra weight was slowing him down at all.

Ted (FL)

with all the injuries happening this spring should we be concerned about fall depth? Also is purifoy making improvements at WR we need all the help we can get

Michael DiRocco
  (4:11 PM)

Ted -- The injuries, to me, aren't anything more than what you'd normally get. The problem isn't that guys are getting hurt, it's that some guys are either out or limited as they continue to recover from offseason surgeries (Ian Silberman, Jon Halapio, Chaz Green, Matt Rolin). Even Anzalone should be back in the fall. The hamstring and groin pulls are normal, as is Max Garcia's sore back. Nothing seems to be serious. I think the depth will be OK in the fall provided Rolin and Anzalone are ready to come back.

Brian (GA)

what's going on with Dunker? Is Muschamp waiting for the police to end the investigation and how long will that take?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:13 PM)

Brian -- Yup, that's exactly what he's doing. As far as how long it will take, no one can answer that. The state attorney's office is still investigating, and some of the interviews were slowed because of spring break and witnesses were unavailable. I expect something within the next week to 10 days, but I could be wrong there.

CP (CLW)

MD, Have you heard any talk from our boys about FGCU getting all this hype? I know Billy usually trains these guys well with the media but I can't imagine how annoying it is for them to hear all these FGCU kids yapping up a storm on ESPN everyday this week.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:14 PM)

CP -- The hoops team is in Dallas and we haven't had any contact with the players, but I've seen nothing from them on Twitter except for Braxton Ogbueze's tweet asking Gators fans to retweet him to show that Gator Nation has the best fans. I'm sure Billy is using the attention FGCU is getting as motivation.

rayshun (cairo ga)

do you thank demarcus robinson will start? Everybody keep saying he one of the guys standing out him and quiton dunbar

Michael DiRocco
  (4:17 PM)

rayshun -- Actually, I've lowered my expectations for Robinson for the fall. He has suffered an ankle sprain and is in a walking boot, which limits him for the rest of the spring. That negates somewhat the advantage he had by enrolling early. Plus, I'd be wary of believing anything the coaches or players say about guys standing out. Last year they raved about Latroy Pittman and he caught 2 passes. Plus, Robinson looked lost the two days I saw practice.

CP (CLW)

I've never seen Billy try to show any coach/program up in all of my years watching Gators bball but in this particular game coming up late Fri if our boys are up big towards the end, which I hope they are, do you see him leaving the starters in to send a message?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:18 PM)

CP -- I don't think so. The most important thing in the NCAA Tourney is survive and advance. If the Gators win that game, that's all that matters. No other message needs to be sent.

Mike (Atlanta)

Is it an advantage or disadvantage to have 1 unit more dominant than the other in practice?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:20 PM)

Mike -- Interesting question. I think in general it's probably good for an offense to face a pretty good defense every day in practice because that helps them get better. I'm not sure the same is said for having a very good offense going against a subpar defense, only because there are so many offensive systems and it can vary wildly from one week to the next in what you'll face. There are some variations on defense, but they're all pretty much similar.

Brandon (Rushville IN)

Are their any recruits considering UF planing on announcing soon?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:22 PM)

Brandon -- UF will likely get some commits after the spring game (which always seems to happen), but in terms of major announcements that everyone is waiting on I think things will be quiet for a while.

rayshun (cairo ga)

Do you thank daniel mcmallian take michael taylor spot because michael taylor not a good cover lb

Michael DiRocco
  (4:24 PM)

rayshun -- Not right away, because McMillian and the rest of the early enrollees are still trying to absorb the system. But I think that will eventually be the case -- maybe late this season, even -- because you're right, Taylor is not good in coverage.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Do the Gators need to put FGCU away early in order to win? We know how the team has struggled at the end of games, and the closer the game, the more pressure builds on Florida. Your thoughts?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:26 PM)

Tony -- Any time you can get a big lead on a team early it's great -- provided you keep the pressure on. I think the key to this game is UF minimizing mistakes and breakdowns on defense. If the Gators play as well on defense as they have done for much of the season, they should win. FGCU is an athletic team but they also strike me as an undisciplined team. Those lobs and dunks are nice, but what can they do against one of the nation's top defensive teams? Can they run offense? Are they patient enough? I don't think they can get it done against UF's defense.

Mike (Atlanta)

Do you think that the loss of lineman is just bad luck or because of how physical practices are?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:29 PM)

Mike -- I don't think the practices are overly physical or are causing the injuries. Remember, three of the injured players on the OL are just coming off surgeries in the offseason: Halapio (shoulder), Green (ankle) and Silberman (shoulder). The only new injury is Thurman, and he's a backup who wasn't expected to play much. With those three limited or out, Dunker's suspension, and Thurman's injury, the Gators are thin. But when the fall rolls around, those three will be back, Dunker will possibly be back, and the Gators add four signees on the OL.

Jeff (Tampa, FL)

Who will be the next big commit for the football? Also, is Billy D looking at any late signees or he is focused exclusively on 2014 now?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:34 PM)

Jeff -- Hard to say on the football signee. Lot of guys in play, obviously. Billy would take another small forward or guard, but anyone he would add wouldn't be someone I'd expect to get on the floor any time soon. I think he's looking toward 2014 now.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

Hey Mike. CBS Sports had a tournament of the greatest teams ever, and Florida's back-to-back teams didn't get any respect. The 06 team lost in the second round, and the 07 team beat the 11 UConn team before losing in the second round. Yet, I saw one of the networks aired a special program about Duke's back-to-back. If winning back-to-back is so hard, why doesn't Florida get any respect or appreciation for their two consecutive titles?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:37 PM)

Marlon -- I don't know why those two teams didn't advance further in the mock tournament. But I'll say this: Those two teams were among the best college basketball teams I've seen in my lifetime. The thing that made those teams so good was that they could play any style you wanted. They could run, play half-court offense, grind-it-out defensively. They could play inside and outside. I'd take those teams against any other teams you could name, with the possible exception of some of those great UCLA teams.

Brian (NC)

Will we talk to Fergurson from ND about playing WR? I know we recruited him in 2011

Michael DiRocco
  (4:38 PM)

Brian -- I'm sure there's interest because of the Gators' need at WR.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

What happened with linebacker James Hearns? I know he was looking at Kentucky, but did he go JuCo or prep school? If so, will Florida look to recruit him if he gets his grades in order?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:42 PM)

Marlon -- He is likely headed to JUCO. I don't know about UF's interest. There were some ruffled feelings on both sides late in the process. I don't think Hearns would like to play at UF any longer. And if Morrison becomes the player he's projected to be, then the Gators won't miss Hearns.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Will Billy Donovan use the Sugar Bowl as motivation, and as an example, to his team about what can happen if you underestimate a hungry, lesser known opponent?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:43 PM)

Tony -- I don't think so. I think he'll just point to Georgetown. The players have a better grasp at that than the Sugar Bowl. I don't think UF will under-estimate this team, not with the amount of film the Gators are watching. If they get beat it will be because they didn't play well.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

Who were your most surprising and most disappointing players for Florida in 2012?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:46 PM)

Marlon -- My most surprising player was Josh Evans. He struggled in coverage and didn't always take the correct angle in pursuit/coverage. But he played his best football as a senior and really flourished under Muschamp. As for most disappointing, it probably was Xavier Nixon. He was inconsistent and got benched because of bad effort. I thought he would flourish under Tim Davis and Jeff Dillman and he didn't.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

How come Florida doesn't play Miami in basketball every year? I understand in football you have a limited number of non-conference games, but basketball has 14-15 non-conference games. Shane Larkin is a heck of a player, and I would like to see him play the Gators at the O-Dome.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:48 PM)

Marlon -- Part of the reason is scheduling. It would require a home-and-home deal. UF had been trying to beef up it's non-conference schedule, and let's face it, before this season Miami was not a team you got credit for playing. So playing a road game at Miami wasn't going to help the SOS or RPI. I know Billy wouldn't mind playing Miami because it would be good for basketball in the state.

Ron (ATL)

Mike-- do you see any measurable improvement with Driskell's poise, progressions and accuracy during the Spring vs last Fall? Any conversations with Pease on his improvement? Second, how seriously do in see Purifoy playing receiver this Fall and being a productive threat?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:51 PM)

Ron -- In the two open practices I saw, Driskel looked more comfortable and several times I watched him go through his reads and throw to his third or fourth option (which was generally a back on a dump-off). Pease says he has been pleased with Driskel's improvement in footwork, pocket awareness, and quicker release. As for Purifoy, I think he's going to end up spending a lot of time on offense because the receivers are still not much of a threat. He's got the size, speed and ball skills that none of the current receivers have. Until someone like Quinton Dunbar proves me wrong by doing it on the field, I'll stand by the statement that Purifoy is -- right now -- UF's best receiver.

Mike (Atlanta)

Are any of the offensive linemen that are restricted due to injury in danger of having a newer player take their position?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:52 PM)

Mike -- The one that should be concerned is RT Chaz Green. Tyler Moore has had a good spring (Muschamp says, anyway) and the staff really likes him. Moore has probably the favorite to be the starter in the fall and Green will have to win the job back.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

How does Kelvin Taylor's running style compare to his father's?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:53 PM)

Tony -- Very similar. The one area in which Kelvin is further along at this stage of his career is that he's already using the jump cut that Fred said he didn't really perfect until late in his college career. Plus, Fred told me that Kelvin is faster than he was at this point.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

When Florida and Florida State play each other, why do the Seminole players run on the field with a Gator head (esp. 2003, 2010, and 2011)? Florida doesn't wave a tomahawk after their wins. Plus, it seems as if FSU is trying to push their buttons by doing this.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:54 PM)

Marlon -- You got it. It's a chance to rub things in against a rival.

Brandon (Rushville IN)

I'm curious about dj humphries ive read that he has struggled some blocking bullard and fowler i dont know if that is a knock against him or we are seeing how good the two of them are

Michael DiRocco
  (4:55 PM)

Brandon -- I think it's more of a testament to how good Bullard and Fowler are. However, there is still a concern about Humphries' weight. He's up to 280 but he still needs to gain 20-30 more pounds to really hold up at the point of attack against bigger DEs like Fowler and Bullard.

CP (CLW)

MD, Any reason why Fraizer II hasn't really been shooting at all in the tourney? He in the dog house for some reason? Haven't seen him on the court that much and think he is one of our best pure shooters.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:56 PM)

CP -- Billy likes to go with his more trusted guys in the post-season. Frazier is probably feeling a bit overwhelmed in his first NCAA Tourney -- sort of being caught up in the moment. Plus, he's still not where he needs to be defensively and that's a factor.

James (Ga)

Who wins the receving jobs this year

Michael DiRocco
  (4:57 PM)

James -- My guess for the three starters right now would be Quinton Dunbar, Trey Burton, and Loucheiz Purifoy. Not exactly Reidel Anthony, Ike Hilliard and Jacquez Green is it?

Jeff (Tampa, FL)

What's your gut feeling on Patric Young returning for his senior season?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:59 PM)

Jeff -- I think it's 60-40 that he comes back. I know his parents really want him to get his degree. Plus, he's a borderline first round pick, and second-round picks don't automatically get guaranteed contracts.

Michael DiRocco
  (5:00 PM)

OK everyone, that's it for this week. Join me next week and we'll break down what to expect in the spring game.