The Florida Gators are entering a soft reboot on offense. Could the offense falling behind strengthen or weaken the defensive unit?
2020 Florida Gators SEC Defensive Rankings
- 9th in yards per game (428)
- 8th in points per game (30.8)
- 8th in passing yards per game (257.5)
- 10th in rushing yards per game (170.5)
This may be a make-or-break season for the Florida Gators defense.
Following a 2020 season that was lead by a historically great offense, the Gators lost eight players to the NFL Draft, three on the defensive side of the ball. Losing that talent and consistency will hurt the Gators’ pursuit of an SEC East championship.
And then there is defensive coordinator Todd Grantham.
There may be no hotter seat than Grantham’s entering 2021. The 55-20 Cotton Bowl loss to Oklahoma was the presumptive final straw for him in Gainesville, Florida, but he is still employed by the Gators.
He has been buoyed by top recruiting classes and offensive performance. The defense has held the Gators back in recent memory and once that is realized, Grantham will be the first to go.
The reason Florida still appears on this list is the overall talent the unit has.
Players like sophomore defensive back Kaiir Elam, redshirt sophomore linebacker Brenton Cox Jr., and redshirt junior defensive tackle Zachary Carter are all explosive and versatile talents. If those three alone progress, they could be All-SEC selections at the end of the season.
Outside the returning linebacker corps, there is a lot of turnover on the defensive line and in the secondary. Grantham may well be the reason the Gators are not regarded higher for their defensive possibilities. Look for desperate playcalling and player performance to be a real wild card in the 2021 season.