Florida Football: 5 Reasons to Be Excited About the Gators in 2012

Cole Dolan@@ColeDolanCorrespondent IIIMay 7, 2012

Florida Football: 5 Reasons to Be Excited About the Gators in 2012

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    It was truly great to be a Florida Gator earlier this decade when the Gators won two national championships in three years and squeezed a Heisman Trophy winner in between.

    While it still is, and always will be, great to be a Florida Gator, the on-field performance has made it a little more difficult to be excited about the program.  While some teams wouldn't mind back-to-back seasons with bowl wins, posting 8-5 and 7-6 records just isn't acceptable in Gainesville.

    Will Muschamp has had a year to get his feet wet, and one of the top recruiting classes in the nation is enrolling this fall.

    A new page is turning in the Florida Gator program and there is plenty to be excited about!

The Defensive Line

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    The Florida Gators have had some great defensive lines during the last decade.  From Carlos Dunlap to Derrick Harvey, it has been the combination of speed and power that forces opposing quarterbacks to run for cover.

    Originally, with Ronald Powell, Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd all returning, the expectations for the unit in 2012 was off the charts.  That was before Powell suffered a torn ACL in spring practice.

    Powell is set to return sometime in October.  Meanwhile, talented incoming freshmen Dante Fowler, Jr. and Jonathan Bullard will have the opportunity to live up to their expectations.

    This is one of the most talented defensive lines in recent memory and the Gators should be able to create big plays along the front lines—especially when the Ronald Powell makes his return later in the season.

Andre Debose

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    Percy Harvin was a gift straight from heaven, and Andre Debose was touted to be the second coming.  While Debose hasn't proven to be the complete game-changer that Harvin was, he has given Gator fans the occasional game-changing play.

    The blame for not being a complete receiver doesn't fall entirely on Debose either.  The quarterbacks have struggled and the passing game has even been completely absent at times.

    With another year to make the transition from spread to pro style, and the extra time for Will Muschamp to address the physicality issues, the Gators offense should be hitting on a couple more cylinders come fall.

The Quarterback Play

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    According to Will Muschamp, the battle for the starting quarterback position is ongoing because neither Jeff Driskel nor Jacoby Brisset could distance themselves from the other.

    But let's face it.

    Whichever quarterback emerges as the starter in the fall will be more exciting than John Brantley.

    That's not a jab at Brantley, but a jab at the offensive system he was thrust into.

    The offense has since had more time to get set in the pro style, and a very physical recruiting class will be joining the team by fall.

    Plus, both quarterbacks had a couple of highlights even against SEC-best Alabama and LSU.

Will Muschamp

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    After one season, finishing with a 7-6 record, some Gator fans were already calling for Muschamp's head.

    Every fanbase has its fair share of stupid fans, doesn't it?

    Will Muschamp brings a passion to the Swamp that rivals some of greatest coaches of all time.  While the outward disgust or pleasure in success, Muschamp's emotion is only one aspect to his coaching arsenal.

    He has already proven his relentless work off the field will pay dividends.  Amidst coaching changes, Muschamp still managed to pull in a top-fve recruiting class.  He even stole a recruit from the Florida State Seminoles in the process.

    It can't get much sweeter than that.

Climbing to the Top

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    Call it what you want, but rebuilding or retooling after the Tim Tebow era was never going to be easy. 

    A new season provides new opportunities to end the rough ride and retake the reins of the SEC.  Alabama is off the schedule and the Gators get LSU at home.

    The most exciting SEC game for the Florida Gators may be the first one they play, in College Station, Texas.

    As of July 1, the Texas A&M Aggies will be a member of the SEC and Kyle Field will surely be rocking when the Gators come to visit on Sept. 8.

    The Florida Gators have the coaching and the talent to be seriously considered as a favorite coming out of the SEC East.

    That has got to excite any Florida Gator fan.