Last season Florida Gators fans were basically Florida Gators defense fans because the offense fell short of expectations so often. This upcoming season, head coach Dan Mullen hopes to change that. We can’t wait any longer. While Mullen is repairing the offense, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and defensive line coach Sal Sunseri are perfecting the defensive line. With Taven Bryan going to the NFL, there is a huge hole left to fill.
The coaches will do that by building up the line with recruits like 4-star weak-side defensive end Andrew Chatfield. Chatfield is quick on his feet despite his 6-1 and 221-pound build. Watching Chatfield’s reel, it’s easy to see that he has plenty of expertise in this position. He seems to know exactly what the quarterback is thinking and will be able to break through offensive lines just as easily as he would tie his shoe. Getting to the quarterback is like clockwork for this guy. If he doesn’t, you can bet he’s going to get his hands on the ball carrier as soon as he can. Chatfield looks like someone who isn’t satisfied unless he’s in on those big plays. That will be important for the success of the Gators’ defense this year. Motivated guys will make the machine work.
Strong-side defensive end Malik Langham, a 4-star himself, is also joining the Florida Gators squad this fall. Langham’s reel looks a lot like Chatfield’s. He looks like he has a need to be in on every big play. Standing at 6-5 and 269 pounds, this guy is a wall on the defense. He is able to easily manipulate offensive lines and get past those guys on the other side of the line with no problems. Lined up with any tight end, Langham should be able to stop the run with a combination of his quick thinking and quick feet.
Langham and Chatfield fit the mold for what Florida needed: young players who are motivated and want to fix this team. They are both perfect fits for Grantham’s plan, and Sunseri can make them great collegiate players. Along with several new additions at the safety position, this defense will be strong. If things keep looking up, the Gators’ defense could be back to its full potential again sometime very soon.
Andrew Chatfield has a shot at starting a few games. As long as he can be flexible, he should see some playing time. Playing at outside linebacker, he’s behind Cece Jefferson, a senior who was a 5-star recruit. He will most likely start the majority of the season, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chatfield get a shot at this position to prepare for the 2019 season.
Malik Langham will see playing time. Veteran Elijah Conliffe will start at defensive end, and Langham will get a shot at some point in the season. Zachary Carter, a 4-star redshirt freshman, will also see some playing time. This new defense is all about looking to and preparing for the future rather than just living in the now. These coaches have realized that getting freshman experience on that field is just as important as having your veteran stars out there because they won’t last forever.