August 23, 2014

Florida Gators

   Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |

  Florida coach Will Muschamp raised eyebrows at SEC football media days when he said this year's Gator squad is the most complete team he's had.

But there is hope that with the skill positions suitably stocked to Florida standards that the Gators will enjoy a quick turnaround from a disastrous 4-8 2013 season.

In his fourth year as head coach, Muschamp has yet to lead the Gators to the SEC title game and is squarely on the hot seat. But he feels good about a collection of receivers and running backs he thinks can make big plays in first-year offensive coordinator Kurt Roper's scheme. The Gators have scrapped their conventional, conservative I-formation offense for a no-huddle offense with spread elements.

"The key ingredients offensively, we're better than we've been," Muschamp said. "Defensively, we're not as talented as we were in 2012, but I do think we have the key ingredients."

The key will be keeping redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel healthy. Driskel went down with a broken leg after being hit from behind in a game against Tennessee and missed the final nine games of the 2013 season. Florida went just 2-7 with Driskel on the sidelines.

Driskel will have plenty of talented receivers to throw the ball to, led by fifth-year senior Quinton Dunbar, sixth-year senior Andre Debose and rising sophomores Demarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fulwood. Florida also improved its talent at the tight end position with the addition of Virginia transfer Jake McGee.

Junior Matt Jones, sophomore Kelvin Taylor and senior Mack Brown give the Gators depth at running back.

Driskel thinks Florida's skill position players will benefit from having the chance to make plays in space. Roper utilized that system at Duke last season, leading the Blue Devils to a school-record 54 touchdowns.

"Just watching Duke film from last year, a lot of guys are making a lot of plays," Driskel said. "Our guys are just going to insert themselves in those roles and think about all the yards they are going to have this year.