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18 Florida

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OPPOSING COACH'S TAKE

We went back and watched [graduate transfer quarterback] Malik Zaire [playing for Notre Dame] against Texas [in 2015] and then the game he got hurt in [against Virginia]. Zaire could give them an element that they didn't have with [departed QB Austin] Appleby: a guy who can make plays with his arm and his feet. He can make a difference. They still have a lot of speed on the perimeter. [ANTONIO] CALLAWAY [a 5'11", 197-pound junior] can always get open, and [at 6'2", 196] Tyrie Cleveland has some size and can run. They've got a good running back [5'10", 213-pound junior Jordan Scarlett], too. The kicker [junior Eddy Pineiro] has an explosive leg.

We'll have to see if the defense changes much with [first-year coordinator] Randy Shannon taking over for Geoff Collins. They might not be as deep as they were in the secondary—especially with [senior] safety [Marcell] Harris out for the year [with a torn right Achilles tendon]—but they're still going to make your quarterback throw the ball into tight windows. They also may be a little better at getting after the quarterback. Cece [Jefferson] might have been a little too small to play tackle [at 6'1", 261], but he can play at end. Jabari Zuniga [a 6'3", 245-pound sophomore DE] might be the best of the group.

OFFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % (55TH)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT (87TH)

COMPLETION % (59TH)

YARDS PER CARRY (106TH)

SACKS ALLOWED (71ST)

TURNOVERS LOST (90TH)

POINTS PER DRIVE (104TH)

YARDS PER PLAY (105TH)

DEFENSIVE RANKINGS (1 TO 128)

[The following text appears within an illustration. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual illustration.]

THIRD-DOWN CONVERSION % ALLOWED (22ND)

YARDS PER PASS ATTEMPT ALLOWED (7TH)

COMPLETION % ALLOWED (2ND)

YARDS PER CARRY ALLOWED (32ND)

SACKS (38TH)

TURNOVERS GAINED (32ND)

POINTS PER DRIVE ALLOWED (3RD)

YARDS PER PLAY ALLOWED (7TH)

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE RATING

50

The Gators will be underdogs in most of their big games, but a home tilt against LSU (10/7), a match with Michigan (9/2) in Texas and a visit from Florida State (11/25) give the Gators a path. A few upsets, an SEC East title and a conference crown would put them in playoff contention.

THE PLAYER TO KNOW

DAVID REESE, a 6-foot, 244-pound sophomore inside linebacker, is a big reason why Florida's defense should recover from losing eight NFL draftees. Reese proved capable while filling in for an injured teammate last November, handling the bulk of the pre-snap communications. He finished with 49 tackles, even though he didn't take on a full-time role until the ninth game. If fellow linebacker Vosean Joseph, defensive end Jabari Zuniga and cornerback Chauncey Gardner Jr., all sophomores, are as ready as Reese, new coordinator Randy Shannon and the rejuvenated defense can lead the Gators to a third consecutive SEC East title.