When people reflect on the 2011 Florida football season a few adjectives might come to mind: mediocrity, disappointment, failure? But the 2012 squad is reloaded and rebuilt with new coaches, players and personnel who will adjust the attitude and culture of the football team. Coach Muschamp hired Brent Pease, the former offensive coordinator for Boise State as the new OC. A consensus great hire, Pease was also pursued by the likes of Nick Saban and Alabama. Whats more, Muschamp will also attempt to rebuild a dismal 2011 offense by bringing in a new offensive line and strength and conditioning coach. Jeff Dillman, the new weight room guru, was formerly the head of IMG Performance Institute's Physical Conditioning department and brings an "olympic style" weight regiment to Gainesville. This new routine, which has been complimented by Muschamp and Pease for adding weight to the players, has been used at IMG with fantastic results. Muschamp also hires Tim Davis from the University of Utah as the offensive line coach. Davis has also been with the Miami Dolphins and Alabama with Muschamp and Saban respectively.
The new football season may not be as anticipated as some due to the low expectations, but I firmly disagree with the initial analysis and believe the Florida football team can win some more games in 2012. It's well known that the Gators' strength of their football team is their defense. The defense returns 10 starters and has avoided devastating injury well this far into practices. Florida's toughest matches this year are LSU, UGA and South Carolina, all of which have great defenses and (with the exception of LSU) pretty good offenses. I believe the toughest matches come against the two latter opponents, but of course, evident by last years performance, both are beatable. I'm calling it now: the Gators will upset LSU in the swamp come Saturday October 10th. Both defenses are going to be top 5, and I believe the creativity and play-calling skill of Brent Pease(and the home field advantage) could put us over the top. Ultimately I predict a 9-10 win season for the Gators. The SEC East is up for grabs, though, as UGA will not play Alabama or LSU. Breakout players to watch for, in my opinion, include sophomore running back Mack Brown, freshman defensive ends Dante Fowler Jr. and Jonathan Bullard, defensive tackle Dominique Easley and cornerback Cody Riggs. These players, in my opinion will emerge as young leaders for the team in 2012 and in the future.