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

Michael DiRocco
  (4:04 PM)

Hello everyone. Sorry I'm a few minutes late. Let's get started talking Gators football as well as the all-time draft we did this week on our site.

Zach Moseley (Lubbock, TX)

Gators seem to have another talented team this year; however, the quarterback position concerns me. Great skill players, but can any of the QBs get it done?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:05 PM)

Zach -- I have a lot of confidence that Driskel can get it done. I have way way way more concerns about the receivers than I do Driskel. The WRs have been below average for the last three years. Driskel made progress and I think he'll be fine -- and maybe better than fine if he gets some help from the WRs.

Christian (Bedgood)

What's our chances with Ermon Lane & Quincy Wilson

Michael DiRocco
  (4:08 PM)

Christian -- I think very good with Lane. Not so much with Wilson, I believe.

Gary (new iberia, la)

Hey mike, I have some concern on driskels intelligence and his leadership. Many articles have said that driskel is not a very "vocal" guy but that could mean that he illustrates poor leadership skills. What's your take?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:09 PM)

Gary -- I have not heard any rumblings from anyone inside the program that there is concern about Driskel's leadership skills. In fact, I've heard the opposite -- that the team likes and respects him. As for his intelligence, same thing. Don't forget, he was working with a new offense last season so he was going to make mistakes. He has made a lot of strides and Brent Pease said he was very happy with the progress Jeff has made.

Gary (new iberia, la)

Mike what do you think about our linebacking corps future (the next 1-3) years? I really like the fact that we have McMillian,Anzalone, Rolin, and Morrison. I'm also high on jarran Davis. This level of talent gives me chills!

Michael DiRocco
  (4:11 PM)

Gary -- I think the group is very talented, and I'm really high on Morrison and McMillian. There are some concerns about this year because the group isn't proven and the upperclassmen like Kitchens and Ball are just guys, but the future does look very bright for 2014 and beyond.

john (florida)

When will the elite eleven air on t.v. and how did will grier do at the opening

Michael DiRocco
  (4:14 PM)

john -- It has already been on television but you should be able to find it on WatchESPN.com.

Tim (miami)

With his performance at the elite eleven will Grier rise in the espn 150 or do we have to wait to see how his high school senior season goes

Michael DiRocco
  (4:21 PM)

Tim -- He's already No. 53. But he did have a good showing at the Elite 11.

Mike (Atlanta)

I saw an article about the incoming freshmen selecting their numbers and saw Rod Johnson's name on that. Does that mean he made the NCAA clearinghouse requirements?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:22 PM)

Mike -- He still has not enrolled. Waiting to finish more classes, but the anticipation is that he'll enroll in August, so that's why he has a number.

Mike (Atlanta)

On same topic have not heard much from Chris Walker in hoops is there an update that you might be able to provide on his situation?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:22 PM)

Mike -- Talked to Billy today about that, and it's the same situation. Still has to finish some work and it has to go through the clearinghouse. It's unlikely that he's going to make it.

Mike (Atlanta)

How many points per game (average) do you think this offense has a realistic shot at?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:23 PM)

Mike -- If the passing game gets going, there's no reason UF can't average 30 points per game or more. But if it's the same kind of offense as last season, meaning the passing game is below average, then probably 25-28 points per game.

Joe (Miami)

What's the status of Alex Anzalone? Will he be able to play, or do you see a red shirt?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:24 PM)

Joe -- Anzalone is on track to be cleared for full contact in August. If he doesn't suffer any setbacks, then I anticipate him playing this year. UF needs help at LB and he's as talented as any of the freshmen.

Mike (Atlanta)

How many classes of Wr's do you think it will take for Florida to build the depth and stability that it once had at the position?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:25 PM)

Mike -- That's hard to say, because they're so far behind now. But let's say two of the receivers they signed this year turn out to be good players and they hit on at least one receiver in the next several classes. If that's the case, then the position should be in a good state by 2016. Could be faster, of course.

Micaiah : Spokane, Washington [via mobile]

Can Jeff Driskel get to the next level and be dominant like he was in highschool ?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:27 PM)

Mcaiah: I believe he has the talent to do that, but he needs help from the WRs. If they develop and there's a playmaker or two among the freshmen, then I believe he could be a 3,000-yard passer. His running ability is a wildcard that makes him more dangerous and I can see him also rushing for 500 yards as well.

Brandon (Rushville IN)

I don't know when ermon lane is going to decide his school of choice but do you think we get him when he does?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:27 PM)

Brandon -- I believe so. He did the Gator Chomp after a TD catch at The Opening so that's a very good sign for UF.

Ry (Long Beach, Yo)

Mikey Mike,What are your thoughts on this Manning Camp. In theory it sounds good, being the Mannings and all, but do they get some sound training? I mean, is it going to make a significant difference in our QB?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:29 PM)

Ry -- I think it's a good idea for any QB to attend the Manning camp if they can. It's several days of intense instruction. More importantly, it's several days of mental work as well. That's where Driskel will really benefit. He's got the physical tools needed to be an elite QB.

David (Ocmd)

Hey mike, what are your thoughts about our kickers going into the fall? Last I heard mushamp described them as "inconsistent"

Michael DiRocco
  (4:30 PM)

David -- Austin Hardin and Brad Phillips struggled in the spring and they'll compete for the job in August. It's not that they were inconsistent that was really troubling. It's that they were inconsistent with field goals that should be gimmees for college kickers -- 30-35 yard range. That's why there's so much concern.

Mari IL [via mobile]

I felt that out of every team that had a chance for a fantasy draft the Gators had the most current talent from the past couple decades to chose from do you see it that way

Michael DiRocco
  (4:31 PM)

Mari -- Without going over every team, I'd probably argue Alabama had more talent the past 20 years. But you may be right, because that takes us to 1993 and the Spurrier era was just getting rolling then. There was a lot of elite talent during the '90s and the 2006 signing class was a monster in terms of NFL talent, too.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

Hey Mike. I recently purchased the new NCAA 14 video game. Jeff Driskel is rated as an 89, Kyle Christy is listed at 93, Matt Jones is lrated as an 82, and Quinton Dunbar is listed at 82. What do you think about the ratings for the players? How would you rate each player on a scale from 1-100?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:36 PM)

Marlon -- Of all those players you listed, I'd rate Christy the highest. And I'd give him a 95 or higher. He was phenomenal last year and played a huge role in UF's 11-2 record. Field position was so important because of UF's offensive struggles and he dominated that area. As for Driskel, it's hard to rate him any higher because he's had no help at WR. Jones is unproven, although he had a fantastic spring and the coaching staff believes he's headed for a HUGE year. Dunbar's number seems high to me. He's inconsistent and doesn't have great hands. I'd probably put him in the 75 range.

Josh Howell (Leesburg,GA)

Mike, how are our TE's looking at this point?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:38 PM)

Josh -- Still a mystery. Clay Burton has been the best of the group and goes into August as the starter, but that isn't saying much. I think the staff was disappointed in Kent Taylor's performance in the spring. He needs to get stronger and tougher and be willing to mix it up as a blocker more. If they can get him to get tougher and stronger, he could be a real weapon because he's matchup problem. But the guy I think has a chance to be very good is Colin Thompson. He just needs to become a better receiver and more comfortable as a pass catcher.

Justin (Littlejohn)

Last year we had a talented quarterback, offensive line, and wide receivers but were never able to get our throwing game on par. How will the addition of Joker Phillips as WR coach improve our throwing game, seemed like our guys were never able to be open enough to give driskel an opportunity to show his full potential.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:40 PM)

Justin -- Spot on with your criticism of the WRs. I think Joker will make a big difference. The WRs were talking about the things he had been teaching them in the spring, things they never did before and how much more fundamentally sound they are now. That's good news. However, I still think the talent level is below average, although we'll have to see how the freshmen develop. But if Robinson and one or two other guys -- Fulwood, Bailey -- emerge, the passing game should be better than it was last season.

Josh Howell (Leesburg,GA)

Do you think that Matt Jones will rush for 1,000 yards this season?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:42 PM)

Josh -- No doubt in my mind. First of all, this is a run-first offense and he's going to get plenty of carries. Also, he had a fantastic spring and word is was pretty much unstoppable when the Gators went full-contact in drills. Obviously he's still got to prove himself, but don't be surprised if he betters Gillislee's season from a year ago.

Ry (Long Beach, Yo)

Mike,I know that people are saying things about our offense potentially being better, but come on, if we have to rely on freshman receivers.....isn't that a little putting the cart before the horse? Matt Jones, absolute beast, but the rest? Not so sure my mang.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:43 PM)

Ry -- You're right. If you're relying on freshmen WRs, things aren't good. I think the running game will be fine. The pass protection will be good, especially on the left side. But playmakers need to emerge or the offense will look exactly like it did last season -- only without Jordan Reed.

Sam (Washington, DC)

Mike, what are the Gators going to do at placekicker? I'm worried UF won't be able to get any long FGs this season?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:45 PM)

Sam -- Legitimate worry. Austin Hardin and Brad Phillips struggled with consistency in the spring in the range that should be gimmees for college kickers (30-35 yards). I think it's a competition that will go on throughout the season. Hardin has a big leg and could potentially be a long-range threat like Sturgis, but he has to improve.

Adam Young (Senoia, GA)

How do you see Matt Jones this season? Better/more productive than Gilly last season? And how much might Kelvin Taylor get the ball?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:46 PM)

Adam -- I think Jones will have a breakout season and will equal or better Gillislee's total from last season. I can see him up around 1,500 yards because he's going to get that much work. Taylor will probably get 50-75 carries. Less if he doesn't beat out Mack Brown at some point this season.

Christian (Jacksonville)

Is there anyone to look out for at FNL to commit ?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:47 PM)

Christian -- There's always going to be a commit or two coming out of FNL, but it's hard to speculate on who at this point. Sometimes a kid who was going to wait gets so caught up in the emotion and fun that he goes ahead and commits right then.

Ry (Long Beach, Yo)

How do you think Durkin transitions?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:48 PM)

Ry -- Pretty seamless, I believe. The defense isn't going to change and Muschamp will be heavily involved, as he was when Quinn was the coordinator.

Cory (Tampa)

Will the Florida defense continue to be able to shut people down like last year with big losses such as Elam, Bostic, Jenkins, and Floyd? Can Purifoy be as effective while also playing on offense?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:49 PM)

Cory -- I think UF's defense has a chance to be as good as it was last year, even with those losses. The secondary will be very good and UF should be able to rush the passer better than it has since 2009, which will make up for the questions at linebacker. As for Purifoy, I don't expect him to play as much on offense as other people do. He'll play mainly defense and should be fine.

Josh Howell (Albany,GA)

Mike, I heard a rumor that a lot of the players were not happy about Driskell being their starting QB, can you follow up on that or is it just a rumor. I hear that was why the WR core was bad last year because of this.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:50 PM)

Josh -- Well, the WRs were bad last year because they weren't that talented. Had nothing to do with Driskel. But you're right, there was a faction that wanted Brissett to be the starter. Dunbar was one of those guys. But that has been smoothed over, I've been told, now that there's no competition.

Adam Young (Senoia, GA)

How many touches will Kelvin Taylor realistically see?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:51 PM)

Adam -- I think he'll get 50-75 carries, pretty much what Jones got last year as a backup to Gillislee.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

Do you think Will Muschamp uses video games like NCAA Football franchise as a tool of recruiting or bonding with the players on the team? Wouldn't it be something if he went old school to show the current UF players "FS #30" from Georgia (Will Muschamp) from the Bill Walsh college football games from the early 90's on Sega.

Michael DiRocco
  (4:53 PM)

Marlon -- I think Muschammp would be completely lost with a video game controller in his hand. Remember the whole controversy when he didn't know what a padawan was? He should have known that. He's got young boys and 99 percent of young boys are into Star Wars. Plus, he's made a reference to atari, I believe, when talking about a video game with us one time. Might have been nintendo. But you get the idea. And if he's smart, he wouldn't play as those 90s Georgia teams because they were getting beat like a drum by those Florida receivers.

Mari IL [via mobile]

If driskell doesnt improve this year do they let him ride it out next year or start over and does Muschamp blame himself for not letting brissett stay the signal caller imo he is more quicker and smarter than jeff

Michael DiRocco
  (4:54 PM)

Mari -- I think Driskel will improve, but he may not be able to show it because the WRs are a problem. Muschamp would have been fine with Brissett staying, but it was Brissett's decision to leave for NC State. I think Driskel was the right pick as the starter. I think UF wants him to be the starter next year, too, and let Grier redshirt and develop.

Z gator (Gainesville, Fla)

Do you think we have a realistic shot with Lorenzo Carter?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:56 PM)

Z gator -- Absolutely. He recently said UF was on par with Bama and Georgia and will take an official visit.

Ry (Long Beach, Yo)

So, it is clear our secondary is going to be stout. Which is going to be awesome. But....do you think our LB's will be able to stick it enough? And what about Anzalone, is he the next coming of James Bates, or is there another Gator LB that he looks more like?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:58 PM)

Ry -- I love McMillian. He's going to take over as the starter at WLB by the middle of the season and he's going to be a star. He's got great instincts and is a smart, physical player. The thinking is that Anzalone develops into a Clay Matthews type player -- a very good pass-rushing LB. I don't think Bates was a good pass rusher, but I don't think there's another LB who would be someone to compare Anzalone to.

Ryan (Live Oak)

Mike, Hargreaves III hasn't had the advantage of the early enrollees. However everyone raves he has the ability to play right away. What percentage do you think he has to play right away?

Michael DiRocco
  (4:59 PM)

Ryan -- There's no doubt in my mind he plays a ton on special teams and gets some significant playing time on defense. If it turns out that Purifoy has to spend a lot of time on offense, don't be surprised if Hargreaves ends up starting in his place. He's a freakishly talented kid.

Trent Gibson (Tally)

How do you feel about fsu qb do you think is all that like they have been saying

Michael DiRocco
  (5:00 PM)

Trent -- I haven't seen him play or practice, but the guys that cover FSU say he looks like the real deal. He's a Charlie Ward clone. He just needs experience. But you never know how guys develop.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What Florida Gators were Selected in the 2013 NFL Draft?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:01 PM)

Chris -- Sharrif Floyd, Matt Elam, Jon Bostic, Jordan Reed, Jelani Jenkins, Mike Gillislee, Caleb Sturgis and Josh Evans,

Ry (Long Beach, Yo)

Have you seen or heard anything about this new kid at QB, the one that came from baseball? Seems like he has good size, but can he chuck it accurately?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:02 PM)

Ry -- Haven't seen Chris Wilkes throw, but I think he's an insurance plan in case UF has to play another QB this year if Driskel were to get hurt. Murphy and Mornhinweg have not inspired confidence.

Sarah (Tampa)

What's your take on Florida fans bashing Meyer over the Hernandezmurder? How about holding the parents more accountable rather than a football coach who had him 3 years. Where's the Bellichick bashing?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:04 PM)

Sarah -- I think it's ludicrous that Meyer is getting heat for anything that Hernandez has done since he left UF. To say that if Meyer had been a tougher disciplinarian then Hernandez wouldn't have allegedly murdered three people is short-sighted and lazy. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Everyone is responsible for their own actions and they know what's right and wrong.

Marlon (Birmingham, AL)

I looked at an episode of Miami Vice. Crockett had a pet gator named Elvis who was retired by UF for biting a Georgia safety in Jacksonville. I laughed and have been looking at this show ever since.I think Florida should build a swamp in "The Swamp" full of alligators behind the opponent's bench to intimidate them with Gators on field and off field. What are your thoughts on this?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:06 PM)

Marlon -- Back in the day, there was a live alligator at UF. I don't think that would fly now, though. Too much risk of some stupid kid poking a Gator and getting bitten. I know LSU has Mike the Tiger, but keeping a tiger is a lot easier (and cleaner) than keeping Gators. But it would certainly be intimidating if there was a 14-footer sitting on a hill right behind the opponent's bench. Les Miles would probably try to ride it -- and would manage to do it without getting hurt.

chris (jacksonville)

Do you see Chris Wilkes competing for the backup qb spot. Possibly as #2

Michael DiRocco
  (5:07 PM)

Chris -- I do. I think UF wants him to win that job because Murphy and Mornhinweg have not been good at all.

Josh Smith (Atlanta)

Predicted score in Miami on Sept 7?

Michael DiRocco
  (5:07 PM)

Josh -- I think UF wins that game 21-17.

Michael DiRocco
  (5:07 PM)

OK everyone, that's it for this week. We'll chat again next week when I get from SEC media days. Should have a lot of stuff to talk about.