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Posts Tagged ‘Xavier Nixon’

No. 34: Florida

Florida’s depth chart at the end of last season featured 37 freshmen and sophomores, which tied the Gators with Tennessee for the most in the SEC. Will Muschamp played 51 first- and second-year players altogether, the second-highest total in program history; Urban Meyer played 55 such underclassmen in 2007. Florida had nine scholarship seniors on the roster, the program’s third-fewest since 1951. Entering the season, Florida’s 148 returning starts were the third-fewest in the SEC. The 37 returning starts on defense ranked last in the conference. These are your excuses for a seven-win season, the program’s lowest single-season total since 1989. But this is Florida, home of the Gators, home of the three national titles, home of feverish expectations – excuses have no place in Gainesville.

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    No. 30: Florida

    The thrill wasn’t quite gone, but the fire was. Urban Meyer could have remained Florida’s coach in perpetuity: that’s what a pair of national titles in three seasons will do for a coach’s job security. So what happened? Quite simply, Meyer couldn’t reconcile his love for the game — his burning desire to win, win, win — with the lack of energy that plagued his final season, an 8-5 finish that saw him as hands-off as he’d ever been in his sterling coaching career. Looking for the fire that drove Meyer to such early heights with the Gators, the program went for a coach with a seemingly limitless reserve of get-up-and-go. There’s a reason Will Muschamp’s coaching philosophy can be summed up in a single onomatopoeia: boom.

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      The 2011 Spring Alphabet

      I had grand plans of giving a series of storylines for each F.B.S. program heading into the spring, but after doing so for the A.C.C. I came to a few conclusions; one, no one was reading them; two, it didn’t make much sense, as by the time I got to the end — the Sun Belt — those teams would have closed their doors on the spring; three, doing 40 days of spring coverage prior to picking up the Countdown in early May was nonsensical; and four, the breakdowns called for more work than I was really prepared to do at this time of the year. So instead of going piece-by-piece throughout the country, I’ll just pick and choose as the days go by. For now, however, let’s break down the upcoming — at some stops in progress — spring practices as a child would: letter by letter.

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        The Countdown

        A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.