Spring Football Begins For Defending National Champion Gators

Josh BassettCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2009

MIAMI - JANUARY 08:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators moves to pass the ball during the FedEx BCS National Championship Game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Dolphin Stadium on January 8, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

It's that time of year again.

It has been less than three months since the Gators beat Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game, but already I have begun to wither away.

Recruiting battles and signing day gave me a quick fix, but even that left me wanting more. September, to me, is like Christmas to an eight-year-old.

Lane Kiffin even made me more excited. I was starting to get bored of thrashing Tennessee, but this year's beat-down will be savored.

Yes, it is spring football.

There are several things that I will be looking for this spring.

Tim Tebow's Growth as a Passer

New QB coach Scot Loeffler will be counted on to make Tim Tebow, already considered to be one of the great players in college football history, into a more complete quarterback.

Loeffler will presumably help Tebow improve as a pocket passer and subsequently as an NFL prospect. The Gators' new QB coach has coached NFL quarterbacks Tom Brady, Chad Henne, Drew Henson, and John Navarre, all at Michigan.

Loeffler has already gone on record as to say that Tim Tebow will be an NFL quarterback.

Who Will Play Tackle?

Phil Trautwein and Jason Watkins are busy getting ready for the NFL Draft in April, leaving the tackle positions up for grabs.

Juniors Carl Johnson and Marcus Gilbert appear to be the front-runners, but don't count out sophomore Matt Patchan as a possibility if he can gain some weight.

Redshirt freshman David Young hasn't showed us anything due to injuries, so if he stays healthy we'll get to see what he has to offer. Early enrollee Jonotthan Harrison would also like to show off his abilities this spring.

Who Will Replace Percy Harvin (and Louis Murphy)?

As if that were even possible...

Andre Debose doesn't arrive in Gainesville until this summer, so for now the job will have to be done in committee like in the SEC Championship Game win against Alabama in which Harvin did not play.

David Nelson will look to break out this spring after having a promising close to the season. Riley Cooper also looks to become a go-to guy for Tebow.Look for transfer Carl Moore to fit more comfortably in the offense than last season.

Redshirt freshman Frankie Hammond Jr. could be the surprise of the spring. After sitting out last year, the speedster put on 20 lbs. of much needed muscle mass and could be a big contributor.

Also, look for sophomore Deonte Thompson to really come into his own and become a top contributor. How will Brandon James, Chris Rainey, and Jeff Demps be utilized in the passing game?

How Will the Offense Look After Losing Off. Coordinator Dan Mullen?

Mullen left for the head coaching job at Mississippi State (whatever man, it's your funeral). That means O-line coach Steve Addazio has been promoted to Offensive Coordinator, but overall, the offensive scheme should not change much since the offensive plays are called in a committee that includes Head Coach Urban Meyer, who obviously has the most influence.

All in all, I am very excited to see how this team evolves this year. We know what to expect from the defense, which returns all 11 starters and 21 of 22 from it's 2-deep.

Who will work their way to the starting lineup? Will Hill?

The offense is the big question of the spring, but with Tim Tebow at the helm, I am not terribly worried. I mean, the offense is returning seven of 11 starters, so they are in good shape.