Expecting massive revelations on the first day of fall camp is a fool’s errand. That being said, it’s hard to characterize this news as anything less than encouraging.
On this day, Tate Ratledge, coming off a season-ending Lisfranc injury in the opener last season, was lined up as the starting right guard and Devin Willock was at left guard. The tackles were Broderick Jones and Warren McClendon and center was Sedrick Van Pran-Granger.
… Safety/nickel Tykee Smith practiced without limitations.
Smart’s been hedging his bets on the health of both Ratledge and Smith throughout the preseason. If they’re both capable of working their way through fall practice, that is a big deal.
Matt Hayes isn’t particularly impressed with this year’s version of the Florida Gators.
Florida’s best running back is a transfer portal signee from Louisiana.
Florida’s best offensive lineman is a transfer portal signee from Louisiana.
Florida’s best wide receiver is a transfer portal signee from Arizona State.
Stop me when you think this is a healthy SEC program.
That same source told me the first level of players — the starters on offense and defense — “can win games.” After that, “there are guys who shouldn’t even be (on the roster).”
… Florida likes to see itself as a top-10 program. Imagine Georgia or Ohio State or Clemson with Group of 5 school transfers as their best players at critical positions on the field.
Imagine those schools so void of talent at quarterback, the most important position on the field, their season will collapse if anything happens to the one player with talent (Anthony Richardson).
But it’s not just the offense. The front seven on defense has no players of impact, no one on the edge who can consistently disrupt a passing game and no one in the middle who can consistently blow up run games.
When the preseason All-SEC teams were announced in July after Media Days, Florida had 1 player on the first-team offense: guard O’Cyrus Torrence, the transfer from Louisiana. The Gators didn’t have another offensive player on the second or third teams.
Florida had 2 players overall on the first and second teams, including DE Brenton Cox on the second team. A school that likes to think of itself as a top-10 program, had 2 players among the 44 top players in the SEC — one who just transferred into the program.
Some very subtle shade being thrown in a westerly direction by Kirby Smart here($$):
“That’s the biggest thing is that everybody keeps bringing up, you know, ‘You won a national championship. Do you worry about complacency?’ Well, the guys who won it, they’re mostly in NFL camps,” Smart said. “So, there’s a lot of hungry guys on our team. I would be more concerned about complacency if you had, you know, I don’t know, 15 of 22 starters back, if you had 12 or 13 of 22 starters back.”
Then again, how could ‘Bama be complacent? After all, Metchie and Williams are gone.