College football pundit Phil Steele recently joined Steve Russell on WRUF in Gainesville, where he continued to tout the Florida Gators’ potential for a bounce back season. Widely considered one of the country’s most accurate prognosticators, Steele lists UF as his No. 2 most improved team for 2014 – even envisioning Florida notching double digit wins.
The reasoning behind Steele’s projection is based predominately on the Gators’ returning core of bluechip recruits, and another strong Will Muschamp defense.
When you look at the talent they’ve got on the defensive side of the ball, I think they’re going to look more like the team from the first half of . I rate them the No. 5 defense in the country coming into the season. You look at the defensive line, linebackers, DBs, all rank in my top units in the front of the magazine.
As for the offense, Steele foresees Jeff Driskel making significant strides under Kurt Roper. He even went as far as saying Roper will “look like a genius at the end of this year.” Considering Florida’s offense has been anemic in the Will Muschamp era, quarterbacks have underwhelmed and no skill players have really developed, Steele’s statement may not be that far off. Any sign of progress from the nadir that was 2013 should make Roper a sterling figure in Gainesville.
Of course, when discussing UF’s potential rebound, Steele tossed out the mention of injuries – an unfortunate necessity following last season’s attrition.
“As long as they stay healthy, which I think they will, they’re going to go from four wins to double-digit wins this year. And I consider them one of the three contenders in the East along with Georgia and South Carolina.”