Last week, after seeing that Robbie Andreu, who covers Florida football for the local paper, ranked the Gators’ backfield as the fifth-best in the SEC, I wondered where he’d place the receiving corps in comparison with its conference peers.
If you predicted in the upper half of the group, give yourself a cookie. He’s got the receivers at number seven. And that’s in the face of certain deficiencies glaring enough for him to take notice of:
The only consistent playmaker among the receivers last season was tight end Jordan Reed, and he’s gone, leaving the Gators without an obvious go-to guy heading into the 2013 season. It is doubtful that the tight end position will produce that guy. The Gators have plenty of options at the position, but the four returning tight ends have little experience and even less production on their resumes. Clay Burton, Kent Taylor and Tevin Westbrook combined to catch all of four passes last season, while freshman Colin Thompson redshirted after undergoing knee surgery. The playmakers in the passing game likely will have to come from the pool of wide receivers, but other than Dunbar, there’s not much past production here either. Andre Debose continues to be an enigma and is coming off a disappointing junior season in which he caught only three passes for 15 yards. Latroy Pittman showed great promise as a true freshman in the spring of 2012, but has not done much since to distinguish himself. Solomon Patton has been effective on end-arounds and jet sweeps, but he caught only one pass last season before breaking his arm in the Georgia game.
Florida is so thin at the position that it’s forced to use Loucheiz Purifoy on a two-way basis, but Andreu sees that as a plus.
All I can figure is that this is going to be an epically bad year for SEC passing stats.