#20 Florida Football 2021 Preview

Florida Gators
Overall Rank: #20
#5 SEC
 Florida Logo
Florida reached the SEC Championship game and gave Alabama a run for their money. Overall, it was a successful campaign, but the Gators lost their last three games and now have to do some rebuilding. The Gators may take a step back in 2021, but Coach Dan Mullen should have his team staying competitive in the SEC.
2020 Record: 8-4, 8-2
2020 Bowl: Cotton Bowl vs. Oklahoma (L 20-55)
Coach: Dan Mullen (25-22 at Nevada, 25-22 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Dan Mullen
Defensive Coordinator: Todd Grantham
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Dameon Pierce, RB, 503 yards
Passing: Emory Jones, QB, 221 yards
Receiving: Jacob Copeland, WR, 435 yards
Tackles: Ventrell Miller, LB, 88       
Sacks: Zachary Carter, DL, 5.0
Interceptions: Kaiir Elan, CB, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Malik Davis, LB Mohamoud Diabate, LB Brenton Cox Jr, LB Khris Bogle
Key Losses: QB Kyle Trask, WR Kadarius Toney, TE Kyle Pitts, WR Trevon Grimes, DB Donovan Stiner
Florida led the nation in passing last year, but now must replace quarterback Kyle Trask, wide receivers Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes and tight end Kyle Pitts. Toney and Pitts were first round selections in the NFL Draft, while Trask went in the second round. Emory Jones is ready to take over under center and he will add a new dynamic to the offense with his ability to run the ball. Jones has been a backup for the last three seasons and has gotten a little bit of experience here and there. Last year he threw 32 passes, but also rushed for 217 yards. Speedster Jacob Copeland is the team’s top returning receiver and there is a lot of potential with players like Justin Shorter and Xzavier Henderson. The ground game was very much overshadowed by the potent passing game, but there is enough talent in the backfield for that to change. Dameon Pierce led the Gators with 503 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Malik Davis added 310 yards and Nay’Quan Wright totaled 213 yards on the ground and 219 more through the air. 
The Gators defense was very disappointing in 2020. Florida allowed nearly 31 points per game and it got even worse by the end of the season. Defensive lineman Zachary Carter leads a dominating front line that also includes Brenton Cox and a couple talented transfers. Ventrell Miller and Mohamoud Diabate are very talented linebackers and the front seven should be much improved. The secondary needs even more improvement and will have to rebuild around cornerback Kaiir Elam. The defense really cannot get any worse and the talent is there for dramatic improvement.
The Bottom Line:
Florida’s SEC opener comes against Alabama on September 18th. We will quickly learn where this Gators team stands. They may not beat the Crimson Tide, but Florida does need to show that the offense can survive without Trask and Toney and Pitts and that the defense can show some signs of life.
Projected Bowl:  Gator Bowl
2020 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 131.2 (96th in nation, 11th in conference)
Passing Offense: 378.6 (1, 1)
Total Offense: 509.8 (9, 3)
Scoring Offense: 39.8 (13, 2)
Rushing Defense: 170.5 (71, 10)
Pass Defense: 257.5 (100, 8)
Total Defense: 428.0 (83, 9)
Scoring Defense: 30.8 (74, 8)
Turnover Margin: -0.25 (81, 8)
Sacks: 2.92 (23, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 1.67 (32, 5)