Will Muschamp Close to Solving Offensive Issues Before the Start of the Season

Randy ChambersAnalyst IApril 21, 2014

Florida's new Offensive Coordinator Kurt Roper, right, calls out instructions as he works with quarterbacks Will Grier (7) and Jeff Driskel (6) prior to the University of Florida's 2014 Orange & Blue Debut football game Saturday, April 12, 2014 in Gainesville, Fla.  (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)
Phil Sandlin

Until the results change in a game that actually matters, the Florida Gators will be considered a talented team with an offense that couldn’t move the ball the length of a coffee table. So, even though the Gators looked much improved offensively in the spring game a week ago, Florida fans still remember 122 passing yards in a loss to Georgia Southern.

You can almost envision Will Muschamp in a dungeon somewhere slaving over game film in hopes of finding the answer.

Truth is, there’s no magic wand that’s going to turn things around or make a Percy Harvin 2.0 and the second coming of Tim Tebow appear. The Gators can only keep doing what they’ve been doing, and that’s working hard under offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, buying into the new offense and eventually knowing the plays better than Aaron Craft knows Pi.

Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.
Offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.Phil Sandlin

Over the next few months, players and coaches will have limited contact. That means until fall camp rolls around, it’s up to the players to put the work in and come together as a team to get this offense moving in the right direction. This time of year is all about timing and getting on the right page with your teammates, as quarterback Jeff Driskel told Robbie Andreu of Gator Sports.  

The summer is for timing on the offensive side. We’re going to have to throw a lot and get our timing down. You can’t go back into fall camp without being in rhythm. So we’re going to have to do that, but we’re used to that. We’ve done that the past few summers. It’s nothing new to us, and we’re looking forward to it.

Timing seems to be the key to making this offense work. The players and talent are there, but it’s a new system and a quarterback who has been out of action for nearly an entire season.

Driskel completed only 56.25 percent of his passes in the spring game, as many of his passes sailed out of bounds or were underthrown. Getting comfortable with everybody on the field, knowing when the ball is supposed to come out and where receivers like the football could improve Driskel by leaps and bounds, which improves the offense by a great deal.

Truthfully, if you look at the players on the roster and the progress they showed in the spring game, you shouldn’t be as concerned about this unit as you were a few months ago.

Tell Muschamp he can stop watching replays of the 48 combined turnovers over the last two seasons. Yes, the spring game is nothing more than a glorified practice, and the defense is as vanilla as it gets. However, keep in mind that the Gators would have struggled scoring on some high school teams last season.

There was confidence shown, receivers were actually holding onto the football and running backs were getting more than two yards and a cloud of dust. Even though they were playing against teammates, the Gators offense looked nothing like last year’s unit.

Muschamp told Jeff Barlis of ESPN how happy he is with the progress the players have made in a short amount of time.

I'm extremely pleased with the day offensively with 15 practices and how far we've come. I think you can attribute all that to [new coordinator] Kurt Roper and the offensive staff and the job they've done. 

Our kids have been very receptive and have confidence in what we're doing. I think it's a good fit moving forward.

With the jump the Gators have already made, it’s logical to believe that another three months would produce an offense that could score more than 17 points against Vanderbilt.  

Like it or not, Driskel has a lot of upside and a skill set that should thrive in this uptempo offense. The running back depth is loaded, with Kelvin Taylor leading the way. Demarcus Robinson has All-SEC wide receiver written all over him. The Gators also have an experienced offensive line that should fare much better in pass protection than a year ago.

Yes, the offense still has some tweaking that needs to be done. But you can at least sleep well at night knowing that Florida is ahead of the curve. There's a lot less offensive issues to worry about. 


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