Now that the Florida Gators' spring practices are over and players are on their own for a few months, coach Will Muschamp has nothing but time on his hands. Some of that time will be spent recruiting. Other hours will be used up on studying film and what not. The other days will be spent worrying about the lingering issues heading into fall camp.
Like any team, Florida has its fair share of concerns that need to be addressed before the opening kickoff against Idaho. But there’s really only a couple that should keep coach up at night.
The wide receiver rotation will figure itself out. The defense has the pieces to once again be one of college football’s best. And the offensive line looked promising in the spring game for whatever that’s worth.
Sure, the Gators have other areas that need answers, but it’s these two touchy subjects that are certainly playing in the back of Muschamp’s mind every time he steps in his office.
Forget the offensive concerns, depth issues, what the schedule looks like or anything else that is occupying your mind until the regular season arrives.
Florida has got to get healthy.
The Gators entered the spring the same way they finished last season: Banged up. Running back, defensive line and linebacker, many players who are expected to be key contributors weren’t even on the field during spring ball. While Florida had a ton of issues that led to last season’s failure, having players drop like flies certainly didn’t help.
Kurt Roper’s adjustments and the improvement of Jeff Driskel don’t matter much if half the team’s starters are holding a clipboard on the sidelines. Granted, it’s not that serious yet, but remember last season? Florida’s injury list was longer than many rappers' arrest records.
Forget how the team looked during the spring game. A successful offseason is having a team that’s 100 percent healthy when the games actually matter. This is the top priority with everything else taking a backseat.
Getting Driskel Comfortable
You just can’t escape it. Like it or not, this season is going to come down to whether or not Driskel can take his game to another level under Roper.
Driskel looked OK in the spring game, completing 18 of 32 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown. Remember, that was his first game-like action since suffering a season-ending injury early last year. However, timing was clearly off and he still had trouble hitting open receivers.
Instead of hitting an open receiver down the sideline, the ball sailed out of bounds a couple of times. A few passes were thrown behind receivers or in the dirt, and the lone touchdown pass was due to Demarcus Robinson making a sweet move to shake a defender in the open field.
It’s fair to say backup Skyler Mornhinweg was the sharper quarterback of the two, but that’s for a different time and place.
While it’s way too early to bail on Driskel, and he’s sure to improve spending more time with the new offensive coordinator, there’s still a lot of progress that needs to be made between now and August.
If the players can get through these next few months without breaking any bones and Driskel irons out a few wrinkles, everything else for the Gators will fall into place for a bounce-back season.