UF features young roster but still older than FSU

The bumper sticker “Old Guys Rule” is generally true in college football. Week in and week out a young Seminole team has given up years of experience to opponents. Saturday, against the University of Florida, the Seminoles will face another more-experienced opponent in Gainesville.

Of the 117 players (includes walk-ons) listed on the Seminoles’ roster at the beginning of the season, 81.2 percent are freshmen and sophomores.

So how do the depth charts released this week by Florida State and Florida compare?

Florida’s roster is older with 60 percent of its roster listed as freshmen and sophomores.

There’s a more significant discrepancy when you look at each team’s two-deep roster. 

Sixty nine percent of FSU’s two deep roster is the freshmen or sophomore class, compared to 28.57 percent of the players listed on Florida’s two deep chart. When you look deeper, just at starters, 78 percent of the Seminoles’ roster is freshmen or sophomores compared to just 24 percent of Gators’ starters.

                                                      Florida                                                          Florida State

                                    Starters                    Full Depth               Starters                Full Depth

Offense                    2 of 11                      11 of 23                      7 of 12                     15 of 26

Defense                    3 of 11                      12 of 25                    11 of 12                     22 of 29

Special teams         2 of  7                        5 of  15                        7 of 8    12 of 16

Total                          7 of 29                      28 of 63                    25 of 32                    49 of 71

                                    24.14                         .444                           .781                           .690   

Experience in the Swamp

The last time Florida played Florida State the Gators prevailed 40-23. It was UF’s first win over FSU in Gainesville since 2009. Mike Norvell wasn’t on the Seminole sidelines, instead defensive line coach Odell Haggins filled in as interim head coach following Willie Taggart’s dismissal.

Twenty of the Seminoles’ current 117-man roster (17.09 percent) played in that 2019 game. Fifteen of the players on FSU’s 2021 depth chart (21.12 percent) played in 2019 when 89,409 packed into Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Forty-two of the players on FSU’s 2021 two-deep roster were not on the FSU football team in 2019, compared to 22 of the Gators. While the entire Gator team has experienced the Swamp numerous times, the number of Gator players who played in the 2019 game is pretty equal. The Noles have six players on the roster who started in 2019 while the Gators have three with both teams having about 20 players who played in the game.

Fifteen of the 20 FSU players who played in 2019 are counted on the 2021 two-deep roster — including quarterback Jordan Travis — which will prove useful Saturday.

The six Seminoles who started in 2019 include center Baveon Johnson and left guard Brady Scott, defensive lineman Robert Cooper (2 tackles), linebacker Amari Gainer (7 tackles), defensive end Leonard Warner (8 tackles) and linebacker Emmett Rice (8 tackles).

Johnson and Scott are not expected to start this Saturday but will provide experienced backup. Cooper and Gainer are listed as starters and Warner and Rice, who have been re-habilitating injuries, will be game-day decisions.

The other nine players on FSU’s 2021 two-deep roster who participated in 2019 include Travis (five carries, seven yards, one touchdown and went 1 for 1 passing for six yards), center Maurice Smith, wide receiver Jordan Young, tight end Cam McDonald, linebacker Kalen DeLoach (1 tackle), safeties Akeem Dent (4 tackles, one for loss), Brendon Gant (4 tackles, 1 for loss) and Renardo Green, and specialist kicker Parker Grothaus (1 tackle).

Offensive linemen Jalen Goss and Ira Henry are not listed on the 2021 depth chart but did participate in the 2019 game, as well as linebacker Jaleel McRae (1 tackle), defensive linemen Tru Thompson (3 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack) and Dennis Briggs, who will not play after sustained a season-ending injury early in the 2021 season.

Florida State will go to Gainesville on Saturday determined not to let age stand in the way of what would be a beautiful win.