Each year, we talk to SEC coaches who analyze the league without having their names assigned to the comments. This is the second in a two-part series, on the East Division. The West Division comments are here.
The teams are listed alphabetically.
Florida has won the East Division in each of the past two seasons with a pedestrian offense and average-at-best quarterback play.
You might give coach Jim McElwain credit for milking a lot out of his talent. Or you might say this:
“If you ranked Florida’s teams over the last 15 years,” one SEC coach said, “the last two would be in the bottom third, not the top third. They’re average. … Florida is an enigma. They’ve won without a quarterback.”
McElwain has figured out a way to win big games, whether it’s rallying from a two-touchdown deficit to beat Tennessee in 2015, upsetting LSU in Tiger Stadium last year or sweeping Georgia.
“Jim McElwain has done a great job,” one coach said. “He’s been to Atlanta the only two years he’s been at Florida.”
While Florida has won with defense the past two years, the Gators also have lost a lot of personnel to the NFL. Can they reload?
“They’ve lost a lot of good defensive players for a lot of years, and they’ve lost a lot of Will Muschamp’s good players,” one coach said. “It will be interesting to see Randy Shannon replace Geoff Collins (as defensive coordinator). Collins benefited from great defensive players Will recruited.”
A key this season could be quarterback play.
“I think Feleipe Franks has a chance to be a very good SEC quarterback,” one coach said. “But are they good enough in the offensive line to beat Florida State and win in Atlanta? Probably not.”
© 2016, gridironnow.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.