Russell Report: SEC Challenges
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - We are just a few days into Gator football camp and already I can sense a change. As the season gets closer, fans begin to throw away pessimism they might have about their team and the rooting interest takes over. Of course, Florida can upset nationally ranked Utah in its opener. We can hang with Georgia! We’ll prove all the skeptics wrong, we’ll surprise people and we’ll get to the SEC Championship Game!
Well, hope springs eternal this time of year but you looked at what came out of SEC media days, and in other preseason prognostications it doesn’t look good on paper for Florida. The SEC media chose just one Gator offensive player out of the three teams on offense, that being offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence as a first-team selection. On defense, Florida had a second team selection in defensive end Brenton cox and third teamers in defensive back Trey Dean, defensive lineman Gervon Dexter and linebacker Ventrell Miller but that was it. To put it another way, of the top 78 players to make either first, second, or third team all SEC, including specialists, Florida had just five of them.
And the SEC media boys picked Florida to finish fourth in the SEC, that’s right, fourth, behind Georgia, Kentucky, and even Tennessee. Of course, what do we in the media know? Since 1992 the team the media picked to win the SEC Championship Game has only won it nine times so take these selections and picks with a big grain of salt. It’s plain to me however that the sec, from top to bottom, is better than it’s been in a long time because teams like South Carolina, Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Arkansas are much better. In other words, fewer cupcakes in the league where you know you’re going to get a win. But by the same token, is it far-fetched to think Florida can’t beat Kentucky at home and Tennessee on the road to start 2-0 in the SEC?
What all these predictions show is that most people think Florida has a ways to go to become a true factor in the league and nationally again. On paper, the gator starters are pretty good, but they lack quality depth at a lot of positions and that’s where coach Billy Napier has to go to work. On the recruiting trail. To get this program back to prominence. But in just a few days, we’ll finally get to see what a Napier-coached gator team looks like on the field of play, and there’s a chance to knock off a nationally ranked team in Utah right out of the gate. I’m Steve Russell, that’s the Russell Report!
RELATED: Russell Report: MLB Hall of Fame
Copyright 2022 WCJB. All rights reserved. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.