Here are my 5 things I'm most excited about driving up to the Swamp to see:
1. Jordan Scarlett.
I was soooo pumped when we signed this young man. You guys don't even know what a surprise that was to me - I was genuinely thinking we had no chance and that he'd end up in Tallahassee when he took that last visit there. Either that or UM. I simply LOVE this kid's game at RB and think he has the ideal physique to be the big time rusher we've been waiting on for so long. I'm also one of the Gator fans who has never been sold on Kelvin Taylor. I think he's highly overrated and will never be an elite back. I think there are a few others on here who aren't big Taylor fans, either, so I'm not alone, but I know we're probably a minority within the rest of Gator Nation. I would love to see Scarlett (and Cronkrite, for that matter) take a large chunk of carries away from Taylor and, eventually, displace him outright. I hope he gets more than just a few touches in the opener or I will be disappointed.
2. Antonio Callaway
I think this is our next elite WR. We haven't had one of those in a while, either, but this kid could change that. I've watched a lot of tape on him and he just has that look and feel. The fact that he came in and dominated camp from Day 1 also speaks volumes. Really excited to see some deep balls launched his way. I predict he gets behind the NMSU defense at least once for a long touchdown Saturday.
3. Jake McGee and Cyontai Lewis working in McElwain's TE-friendly scheme
We all know what a weapon TE can be. We've seen some great TE performances at UF - Ben Troupe, Aaron Hernandez come to mind. McElwain knows how to utilize the position and should have some great pieces to work with in McGee and Lewis, who made a strong push during camp. Very excited to watch Mac burn the opposing D with the TE's. I think there will be at least 1 TD by a TE in this game.
4. Will Grier
As Pat Dooley suggested in his podcast, maybe he is the type of player who takes it to another level when the bright lights come on? I think we're all curious to see how he handles the pressure now that he's officially arrived on the big stage, but I will admit that it's kind of odd that I'm less excited about the Grier/Harris performances than I am seeing Scarlett, Callaway, McGee, etc.
5. O line tendencies
I'm not sure how much we'll be able to discern about the O line in this particular game, but I think most of us will still be keeping a close eye on them. Hopefully they can generate a consistent push, keep our QB's upright, and, obviously, avoid any injuries. I think it goes without saying that if we struggle on the line in this game, we could be in for a long year.
So, there you have it. I think it's telling that my top 5 most anticipated things are all on the offensive side of the ball. Our defense should be outstanding this year and we've certainly got some elite players like VH3, Bullard, etc., but I find myself taking them more for granted this year. Maybe it's because defense was such a mainstay under Muschamp. I'm just hungrier for glimpses of offensive excellence and sparks this year.
Anyone feel the same way? What are your most anticipated things heading into the opener?