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April 10, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Mike DiRocco

Michael DiRocco
  (4:04 PM)

Welcome everyone. Sorry for the bit of a late start but the news was just released that DL coach Bryant Young has resigned because of personal reasons. Let's get started with the chat.

Gary Poe (Ruston, LA)

Mike, what is the deal with Justin Thornton? He was ready to commit to Florida, but apparently Florida has backed off. From my talks with Thornton he said that grades were fine. Also how do you think our defensive tackle position look in reguards to talent and depth?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:08 PM)

Gary -- I know that UF is going after a bunch of defensive ends and Thornton is one of them. However, they like for out of state kids to come to their camp so they can evaluate them before offering. That could be a factor. As for the DT position, Bear Cummings had a good spring and that's a pleasant surprise. But moving Easley back inside says, to me anyway, that there's concern among the staff at DT. But with Easley, Orr, Cummings and Jacobs, UF has at least the start of a solid rotation. They'd like two more tackles to emerge, whether it's Ivie or Reed or Brantley.

Brandon (Rushville IN)

Do you see denzel ware joining our '14 class soon or are we looking at maybe some better options?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:10 PM)

Brandon -- He's a Florida lean, but it's so hard to predict what these kids might do. And yes, UF is looking at a lot of other ends (see my previous answer for one).

Gary Poe (Ruston, LA)

Mike, I know that we have a lot of talent at the linebacker position this spring, but they are all young. If the season started today, do you think that Florida could compete with an Alabama, LSU, or Georgia with the defensive tackles and linebackers that they currently have?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:12 PM)

Gary -- I think UF is just OK at defensive tackle. Easley is very good, but he's more of an end. Still, he's the best UF has. I feel more confident about the situation at linebacker after watching Daniel McMillian constantly be around the ball during the open practices. Morrison is a stud and will have no trouble at MLB. Either Powell or Fowler will play the SLB when the other is playing the buck, so I think UF is going to be pretty darn good at linebacker.

Mike (Atlanta)

Did you get the impression that Muschamp liked this style of Spring game over the more traditional scrimage?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:13 PM)

Mike -- I do get that impression, but I don't think he'll completely go away from a "game" format. He'll modify it a little bit so it's more of a scrimmage than a spring game. Probably a lot of situational stuff -- like third-and-4, red zone, stuff like that -- but without the drills that we had to suffer through last weekend.

Mike (Atlanta)

Do you Think Caleb Brantley sees significant playing time this year or do you think he needs a year to learn the playbook and adjust to college life?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:15 PM)

Mike -- Brantley will get every chance to earn a spot in the rotation. I don't think he'll get a ton of playing time. UF needs to find two out of him, Ivie and Reed to complete a six-man DT rotation.

Mike (Atlanta)

Is there any chance someone not named Phillips or Hardin wins the kicker spot come fall and is there a chance of having different kickers for kickoff and place kicking?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:16 PM)

Mike -- The only other kicker on the roster is Francisco Velez, so I'd be stunned if it wasn't either Hardin or Phillips. They were the only ones who went out to kick during the scrimmage portions last Saturday. As for different kickers, that's a possibility. I could see Hardin kicking off and Phillips kicking PATs and FGs.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

Does Chris Wilkes have any chance at winning the backup quarterback job this year? Or will he need to redshirt after taking 5 years off from football?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:17 PM)

Marlon -- Normally I'd say he would definitely redshirt, but the situation behind Driskel is so bad that I do think he'll have a chance of winning the job. It all depends on how quickly he picks up the offense.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

Had Gerald Christian stayed, do you think he could've been the answer to soften the blow of losing Jordan Reed at tight end?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:18 PM)

Marlon -- Good question. I really thought Christian was going to be a good player and was surprised when he left. However, I was really high on AC Leonard and thought he was going to be a star in the SEC.

Nathan Pearman (Dallas, Texas)

Any preliminary thoughts about how Bryant Young's resignation will affect coaching duties among the Florida staff? Will Florida hire a special teams coordinator since Brad Lawing obviously will cover Young's responsibilities?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:19 PM)

Nathan -- That seems like the most logical approach. I do know that whoever gets hired will be a very good recruiter. That's the most important thing.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

Hey Mike. In your opinion, which positions should Muschamp concentrate on for the recruiting class of 2014?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:21 PM)

Marlon -- UF still needs to address LB, OL, DL, FB and WR. I know they just signed 5 WRs but the position has been so bad for so long there's always help needed.

CP (CLW)

MD, Will this dang bball team finally get over the hump next year and reach a f4? Pat coming back was huge even though I think he has really underachieved at UF and it would have been dumb for him to go pro. I think the SEC will be better overall next year, especially Kenn and Tenn but with "Sky" Walker and Hill coming in and our transfers eligible do you see this team as one of the most talented Billy D has ever had?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:23 PM)

CP -- I don't see three NBA lottery picks on the roster, so I'd still say the 2006-07 title teams were the most talented. Now, as far as deep front courts, next year's group might be the best he's had. I agree that Pat needs more work. Needs to be a better rebounder and develop some kind of offensive game instead of relying on his hook shot all the time.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

Why hasn't Billy Donovan doesn't try to schedule games against Louisville each year. Basketball's a little different from football because you have more non-conference games to play. However, given the relationship between the two coaches, it would be nice to have a "friendly rivalry" for a change. Also, Louisville is one of the top programs every year since he's been at the helm. By the way, they should try to play one neutral site game at Providence for old time's sake.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:25 PM)

Marlon -- UF and Louisville have played before, but as far as it being a regular thing I don't see it. For one thing, I get the feeling that Billy doesn't really like playing against Pitino or any of the guys that he coached with (Donnie Jones, Anthony Grant, John Pelphrey). There's always so much attention to their relationship and it over-rides the game. Now in Donnie's case, it was a game at UCF to help the program and for Chandler to play in front of his hometown crowd.

seth (alabama)

Who do you think is going to start at safety?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:26 PM)

seth -- Cody Riggs and Jaylen Watkins will go into August as the starters. If none of the younger guys improves, then that should be the lineup for much of the season.

John (Gainesville)

You had some questions about Tyler Moore coming into the spring. Now that spring is over with do you believe that he has secured the starting spot over Chaz Green?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:27 PM)

John -- I believe he has.

Bill (Jax Beach)

Mike, How many scholarship does Muschamp have w/o attrition?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:30 PM)

Bill -- 11 seniors will graduate, but there are three players who could potentially leave early (Purifoy, Powell, Roberson).

Tony (Richmond, CA)

What will new commit Dalvin Cook bring to the Gator backfield? Is he more of scatback type of a guy?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:32 PM)

Tony -- Don't think so. He's a big kid (5-11, 187) and that's what Muschamp wants. Big, physical backs fit his system more so than smaller, shifty guys. He'll take one or two of those guys for a change of pace, but the majority of the RBs he lands will be physical, downhill runners.

Brian (Burlington, NC)

We sell our recruits on NFL HOF'er DL Coach Bryant Young this has to be a hard hit to our 2014 class even with Coach Brad, your thoughts?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:33 PM)

Brian -- I don't think it's going to make much of a difference, to be honest with you. Young wasn't a great recruiter. Lawing is and a heck of a coach, too. Players just want to know they can get to the NFL and most of them don't remember who Young was as a player anyway. Too young.

Jeff (Tampa, FL)

How many running back commitments will the Gators take in 2014?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:34 PM)

Jeff -- Right now they've got one and I expect them to add another.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

Does the NCAA not allow men's basketball teams to play NBA teams for preseason? If not, why would they allow major league spring training teams to play college teams as part of the preseason? For years, I've always wanted to see an NBA team and an NCAA team play preseason games.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:35 PM)

Marlon -- Never happen. Those baseball exhibitions were always the minor leaguers anyway. No way A-Rod was in the lineup. Way more risk of injury in hoops and NBA teams would decimate a college team anyway.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

How closely is AD Jeremy Foley monitoring the situation at Auburn and Muschamp's alleged role in it?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:36 PM)

Marlon -- He's certainly monitoring it, but the allegation took a huge blow now that the kid who made it accepted a plea deal on armed robbery. He doesn't have a lot of credibility right now.

CP (CLW)

Bryant Young stepping down? What in the world is going on? I looked for the D line to be the strength of our entire team next year, any reason this changes now?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:38 PM)

CP -- Still working on trying to get to the actual reason Young stepped down, but the bottom line is this kind of thing isn't as big a deal as fans often make it out to be. Young wasn't a good recruiter and the bottom line is it never made sense to me to have two guys coaching the DL.

seth (teston)

who do you think will be the number one overall recruit in the 2014 class?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:38 PM)

seth -- All I know is that the rankings will be released April 18.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Who do you think is the better overall prospect, Easley or Floyd?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:39 PM)

Tony -- I tend to think Floyd because he's freakishly quick and powerful. Not saying Easley isn't, but I think Floyd has more upside.

John (Gainesville)

In a recent chat you said you wanted to see Tyler Moore practice before saying whether or not he will take over for Chaz Green. It would be unfair to say that Moore is the starter now without Green being able to compete in practice but what is your thoughts after seeing Moore practice and based on what Green has done in years past?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:41 PM)

John -- All I know is that listening to Muschamp the other day and from other conversations I've had, the staff really likes Moore. Green has never been a dominating player. Moore dominated some days in practice. And that's after being out of football for a year. Moore and Green will battle in August and Moore will win the job.

Brian (Burlington, NC)

Is the new walk on QB better than what we have currently with our other two backups?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:43 PM)

Brian -- He hasn't played in five years, so that's a concern. But Murphy and Mornhinweg haven't been good so Chris Wilkes and Max Staver have a chance to win the job.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:43 PM)

Everyone -- I've got to take a quick break to file my Bryant Young story, but once I do that I'll come back on and finish answering questions. I'll answer every question even if we have to go to 6 p.m.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:56 PM)

OK, I'm back. Let's continue with the chat .....

Jeff (Tampa, FL)

Who would be the starting RB for the Gators if the season began today?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:58 PM)

John -- It's without question Matt Jones.

John (Gainesville)

Also has there been any more word on Jessamen Dunker? If not what is your personal thoughts on whether he will be on the team?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:58 PM)

John -- Nothing further. My gut feeling is that he's probably not going to be back.

Tony (Richmond, CA)

Will the Auburn investigation have any impact on Muschamp and the Florida program? Has his name been cleared of any wrongdoing?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:02 PM)

Tony -- There was never anything to clear him of. There was one allegation and there was no proof provided by the person making the allegation. And I'm not sure the NCAA will investigate anything anyway because the players cited in that article have all recanted or said they were not quoted accurately. Plus, the NCAA is a mess right now and any school that gets investigated for anything by the NCAA is going to immediately sue.

Brian (Burlington, NC)

Do you think Driskel with recievers is the passing QB we need to work this offense the way Pease would like to see it or is it just wait on Greer?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:03 PM)

Brian -- I think Driskel is just OK as a passer. The receivers aren't very good and that compounds the problem.

Sean (Gainesville, FL)

I really enjoyed seeing KT run so much during the Spring "game". Do you feel that he has moved into the backup role for Matt Jones or do you feel that Brown is stilly pushing for that #2 spot. Also, Demarcus Robinson looked pretty impressive with only one ankle, do you see him turning into a reliable target next fall after a productive summer workout plan?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:05 PM)

Sean -- I think Taylor will be the No. 2 RB provided he gets better in pass protection. As for Robinson: Please don't place any stock in anything you saw from him last Saturday. We heard how great Latroy Pittman was last spring and he ended up catching two passes last year. I think he's certainly talented but I am expecting nothing from him in 2013. In fact, I'm expecting nothing from any of the receivers because nobody has done anything in their careers to warrant that. That's probably a cynical answer but after watching the position for the last three years there's no reason to expect any additional production.

CP (CLW)

Only reason I think we make it a big deal sometimes is we, as fans, smell something else going on and I doubt the reason he is stepping down is to be with his family. Hopefully we won't expect any allegations to follow kinda like we did with Hill, even though that was more documented and already known.

Michael DiRocco
  (5:07 PM)

CP -- That's fair. However, Muschamp said in his statement that it wasn't an NCAA compliance issue. Personal reasons encompasses a wide range of things, so it could be anything.

johnny (florida)

who all do you think will be entering the draft next year? whether it be from declaring or graduation. who do you think will make a draft prospect from the team next year?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:09 PM)

johnny -- I think Purifoy, Roberson and Powell likely will declare for the draft if they have good seasons. As for the 11 seniors, Easley, Watkins, Halapio and Harrison are the ones who I think will be drafted.

John (Gainesville)

What is your thoughts on McMillan possibly taking the starting spot from Michael Taylor sometime this season? Not bashing Taylor who is a decent player but his coverage skills are questionable and Mcmillan seems to have all the traits.

Michael DiRocco
  (5:10 PM)

John -- I think that will happen by mid-season. You're right about Taylor. He is not great in coverage. McMillian was all over the place on Saturday and should have had an interception.

Andy N. (Jacksonville)

I always wondered about the Lawing hire when we already had Young coaching DL. Do you think CWM had an inkling of the Young resignation ahead off time? The Gators certainly seem in a good position to handle it with Lawing already on the staff.

Michael DiRocco
  (5:11 PM)

Andy -- That's a good question. I think Muschamp was probably thinking about that because it was unreasonable to expect Young to stay at UF for very long anyway. He wasn't making that much money and isn't a great recruiter. I think he'll end up somewhere in professional football.

Derrin (Plano, TX)

Are the Gators in good position to land Khairi Clark?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:13 PM)

Derrin -- He visited UF last weekend and UF needs help on the defensive line so there's a good chance.

Mike (Florida)

What should we expect out of our tight ends this year? Can Clay Burton being any sort of pass threat?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:15 PM)

Mike -- I wouldn't expect much. So far Burton has shown to be the best of the group right now, but the guy who should really be a factor and hasn't been is Kent Taylor. The staff isn't pleased with his strength and physicality so he's got to work on that in the summer. Reed caught 45 passes last season. I bet the four TEs combine for less than that.

Nick (Tampa Bay)

If the season started today who would be the defensive starting 11?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:21 PM)

Nick -- DE Bullard, NT Easley, DT Jacobs, Buck Fowler, SLB Ball, MLB Morrison, WLB Taylor, CB Purifoy, CB Roberson, S Watkins, S Riggs.

Rick (Florida)

Has Ronald Powell done anything in practice football related? Or is he still strictly rehabbing? And if so, how much can be expected of him come fall?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:22 PM)

Rick -- He has worked on the side with hand placement and hand fighting drills. He's still rehabbing. He is expected to be completely cleared for fall practice so I'd expect him in the starting lineup against Toledo. If he is playing at the same level he was before the injury then it's not unreasonable to expect 8 sacks next season.

Nick (Tampa)

Do you think the front 7 when the season starts will be Fowler-Easley-Jacbos-Bullard-Taylor-Morrison-Powell?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:23 PM)

Nick -- When the season starts I expect it to look like this: DE Bullard, NT Easley, DT Jacobs, Buck Powell, SLB Ball/Kitchens, MLB Morrison and WLB Taylor. By mid-season I expect McMillian to be starting over Taylor

Alex (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Mike -- Has Morrison locked up the Mike spot? And what about Maye? I had hopes he could step into a safety spot.

Michael DiRocco
  (5:24 PM)

Alex -- Morrison is definitely the staring MLB. Maye and the other safeties have struggled, particularly with communication issues, this spring. That's why Watkins and Riggs are the starters right now.

Michael DiRocco
  (5:25 PM)

OK everyone that's it for this week. Thank you for joining me and for putting up with my little breakaway to file the Bryant Young story. Let's do it again next week.