MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The calendar hasn’t even flipped to August yet, but football season is definitely in the air across the Sunshine State.
The University of Miami Hurricanes holds their first fall practice of the year Friday after another tumultuous offseason. The Canes lost several players early to the NFL Draft, some unexpectedly, but filled in with an excellent recruiting class in coach Al Golden’s first full year recruiting.
But, the NCAA looms large over the Hurricanes to this day after last year’s Nevin Shapiro allegations and more recent allegations from Yahoo! Sports that similar problems continued under the current coaching staff.
Nevertheless, the Canes have high hopes this year and a lot of young talent to go around. It will be the first full offseason of work under Golden and if his coaching history continues, the Canes should be able to compete much better this season.
Elsewhere, SEC East powerhouse Florida will report on Thursday and hold its first full practice on Friday with the first full day in pads coming on August 6. Florida is looking to rebound after a disappointing season under first-year coach Will Muschamp.
The former Texas Longhorns assistant led the Gators to a 7-6 finish last season after former coach Urban Meyer left the cupboard pretty bare for Muschamp. The Gators are stacked on defense, which is Muschamp’s specialty, and got rid of the Charlie Weis experience after last season’s offensive mediocrity.
Offensively, the Gators need either Jacoby Brissett or Jeff Driskel to step up and take control of the offense. Brisett finished last season with 206 passing yards along with two touchdowns and four interceptions.
Driskel didn’t fare much better last season finishing with 148 passing yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions.
The Gators need just one to be ready to march through the rough and tumble SEC schedule this season. If they don’t, there are other quarterbacks on the roster and the Gators may have to rely on its defense and winning close games to survive in year two under Muschamp.