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The Florida Gators might have a great offense in 2017. Can 2016's just be competent?

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But the defense should still be good enough to compete in every game.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Check out the advanced-stats glossary here. Below, a unique review of last year's team, a unit-by-unit breakdown of this year's roster, the full 2016 schedule with win projections for each game, and more.

1. A black hole of quarterbacking

Head coach Jim McElwain took on a job that simultaneously had a low bar and a really high one.

The Gators are one of the most successful programs of the last 20 years, having three national titles with nine AP top-10 finishes. Among the four hires before McElwain were UF's two best coaches ever.

At the same time, the last hire didn't do particularly well. Will Muschamp recruited well and consistently fielded a great defense, but offense was an afterthought. Since Tim Tebow left after 2009, the Gators have only once ranked better than 57th in Off. S&P+; considering the recruiting rankings, that is unfathomable.

Still, the Gators were becoming interesting last year. During a 6-0 start, they were really bad at running the football, but redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier was rounding into form. He was incredible against Ole Miss (24-for-29, 271 yards, four touchdowns) and good enough against Missouri early and Tennessee late to assure six wins.

The next loss of Grier's career will be his first.

Unfortunately, he will suffer that loss (or not!) in a West Virginia uniform. He was suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs following the Missouri win, then elected to transfer. Embattled backup Treon Harris took over and did alright for a little while -- long enough to secure the SEC East title, anyway -- but the offense again collapsed down the stretch, scoring more than 20 points just once in the final six games and scoring a total of 24 in the last three.

Harris recently announced he was transferring, too. So after getting an exciting glimpse of Grier, Florida will start either Oregon State's 2014 backup, a part-time Purdue starter, or a true freshman. It will probably be the former -- sophomore and two-time transferee Luke Del Rio -- but I listed four because, well, Florida tends to start more than one QB per season. Due to injury, transfer and general ineffectiveness, the Gators have been drastically unstable under center.

The SEC East has dealt with an inferiority issue for a while. It has lost seven straight conference title games and hasn't had a collective winning record in the conference since 2008. Including the SEC Championship, it has gone 6-24 against West teams over the least two years.

The blame for this obviously goes beyond Florida; the Gators went 8-0 in the SEC's regular season in 2009, then 7-1 in 2012. Fellow 1990s power Tennessee hasn't managed a top-10 finish since 2001. Georgia has been up-and-down, South Carolina couldn't maintain its 2011-13 form, and Missouri is all over the place.

Still, East inferiority correlates pretty well with Florida falling from elite status. The East boasted a constant top-5 program, a stabilizing force to balance Georgia's and Tennessee's ups and downs. Now it does not.

The best-case scenario is that Del Rio not only secures the job but holds onto it. He might struggle at times, but if he can simply prove he's worthy of the job, Florida's future begins to look pretty exciting. The Gator offense is almost senior-free, with sophomores and a JUCO transfer leading the way at running back, sophomores and juniors at receiver, and sophomores and juniors on the line.

However the offense performs in 2016, it could improve in 2017 and again in 2018. And the defense doesn't really look like it plans on dropping off anytime soon. But we've seen this potential trajectory before, and it only lasted until the next quarterback implosion.

2015 Schedule & Results

Record: 10-4 | Adj. Record: 10-4 | Final F/+ Rk: 27 | Final S&P+ Rk: 18
Date Opponent Opp. F/+ Rk Score W-L Percentile
Performance
Win
Expectancy
vs. S&P+ Performance
vs. Vegas
5-Sep New Mexico State 118 61-13 W 96% 100% +27.0 +11.0
12-Sep East Carolina 73 31-24 W 81% 85% -4.9 -13.5
19-Sep at Kentucky 91 14-9 W 86% 96% +0.2 +2.0
26-Sep Tennessee 18 28-27 W 79% 64% +1.1 -0.5
3-Oct Ole Miss 5 38-10 W 99% 100% +36.5 +35.5
10-Oct at Missouri 75 21-3 W 84% 95% -5.6 +12.0
17-Oct at LSU 10 28-35 L 40% 6% -7.7 +2.5
31-Oct vs. Georgia 30 27-3 W 98% 100% +20.6 +21.0
7-Nov Vanderbilt 83 9-7 W 83% 93% -19.1 -19.0
14-Nov at South Carolina 88 24-14 W 82% 92% -5.7 +2.5
21-Nov Florida Atlantic 96 20-14 W 84% 93% -18.2 -25.0
28-Nov Florida State 12 2-27 L 21% 0% -26.2 -23.0
5-Dec vs. Alabama 1 15-29 L 27% 0% -1.7 +3.5
1-Jan vs. Michigan 8 7-41 L 27% 0% -27.8 -29.5

Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
S&P+ 30.1 57 15.7 6
Points Per Game 23.2 100 18.3 11

2. Strain, then collapse

I don't want to overstate Grier's early-season performance. He was incredible against Ole Miss and NMSU, but in four other games he managed a much more mediocre 120.7 passer rating. And even with those strong performances, UF's per-play yardage was average at best.

Still, the offense was promising enough to get out of the defense's way. The potential was clear. And then it wasn't.

  • First 6 games:
    Record: 6-0 | Average percentile performance: 88% (~top 15) | Performance vs. S&P+ projection: +9.1 PPG | Yards per play: UF 5.6, Opp 4.4 (+1.2)
  • Next 4 games:
    Record: 3-1 | Average percentile performance: 76% (~top 30) | Performance vs. S&P+ projection: -3.0 PPG | Yards per play: UF 5.3, Opp 4.5 (+0.8)
  • Last 4 games:
    Record: 1-3 | Average percentile performance: 40% (~top 75) | Performance vs. S&P+ projection: -18.5 PPG | Yards per play: Opp 5.1, UF 4.1 (-1.0)

Harris did his best. In his first two games succeeding Grier, Florida scored 55 points, and he threw for 426 yards with no interceptions. But there was no efficiency in the passing game (his completion rate was 15 points lower than Grier's), and that did too much damage even as Harris' mobile presence aided the run game.

The wheels were threatening to come off. Florida was a bit unlucky to beat Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and FAU by only a combined 18 points -- statistically, the Gators were far superior in these contests -- but the offense was still clearly laboring. Averaging 5.3 yards per play against South Carolina is bad; averaging 4.1 against FAU is horrific.

A banged-up defense was still strong enough to shut opponents down, but it was foreboding. And it wasn't exactly a surprise that when the competition picked back up, the Gators had no chance.

Offense

FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE
Raw Category Rk Opp. Adj. Category Rk
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 1.22 88 IsoPPP+ 104.7 51
EFFICIENCY Succ. Rt. 38.6% 100 Succ. Rt. + 107.5 36
FIELD POSITION Def. Avg. FP 26.2 4 Def. FP+ 24.7 5
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity 3.8 114 Redzone S&P+ 102.9 62
TURNOVERS EXPECTED 20.2 ACTUAL 17 -3.2
Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 112 47 36 51
RUSHING 113 69 47 78
PASSING 87 41 38 41
Standard Downs 47 22 66
Passing Downs 49 81 42
Q1 Rk 20 1st Down Rk 50
Q2 Rk 32 2nd Down Rk 48
Q3 Rk 100 3rd Down Rk 86
Q4 Rk 83

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2016 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2016
Year
Rivals 247 Comp. Comp Att Yards TD INT Comp
Rate
Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Treon Harris 119 235 1676 9 6 50.6% 31 11.7% 5.5
Will Grier 106 161 1204 10 3 65.8% 11 6.4% 6.7
Austin Appleby
(Purdue)
6'4, 240 Sr. 3 stars (5.5) 0.8604 119 207 1260 8 8 57.5% 11 5.0% 5.5
Luke Del Rio
(Oregon State)
6'1, 211 So. 3 stars (5.7) 0.8560 8 18 141 0 0 44.4% 0 0.0% 7.8
Feleipe Franks 6'6, 219 Fr. 4 stars (6.0) 0.9721








Kyle Trask 6'4, 238 Fr. 2 stars (5.3) 0.7984








3. No pressure, Del Rio ... just the weight of the program on your shoulders

Del Rio is certainly doing his best to allay concerns. He completed 10 of 11 passes for 176 yards in the spring game, and while that happened against the second-string defense, it was awfully impressive.

Del Rio is the son of Oakland Raiders head coach and former All-American linebacker Jack Del Rio; he seems to have all of the lives-in-the-film-room qualities we expect from the stereotypical son of a coach. If he can pick up where Grier left off, providing any sort of pass efficiency to deflect attention from the run game, then Doug Nussmeier's 2016 offense might have a chance of breaking the Off. S&P+ top 50.

Or at least, if QB is steady, Florida can move on to its next problem: youth. No returning running back has more than 181 career rushing yards, and the passing game must replace four of last year's top seven targets. Potentially the three most effective receiving options return, but inexperience is a massive concern.

Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2016
Year
Rivals 247 Comp. Rushes Yards TD Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Opp.
Opp.
Rate
Fumbles Fum.
Lost
Kelvin Taylor RB 259 1035 13 4.0 4.5 29.3% 0 0
Treon Harris QB 65 456 0 7.0 5.5 50.8% 4 3
Jordan Cronkrite RB 5'11, 204 So. 4 stars (5.8) 0.9020 44 157 3 3.6 2.8 34.1% 1 0
Jordan Scarlett RB 5'10, 213 So. 4 stars (5.8) 0.9442 34 181 1 5.3 7.5 35.3% 0 0
Will Grier QB 25 175 2 7.0 6.0 52.0% 3 1
Brandon Powell WR 5'9, 184 Jr. 4 stars (5.8) 0.8784 14 31 0 2.2 1.4 14.3% 2 0
Case Harrison RB 6'0, 188 Jr. NR NR 5 17 0 3.4 1.8 40.0% 0 0
Mark Herndon RB 5'9, 209 Sr. NR NR 4 12 0 3.0 4.9 25.0% 1 1
Mark Thompson RB 6'2, 237 Jr. 4 stars (5.9) 0.9315
Lamical Perine RB 5'11, 221 Fr. 4 stars (5.8) 0.8699







Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2016
Year
Rivals 247 Comp. Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Target
Rate
Yds/
Target
%SD Success
Rate
IsoPPP
Demarcus Robinson WR 76 48 522 63.2% 20.1% 6.9 61.8% 50.0% 1.23
Antonio Callaway WR 5'11, 197 So. 4 stars (5.8) 0.8869 74 35 678 47.3% 19.6% 9.2 58.1% 37.8% 2.20
Jake McGee TE 66 41 381 62.1% 17.5% 5.8 51.5% 47.0% 1.13
Brandon Powell SLOT 5'9, 184 Jr. 4 stars (5.8) 0.8784 45 29 390 64.4% 11.9% 8.7 53.3% 48.9% 1.70
DeAndre Goolsby TE 6'4, 244 Jr. 3 stars (5.7) 0.8656 24 17 277 70.8% 6.3% 11.5 87.5% 58.3% 1.85
Kelvin Taylor RB 24 17 150 70.8% 6.3% 6.3 50.0% 33.3% 1.69
Valdez Showers WR 13 6 64 46.2% 3.4% 4.9 38.5% 30.8% 1.33
Jordan Cronkrite RB 5'11, 204 So. 4 stars (5.8) 0.9020 9 6 89 66.7% 2.4% 9.9 88.9% 55.6% 1.66
C'yontai Lewis TE 6'4, 231 So. 3 stars (5.5) 0.8458 9 4 75 44.4% 2.4% 8.3 66.7% 33.3% 2.67
Ahmad Fulwood WR 6'4, 208 Sr. 4 stars (5.9) 0.9494 9 6 61 66.7% 2.4% 6.8 66.7% 44.4% 1.55
Chris Thompson WR 6'0, 170 Sr. 3 stars (5.6) 0.8544 8 5 48 62.5% 2.1% 6.0 75.0% 37.5% 1.70
C.J. Worton WR 6'0, 196 Jr. 3 stars (5.7) 0.8756 7 4 69 57.1% 1.9% 9.9 71.4% 57.1% 1.85
Kalif Jackson WR 6'4, 217 RSFr. 3 stars (5.5) 0.8514
Dre Massey SLOT 5'9, 180 Jr. 4 stars (5.8) 0.8834
Tyrie Cleveland WR 6'2, 196 Fr. 4 stars (5.9) 0.9801
Freddie Swain SLOT 6'0, 186 Fr. 4 stars (5.9) 0.9389
Josh Hammond WR 6'1, 186 Fr. 4 stars (5.9) 0.9274
Rick Wells WR 6'0, 206 Fr. 4 stars (5.8) 0.8727

4. An exciting unit (in 2017)

Jordan Scarlett and Jordan Cronkrite are four-star sophomores who got their feet wet in 2015; Scarlett showed some nice second-level speed and put on about 20 pounds in the offseason. They're joined by hulking four-star JUCO transfer Mark Thompson. Unless opponents are still able to load the box with defenders because of a lack of respect for the passing game, there appears to be a lot of potential. And unless Thompson has some ridiculous breakout year and goes pro, all three of these backs -- and every starting lineman -- will return in 2017.

It's the same story in the receiving corps. Seniors Ahmad Fulwood and Chris Thompson could end up playing a larger role, but they are the only players not scheduled to return next fall. Antonio Callaway (who's currently suspended) had some brilliant moments as a freshman last fall, catching five passes for 112 yards against Tennessee (including the thrilling 63-yard game winner in the final 90 seconds), then catching a combined six for 210 against LSU and Georgia. Juniors Brandon Powell and tight end DeAndre Goolsby, meanwhile, had a nice rapport with Grier before fading (33 combined catches in the first seven games, 13 in the last seven).

Among JUCO slot receiver Dre Massey and four-star freshmen Tyrie Cleveland, Freddie Swain, and Josh Hammond, perhaps one or two solid backup options could emerge. But if Callaway, Powell, and Goolsby can reestablish their midseason levels, the newcomers won't be counted on TOO much. And again, whatever level this unit establishes in 2016, it should exceed it in 2017.

Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs

LY/carry
Pass.
Downs

LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs

Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs

Sack Rt.
Team 100.2 2.72 3.34 34.5% 81.0% 19.4% 63.2 10.1% 11.4%
Rank 71 95 55 109 4 68 120 125 118
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2016
Year
Rivals 247 Comp. 2015 Starts Career Starts Honors/Notes
Mason Halter LT 13 46
Trip Thurman LG 14 24
David Sharpe LT 6'6, 357 Jr. 4 stars (5.8) 0.9434 13 13
Cameron Dillard C 6'4, 313 Jr. 3 stars (5.7) 0.8712 11 11
Martez Ivey LG 6'5, 305 So. 5 stars (6.1) 0.9990 8 8
Antonio Riles LG 6'4, 313 Jr. 3 stars (5.7) 0.8753 6 6
Tyler Jordan RG 6'4, 309 So. 3 stars (5.7) 0.8795 3 3
Fred Johnson RT 6'6, 311 So. 3 stars (5.5) 0.8330 2 2
Travaris Dorsey LG
0 0
Andrew Mike RT 6'6, 301 So. 3 stars (5.6) 0.8767 0 0
Kavaris Harkless LT 6'5, 310 So. 3 stars (5.6) 0.8491 0 0
Brandon Sandifer LG 6'3, 323 RSFr. 3 stars (5.5) 0.8600

Richerd Desir-Jones RG 6'4, 292 RSFr. 3 stars (5.5) 0.8382

Nick Buchanan RG 6'2, 301 RSFr. 3 stars (5.5) 0.8276

Jawaan Taylor LG 6'5, 340 Fr. 3 stars (5.5) 0.8453

Stone Forsythe RT 6'7, 329 Fr. 3 stars (5.6) 0.8437

5. Getting a push

All things considered, the line could have performed a lot worse last year. The Gators returned just one player with starting experience and had to lean heavily on Fordham graduate transfer Mason Halter. Thirty of 70 starts went to sophomores, and another 13 went to freshmen. So the simple fact that the run-blocking numbers didn't really regress was a moral victory.

After ranking 74th in Adj. Line Yards in 2014, UF ranked 71st in 2015. And while second-level opportunities were rare for Florida backs, that could have had as much to do with the backs. Florida was tremendous in short yardage and OK in preventing stuffs. And now six of the eight players who started at least one game last year are back.

Of course, pass protection was dreadful, among the worst in the country on both standard downs and passing downs. A lot of that had to do with Harris' tendency of holding onto the ball too long, but ... the sack rates were really bad, even for Grier. And now last year's left tackle (Halter) is gone.

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Defense

FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE
Raw Category Rk Opp. Adj. Category Rk
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 1.23 55 IsoPPP+ 125.7 9
EFFICIENCY Succ. Rt. 34.3% 10 Succ. Rt. + 120.0 8
FIELD POSITION Off. Avg. FP 32.4 21 Off. FP+ 33.6 8
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity 4.3 53 Redzone S&P+ 102.4 62
TURNOVERS EXPECTED 26.3 ACTUAL 25.0 -1.3
Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 8 6 8 9
RUSHING 25 6 20 15
PASSING 13 11 6 15
Standard Downs 28 29 32
Passing Downs 2 5 2
Q1 Rk 8 1st Down Rk 3
Q2 Rk 43 2nd Down Rk 12
Q3 Rk 2 3rd Down Rk 7
Q4 Rk 45

6. A new round of stars

It's a "depth vs. star power" situation, and the Gator defense will probably end up just fine. Probably.

Tackle Jonathan Bullard, end Alex McCalister, linebacker Antonio Morrison, safety Keanu Neal and corners Brian Poole and Vernon Hargreaves III -- just six players -- combined for 278 tackles, 46 tackles for loss (one fewer than Georgia Tech's entire defense), 18 sacks (more than 22 teams), 16 passes defensed, and three forced fumbles. That's a load of star power out the door.

But to put it lightly, Florida has a track record. Recruiting assures more present and future stars in the pipeline. Bullard's gone, but Joey Ivie and Caleb Brantley combined for 10.5 TFLs, and sophomores Khairi Clark and Taven Bryan have been waiting for an opportunity. McCallister is gone, but Bryan Cox and Cece Jefferson combined for 19 TFLs and seven sacks, and sophomore Justus Reed and Antonneous Clayton, the latest blue-chip freshman, could be ready to carve out a niche. Morrison is gone, but Alex Anzalone, injured for most of 2015, is back. Poole and Hargreaves are gone, but Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson are back.

Florida was deep enough to withstand a wave of injuries on the line and in the secondary and still play at a high level. That depth should withstand losses.

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs

LY/carry
Pass.
Downs

LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs

Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs

Sack Rt.
Team 113.2 2.58 2.68 37.6% 67.7% 23.9% 155.2 6.1% 13.2%
Rank 17 23 18 57 78 16 6 29 4
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2016
Year
Rivals 247 Comp. GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Jonathan Bullard DT 14 52.5 7.3% 17.5 6.5 0 2 0 0
Bryan Cox RUSH 6'3, 269 Sr. 3 stars (5.7) 0.8716 14 31.5 4.4% 10.5 3.5 0 1 2 1
Cece Jefferson DE 6'1, 261 So. 5 stars (6.1) 0.9951 14 23.5 3.3% 8.5 3.5 0 1 1 1
Joey Ivie NT 6'3, 301 Sr. 4 stars (5.8) 0.8814 10 20.0 2.8% 4.0 3.5 0 0 1 0
Alex McCalister RUSH 9 19.5 2.7% 9.5 6.5 0 1 1 2
Jordan Sherit DE 6'4, 254 Jr. 4 stars (5.8) 0.9063 13 19.5 2.7% 1.5 1.5 0 1 0 0
Caleb Brantley DT 6'2, 297 Jr. 4 stars (5.9) 0.9472 13 18.5 2.6% 6.5 3.0 0 0 0 0
Khairi Clark NT 6'2, 319 So. 4 stars (5.8) 0.9226 13 10.0 1.4% 1.0 1.0 0 1 0 0
Justus Reed DE 6'3, 241 So. 3 stars (5.5) 0.8476 9 8.0 1.1% 2.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
Taven Bryan DT 6'5, 293 So. 3 stars (5.6) 0.8657 12 6.5 0.9% 1.5 0.5 0 0 0 1
Keivonnis Davis DE 6'4, 241 So. 2 stars (5.4) 0.8395 4 3.5 0.5% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Thomas Holley DT
7 1.5 0.2% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Jabari Zuniga RUSH 6'3, 245 RSFr. 3 stars (5.5) 0.8604
Luke Ancrum NT 6'5, 262 RSFr. 2 stars (5.4) 0.8123
Antonneous Clayton DE 6'3, 220 Fr. 5 stars (6.1) 0.9821
Jordan Smith DE 6'5, 240 Fr. 3 stars (5.6) 0.8903
Jachai Polite DT 6'2, 271 Fr. 3 stars (5.6) 0.8538








Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2016
Year
Rivals 247 Comp. GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Antonio Morrison MLB 14 72.5 10.0% 12.0 2.5 0 1 1 0
Jarrad Davis WLB 6'2, 238 Sr. 3 stars (5.7) 0.8681 14 72.0 10.0% 11.0 3.5 1 4 1 0
Daniel McMillian SLB 6'1, 223 Sr. 4 stars (5.9) 0.9729 14 19.0 2.6% 0.0 0.0 0 2 1 0
Matt Rolin SLB 6'3, 221 Jr. 4 stars (5.8) 0.9320 3 9.5 1.3% 0.5 0.0 0 0 0 0
Jeremi Powell SLB
10 8.0 1.1% 1.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Alex Anzalone MLB 6'3, 241 Jr. 5 stars (6.1) 0.9734 2 4.0 0.6% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Anthony Harrell MLB 13 2.5 0.3% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Kylan Johnson SLB 6'1, 231 RSFr. 3 stars (5.6) 0.8371
Rayshad Jackson MLB 6'0, 226 RSFr. 2 stars (5.3) 0.8094
Jeremian Moon WLB 6'4, 218 Fr. 3 stars (5.7) 0.8963
David Reese MLB 6'0, 244 Fr. 3 stars (5.7) 0.8791
Vosean Joseph WLB 6'1, 226 Fr. 3 stars (5.6) 0.8590








7. You probably won't be able to run on Florida

Bullard and Morrison were particularly awesome against the run, providing the biggest push in Florida's No. 16 stuff rate ranking. The Gators didn't (and don't) have the biggest defensive line, which showed in short-yardage, but they were sixth overall in Rushing S&P+, and Bullard and Morrison had a huge role in that.

Still, Ivie and Clark are immense at the nose, and Brantley and Bryan are strong. And in Anzalone, Jarrad Davis (7.5 non-sack TFLs in 2015), and company, the linebacking corps appears experienced and fast. Again, there's a leap of faith here; we have to assume that Anzalone breaks through, that players like Bryan and Clark are ready for more responsibility, etc.

But Florida has ranked in the Def. S&P+ top 10 for seven of the last eight years, a span that includes multiple head coaches and coordinators.

Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2016
Year
Rivals 247 Comp. GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Keanu Neal FS 12 73.5 10.2% 3.5 2 1 1 1 0
Marcus Maye SS 6'0, 216 Sr. 4 stars (5.9) 0.9487 13 64.0 8.9% 1.5 0 2 6 5 0
Brian Poole CB 14 32.0 4.4% 3.5 0.5 0 10 0 0
Teez Tabor CB 6'0, 201 Jr. 5 stars (6.1) 0.9923 13 30.5 4.2% 4 1 4 14 0 0
Vernon Hargreaves III CB 13 28.0 3.9% 1 0 4 4 1 0
Quincy Wilson CB 6'1, 213 Jr. 4 stars (5.8) 0.8821 14 21.0 2.9% 0 0 2 5 0 0
Nick Washington FS 6'0, 197 Jr. 4 stars (5.8) 0.9183 14 19.5 2.7% 0.5 0 0 0 1 0
Marcell Harris SS 6'1, 211 Jr. 4 stars (6.0) 0.9636 12 16.5 2.3% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Duke Dawson NB 5'10, 208 Jr. 4 stars (5.8) 0.9191 14 7.5 1.0% 0 0 0 0 1 0
Chris Williamson CB 5'11, 191 So. 4 stars (5.8) 0.8761
Joseph Putu CB 6'2, 195 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 0.8356
Chauncey Gardner NB 5'11, 204 Fr. 4 stars (6.0) 0.9760
Jeawon Tyler FS 6'0, 187 Fr. 3 stars (5.6) 0.8868
McArthur Burnett CB 5'9, 174 Fr. 3 stars (5.5) 0.8709
Quincy Lenton SS 5'11, 202 Fr. 3 stars (5.6) 0.8616
C.J. McWilliams CB 5'11, 171 Fr. 3 stars (5.5) 0.8290








8. Turnover (and star power) in the back

If a problem emerges for Florida's defense in 2016, it will probably come from iffy depth in the secondary. Six players with at least 7.5 tackles return, and all of them are either juniors or seniors. And in Jalen Tabor and Marcus Maye, the Gators have at least a couple of proven entities. But in theory, they are just a couple of injuries away from playing newcomers.

That's a reach, though. This is going to be a really good defense. Again. Depth and experience should result in improvement on standard downs, and that should account for any sort of passing downs regression that might take place with new (and experienced) starters in the secondary.

Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2016
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Johnny Townsend 6'1, 211 Jr. 83 45.4 5 26 23 59.0%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2016
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB OOB TB%
Austin Hardin 44 64.2 29 2 65.9%
Jorge Powell 5'10, 177 So. 18 62.8 6 1 33.3%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2016
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Austin Hardin 24-27 4-10 40.0% 1-4 25.0%
Jorge Powell 5'10, 177 So. 10-11 2-3 66.7% 0-0 N/A
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2016
Year
Returns Avg. TD
Brandon Powell KR 5'9, 184 Jr. 24 21.3 0
Vernon Hargreaves III KR 4 20.5 0
Antonio Callaway PR 5'11, 197 So. 28 15.5 2
Vernon Hargreaves III PR 2 5.5 0
Category Rk
Special Teams S&P+ 97
Field Goal Efficiency 126
Punt Return Success Rate 71
Kick Return Success Rate 128
Punt Success Rate 3
Kickoff Success Rate 16

9. Great and terrible

To put it lightly, Florida's special teams unit was a mixed bag.

Johnny Townsend was spectacular, kickoffs and coverage were tremendous and the Gators had six punt returns of 20-plus yards, ninth in the country.

Also: they had fewer good kick returns than anybody in FBS, and while you want to hit at least 80 percent of your field goals under 40 yards, Florida hit a dreadful 46 percent.

Because of the importance of place-kicking in the Special Teams S&P+ equation, Florida ranked 97th despite the punts, kickoffs, and punt returns.

Townsend and Callaway are back, but Austin Hardin, the man responsible for the good kickoffs and bad field goals, transferred. So ... another mixed bag coming up, probably.

2016 Schedule & Projection Factors

2016 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. S&P+ Rk Proj. Margin Win Probability
3-Sep Massachusetts 127 35.1 98%
10-Sep Kentucky 83 20.4 88%
17-Sep North Texas 128 35.9 98%
24-Sep at Tennessee 9 -6.0 37%
1-Oct at Vanderbilt 69 9.2 70%
8-Oct LSU 2 -6.4 36%
15-Oct Missouri 47 12.9 77%
29-Oct vs. Georgia 15 -1.7 46%
5-Nov at Arkansas 17 -4.2 40%
12-Nov South Carolina 63 15.2 81%
19-Nov Presbyterian NR 47.8 100%
26-Nov at Florida State 5 -8.6 31%
Projected wins: 8.0
Five-Year F/+ Rk 26.1% (20)
2- and 5-Year Recruiting Rk 20 / 12
2015 TO Margin / Adj. TO Margin* 8 / 6.1
2015 TO Luck/Game +0.8
Returning Production (Off. / Def.) 61% (63%, 59%)
2015 Second-order wins (difference) 9.2 (0.8)

10. A 3-0 start, and then...

Florida will have a stellar defense and an offense too inexperienced to play at a high level. You could have basically written that sentence at any point in the last five years, and you'd have probably ended up right. It feels lazy to say it again in 2016, but ... here we are

The offense has potential, and fall camp optimism has the offense improving drastically and showing a lot of progress, but there's massive burden of proof here.

The good news is that the schedule allows for a breaking-in period. Per S&P+, the Gators have an 85 percent chance of starting the season 3-0, and easy wins, particularly over UMass and North Texas, should allow for a lot of guys to get involved offensively. Maybe that helps to light a spark.

But from a probabilities standpoint, the water gets a lot muddier, starting with the September 24 trip to Knoxville. Over the final nine games, the Gators are projected to win only 5.2 games and are projected underdogs in five. There are likely wins mixed in, with visits from Missouri, South Carolina, and Presbyterian, but the season will be defined by trickier games, most of which happen away from Gainesville.

McElwain answered a lot of questions over the first half of his first season in charge, then, for lack of a better term, un-answered them over the second half. He still has a pedigree that suggests success is coming, and both sides of the ball are loaded with potential young stars. But 2016 could be yet another transition year toward whatever Florida might become down the road.