Jim McElwain’s second Spring season with the Florida football team is starting off with more questions than answers.
The Gators and McElwain are in a precarious situation following the announcement that both Treon Harris and Antonio Callaway are suspended with no timetable given for either of their returns.
So, on that note, here are five questions heading into Spring practice.
Who the hell is going to catch passes?
With Callaway away from the team, there is no wide receiver currently on the roster who can duplicate the production he had in his freshman season.
And with Brandon Powell still dealing with offseason foot surgery and not expected to be available for spring practices, the wide receiver position is thin. Not including tight ends, Florida’s leading returning receiver for the spring is C.J. Worton, who had 69 receiving yards last year, with 46 yards coming on one pass during the Southeastern Conference title game against Alabama.
Ahmad Fulwood and Alvin Bailey have had spotty contributions, but neither has had expanded roles in their careers.
"We need Ahmad to step up," McElwain said. "... You look at a guy like Bailey that needs to take some leadership role there and say it’s time to go."
JUCO transfer Dre Massey and freshmen Tyrie Cleveland, Freddie Swain and Josh Hammond are expected to contribute.
Who starts at quarterback?
The other main storyline with Harris suspended is the issue of who starts at quarterback.
Florida brought in Purdue transfer Austin Appleby during the offseason to join redshirt sophomore Luke Del Rio, while freshmen quarterbacks Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask have been on campus since January.
Franks was a highly-touted recruit at Wakulla High School, but he might be a candidate to redshirt so he can get some more seasoning. McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier might do the same with Trask, who wasn’t as highly recruited.
McElwain said Del Rio has a "leg up" on the competition simply because he’s been around the team longer.
Can Eddy Pineiro kick in games?
If you haven’t seen the videos Eddy Pineiro puts up on social media of him kicking, do yourself a favor and check them out.
There’s no question Pineiro will be the starting kicker once the season begins, and he’s an instant upgrade at the position. He has a lot of potential to go along with his strong leg, and McElwain said on a couple of occasions he’s never recruited a kicker as hard as he did for Pineiro.
But, he’s never kicked in a college game before. And with kicking in games comes pressure that cannot be duplicated on the practice field. We’ll see if Odell Kickem can live up to the hype.
Who replaces Jon Bullard’s production?
Jon Bullard was a man amongst boys last season.
Bullard was third in the SEC with 17.5 tackles for loss and was tied with Alex McCalister for the team lead with 6.5 sacks. He was also named to the All-SEC First Team, so replacing his production won’t be easy.
If there were one player with the potential to replace Bullard, it’s sophomore defensive end CeCe Jefferson. Jefferson had 3.5 sacks last season and was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team. He also had 5.5 tackles for loss in the last four games of the season, which was one more than Bullard.
How does UF deal with lack of depth in secondary?
Even with Vernon Hargreaves III and Keanu Neal foregoing their senior seasons and declaring for the NFL Draft, the Gators still have enough talent in the secondary to be one of the best in the nation.
However, after Jalen Tabor, Quincy Wilson and Marcus Maye, there are not a lot of proven commodities. Nick Washington, Duke Dawson and Marcell Harris have some playing time under their belt, but Florida can ill-afford to have any of those three get injured.
New defensive backs coach Torrian Gray will have his hands full trying to get the most out of freshmen Chauncey Gardner and McArthur Burnett, while hoping no one gets hurt.