SEC Football Q&A: Will Florida's Struggles Continue in 2014?

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterDecember 19, 2013

Florida QB Jeff Driskel
Florida QB Jeff DriskelSteve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Every Thursday, we feature questions from the Bleacher Report inbox, Twitter and email at bsallee@bleacherreport.com.

You have SEC questions, and I have SEC answers. Thank you for your questions. If I didn't get to them this week, they will be saved and used in the future.

And we're off! 

 

@BarrettSallee will Florida continue its struggles into next year?

— Trevor (@TrevorK15) December 19, 2013

It's almost impossible to answer right now since a new offensive coordinator hasn't been named. But since head coach Will Muschamp seems open to the idea of installing an uptempo offense that has more spread elements, I'm led to believe that an immediate turnaround is possible.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp
Florida head coach Will MuschampKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

That is, of course, assuming quarterback Jeff Driskel, running back Matt Jones and several offensive linemen return at 100 percent.

The biggest obstacles facing the Gators are a new offensive system that will take some time to get used to and a schedule that, in addition to its cross-division rivalry game with LSU, sends them to Alabama on Sept. 20.

The talent on defense is there. If Muschamp hires an offensive coordinator who allows the athleticism of the depth chart to shine through, the Gators will be competitive in the SEC East in no time.

Florida QB Jeff Driskel
Florida QB Jeff DriskelAl Messerschmidt/Getty Images

 

@BarrettSallee Why so few accolades for Connor Shaw this year?

— Travelin (@lorickj) December 19, 2013

It's not a knock against Connor Shaw's career, that's for sure.

He put together quite a career at South Carolina, posting a 26-5 record as a starting quarterback, including a 17-0 record at home. He was phenomenal this season, completing 61 percent of his passes (158-of-259) for 2,135 yards, 21 touchdowns and only one interception.

South Carolina QB Connor Shaw
South Carolina QB Connor ShawStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

There was one problem, though: He was fighting an uphill battle for recognition within his own conference.

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has a Heisman Trophy on his shelf and video game statistics under his name, Georgia signal-caller Aaron Murray has career stats that put him among the SEC's all-time greats and Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron's career achievements can't be ignored—even for awards that are explicitly not for career achievement.

Being a model of efficiency on a team that didn't make the SEC Championship Game in any of the last three seasons isn't going to get anybody above that fray.

It's not a good answer, nor is it a fair answer. But Shaw's absence from award ceremonies and All-SEC teams is a direct result of a crowded field that got more exposure than Shaw did, not only this season but throughout their respective careers. 

South Carolina QB Connor Shaw
South Carolina QB Connor ShawStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

 

@BarrettSallee what do think about the Hootie Jones de-commitment and where he'll end up on signing day?

— Matthew Sewell (@MatthewSewell6) December 19, 2013

I'm not one who gets torn up with de-commitments and players not "living up to their word." The recruiting world is one that is founded in semantics on both sides, and if a player feels uncomfortable or needs more time to make his decision despite "committing," he should take that time.

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 25:   A LSU Tigers helmet is held up after a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Tiger Stadium on November 25, 2011 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The Tigers defeated the Razorbacks 41 to 17.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Coaches can pull offers based on room or needs, so players shouldn't feel pressure to stick to verbal commitments in an ever-changing landscape.

As far as where he ends up, it certainly looks good for LSU.

Jones, a 4-star safety from Monroe, La., had offers from several big-name programs. But his recruitment had narrowed down to Alabama and the in-state Tigers before he committed to the Tide in early December. 

Common sense says that, since LSU was near the top of his list before he committed, that it'd still be there now that his recruitment is open again. 

 

Do you have a question for next week's Q&A? Send it to SEC lead writer Barrett Sallee via the B/R inbox, on Twitter @BarrettSallee or at bsallee@bleacherreport.com.