1 » The Florida Gators announced Tuesday that Ray Graves, a former head football coach and athletic director at the school who passed away in April at the age of 96, will be honored with a decal on the team’s helmets this season. The decal reads “RG: The Bull Gator,” referring to Graves’s nickname while he was coach of the Gators from 1960-69; he led Florida to a 70-3-4 (38-19-3 SEC) record with a 4-1 mark in bowl games and four top-20 national finishes. UF was Graves’s only head coaching job. He led Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Steve Spurrier and a future NFL Defensive Player of the Year, defensive end Jack Youngblood, while with the Gators. Graves was also Florida’s coach during the invention of Gatorade, and he remained UF’s athletic director until 1979 after serving in the role for 19 years.
The offensive issues facing the Florida Gators have been apparent for years, and the hire of head coach Jim McElwain, while also an effort to breathe new life into the program, was due in large part to his acumen on that side of the ball.
It should be no surprise then that the primary topic McElwain addressed all offseason has continued into game week: Will Florida be more efficient and effective on offense in 2015?
Despite suffering what was described as a serious knee injury during the Florida Gators‘ bowl game, senior linebacker Antonio Morrison‘s name appeared at the top of the team’s depth chart on Monday, and he was named a starter for Florida’s 2015 season opener against the New Mexico State Aggies.
Morrison, who has been non-contact in practice for the summer and fall after sitting out the spring while rehabilitating, is completely ready to go, according to head coach Jim McElwain, who cautioned that he may not see the field for a full compliment of plays.
Though things will undoubtedly change for the Florida Gators throughout the 2015 season, especially with players coming back from injury and suspension after Week 1, the team released its depth chart ahead of its season opener against the New Mexico State Aggies on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
The contest will be head coach Jim McElwain‘s first with the Gators, and it will all go down inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and air live on the SEC Network.
Here is Florida’s first official depth chart released in nearly nine months.
QB: 7 Will Grier OR 3 Treon Harris
RB: 21 Kelvin Taylor, 25 Jordan Scarlett OR 32 Jordan Cronkrite
TE: 83 Jake McGee, 80 C’yontai Lewis
WR: 11 Demarcus Robinson, 18 C.J. Worton
WR: 5 Ahmad Fulwood, 81 Antonio Callaway
WR: 4 Brandon Powell 89 Alvin Bailey
LT: 75 Mason Halter, 73 Martez Ivey
LG: 63 Trip Thurman, 52 Travaris Dorsey
C: 54 Cam Dillard, 64 Tyler Jordan
RG: 71 Antonio Riles, 77 Andrew Mike
RT: 70 David Sharpe, 74 Fred Johnson
With so much confidence in the defense and concern about the offense, little had been learned about Florida Gators football’s special teams unit as it prepared with the rest of the team to enter the 2015 season. For head coach Jim McElwain, who places a premium on special teams and said at the onset of his tenure that he would work closely with that unit, the returns appear to be positive with a week to go until the campaign begins.
Florida’s starters at kicker and punter have been known for quite some time with redshirt junior Austin Hardin and redshirt sophomore Johnny Townsend holding those positions, respectively.
Five-star freshman offensive tackle Martez Ivey, a gem from the Florida Gators‘ talented 2015 recruiting class and potential starter along the offensive line, will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee and be sidelined for team’s season opener on Saturday, Sept. 5 (and possibly longer).
Head coach Jim McElwain addressed Ivey’s injury at a post-practice media availability on Thursday. “He’ll be back,” McElwain said. “I don’t know how quickly … but it doesn’t appear to be a season-ending [injury] or anything like that.”
Orlando Sentinel recruiting writer Chris Hays spoke with Ivey’s coach at Apopka High School, James Delgado, who related that Ivey suffered a “slightly” torn meniscus in his left knee that could keep him out of action for 2-4 weeks (1-3 games seeing as the season opener is a week away).
Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain announced Thursday at a post-practice media availability that redshirt freshman Will Grier and sophomore Treon Harris will both play quarterback in the team’s season opener on Sept 5.
McElwain said he has not seen either signal caller distinguish himself in practice and wants to give them both a chance to shine under the lights on Saturday night, Sept 5.
While the focus to this point has been on who will line up under center (or in the shotgun) for the Florida Gators, head coach Jim McElwain has been harping on another position’s need for improvement in order to get his passing attack to resemble something that would help the Gators win football games.
Up until this week, McElwain has been highly critical of Florida’s wide receivers, noting that they were struggling with running crisp routes, being consistent (not just between practices but between plays) and completing the action that is most critical at their position – hauling in the football.
McElwain changed his tune a bit on Tuesday.