True mixed bag

College : : Story
Kendall Rogers        
Published: Monday, January 28, 2013

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The departures of several productive players often can be the death knell for programs the next season, but fortunately for Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan, his program is anything but normal talent-wise.

The Gators have an outstanding group of less experienced players and freshmen who should provide an immediate impact, but there's no doubt they'll have huge shoes to fill and lofty expectations to meet.

To say the Gators' junior and senior classes from last season turned the tide for this program might not quite be doing them justice. The Gators played SEC rival South Carolina for the national title two seasons ago before once again reaching the College World Series last season and going 0-2 with tough losses to the Gamecocks and Kent State. Still, this group left behind some fantastic memories, including a sensational 100-39 (72 percent) overall record, 40-20 (67 percent) SEC record the last two seasons.

O'Sullivan and the Gators are confident they'll have the ability to move forward in a big way at some point during the 2013 campaign, but they're cautious about their situation. After all, they lost seven players, including National Player of the Year and catcher Mike Zunino and a total of four top five-round picks.

"It's a double-edged sword this season. We'll certainly miss those guys being part of this program, especially considering they were around for three or four years," O'Sullivan said. "By the same token, we've got a lot of guys either new or who have been waiting in the wings to prove themselves. It's now their time to step up, but there's no doubt we have some question marks."



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