Florida football roster may be on its way to being churned as bad as 4-8 season

By Adam Silverstein
October 9, 2017
Florida football roster may be on its way to being churned as bad as 4-8 season
Football

Image Credit: ESPN Images

Disaster may be awaiting the Florida Gators over the final weeks of the 2017 season.

Let’s face it, Florida started this year in a hole. Beginning a campaign with 10 players suspended for your toughest season opener in decades is a downer, but the fact that nine of them — including your top returning wide receiver and running back — remain out indefinitely and may not return before year’s end is crushing.

Add in the Gators’ seemingly endless injury issues, and Year 3 under head coach Jim McElwain has the potential to fall off the rails the way Year 3 under Will Muschamp did in 2013.

Forget the early losses and Florida’s inability to put a consistent offense on the field as similarities for a moment. Let’s look at the Gators’ absentee situation after McElwain announced a rash of additional injuries to his team following Saturday’s game.

UF will be without most — and possibly all — of these players on Saturday when it hosts the Texas A&M Aggies at 7 p.m. ET.

DB Marcell Harris — starter: Tore his Achilles before the season.
WR Antonio Callaway — starter: One of nine players suspended for credit card fraud.
RB Jordan Scarlett — starter: Another of nine players suspended for credit card fraud.
QB Luke Del Rio — starter: Broke his collarbone in his first start of the season against Vanderbilt, out for the season.
DT Keivonnis Davis: One of nine players suspended for credit card fraud.

WR Tyrie Cleveland — starter: Replaced Callaway as No. 1 receiver, suffered high-ankle sprain in win over Vanderbilt.
DB Nick Washington — starter: One of two upperclassmen starting in the secondary, re-injured his hurt shoulder in loss to LSU.
DB Chauncey Gardner — starter: Hurt his ankle in loss to LSU.
LB Jeremiah Moon — starter: One of four legitimate players at a thin position, hurt in loss to LSU.
LG Brett Heggie — starter: Suffered a concussion in loss to LSU.
WR Kadarius Toney: Big-play threat and constant offensive presence, though not a starter in name, hurt in loss to LSU.

To sum it up, taking all injuries and suspensions into account, the Gators may be entering the middle of their schedule without four of their top five offensive playmakers, their most experienced quarterback, a starting offensive lineman, three secondary starters and a starting linebacker from a very thin unit.

Consider that when Florida went 4-8 in 2013, the Gators ended the season with 20 starters missing one or more games due to injury. Only five starters played every game. UF is not there yet, which is some positive news for the team and more importantly the players’ health.

But then again, it’s only the beginning of October. The 2013 Gators were 4-2 at this time that year and on their way to losing the final seven games of the season starting with a 17-6 loss to LSU. Florida is presently 3-2 (would likely have been 4-2 had it played a scheduled game against Northern Colorado) and just fell 17-16 to LSU. And unlike that 2013 team, UF does not have enough quality depth — specifically on defense — to combat some of these losses.

With the way the Gators are playing and the quality of their remaining opponents, anything more than a 3-3 split to finish the year would be a mild surprise. Georgia looks like one of the five best teams in the country, Texas A&M just put up a major fight against Alabama, and Florida State is still strong talent-wise despite the loss of its starting quarterback. Missouri is capable of scoring a ton of points, and South Carolina already beat Mizzou and Arkansas while putting up a fight against TAMU.

This week — both in the training facility and on the field Saturday — is going to be a turning point for Florida in 2017. Either the Gators get it together — health and quality of play — or things may fall off a cliff like they did for UF’s last embattled coach.

4 Comments

  1. Prophet Donald J Trump (PBUH) says:

    No sympathy. Bama doesn’t seem to have a problem in this area. UGA seems to be getting it done now too after only 2 seasons under Kirby Dumb. No excuses. We are tired of waiting for an inept offense to improve. The defense is hurt because their on the damn field so long. Get an offense and the rest will take care of itself. This isn’t the Fun-n-Gun where the defense was tapped out because the offense scored in 5 seconds!!

    • Gator 4 life says:

      man give it a rest,,you could not do better with what Mac has and injuries happen. Shut up and cheer or get a different team…GO GATORS no matter what….

      • Kauaigator says:

        Yeah man it’s not Mac’s fault Scarlett, Callaway and the others decided to become felons. Muschamp left Zero O-line. We’ve made huge strides in recruiting and we keep improving there. Frank’s was known to be extremely raw but he needs time under center. Could we call better plays and manage the clock a little better yes but I’m way more encouraged by what Macelwain is doing than what Muschamp was doing.

  2. M Palmer says:

    This Football Program is broke. For 3 yrs now total offensive collapse, while other programs around us at making progress. No excuses for this quarterback mess. Look at all the freshmen quarterbacks successfully playing. Obvious our offensive coaching staff is incompetent & continues to be that way. Yet nothing is done to correct this. Why ??? And now again, here comes the injuries….Same old stuff for 3 years now. Its embarrassing. UGA rises with a 2nd year Coach!!!!!
    Past time for the “powers” to do something. How much longer & lower do we have to Sink !!!!! Get ready for beat downs the rest of the season. I can’t watch this anymore. I feel for the players. We are all getting short changed !!!! Maybe no bowl game will wake people up. GO GATORS !!!!

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