Former Florida Gator and current SEC Network analyst Chris Doering joined “XL Primetime” from SEC Media Days to discuss a variety of topics surrounding his alma mater.
“I think Florida and LSU are very similar teams this year,” Doering told 1010XL. “Both of them coming off of probably exceeding expectation levels last year and both have a lot to be excited about this season.
“I think both are contenders in each of their divisions and, oh by the way, they have developed a pretty nasty rivalry between each other. So, it is kind of ironic that we started (SEC Media Days) with those two teams.”
Doering was asked about the early struggles of quarterback Feleipe Franks and also gave his opinion as to why Franks seemed to have turned the corner with his play at the end of last season.
“I think he was a victim of getting thrown in to soon as a freshman and took a lot of the wrath from the fans for the struggle of that team as a whole,” Doering said. “But the guy certainly has had nine lives. If you look back at the way things have worked out to allow him to work his way back up to the starter in the rotation.
“Had the Kyle Trask injury not prevented him from playing last year who knows what would have happened? I think things happen for a reason and I think Feleipe seems to be embracing not only this offense, but the role as the leader on this team.
“At spring practices when I was out there you see him working with the receivers and putting his arm around some of the young guys with the understanding that now he is not one of the underclassmen, he is one of the guys that they are counting on to bring not only production but guidance for the rest of the guys on the team.
“I also think he has a better comfort level in this offense now. He understands what his role is and he understands that he can be an effective runner which is going to open up opportunities for him to throw the football.”
Finally, Doering shared his thoughts on the high expectations that the Florida fan base has coming into the 2019 season.
“One of the things that Florida fans do really well, and this is not a negative toward the fan base that I consider myself to be a part of, they are not afraid to let themselves get their expectation levels out of whack,” Doering said. “I think that is one of the things that drove Coach (Steve) Spurrier out of Gainesville over a decade ago.
“Sometimes you are a victim of your own success. Dan Mullen winning 10 games when the previous staff only won four sets the bar pretty high for this upcoming season.
“They could be better on the field, but with the challenging schedule, adding Miami at the front, having to play Florida State at the end and drawing Auburn and LSU as your cross-divisional opponents, it’s going to be a challenge.
“Not to mention the resurgence of the East as a whole. I think Missouri is going to be really good. Kentucky despite losing a lot of talent is going to be good and we know what Georgia is going to bring.
“This is a tough schedule and if Florida can get to nine regular wins I think that would be a good sign of success and the continued trajectory of this program.”
The Gators will begin the 2019 season on Saturday night August, 24th taking on Miami at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreen1010XL)