Florida Football: Recapping the Biggest 2014 Offseason News so Far
It’s been a surprisingly quiet offseason for the Florida Gators. That may be a good thing for the fans, as it’s an indication that guys are working hard, hoping to bounce back after last year’s disappointments and are staying out of trouble.
There have been some newsworthy stories involving the team, but for the most part everybody seems focused on the task at hand. They are simply waiting for the season to begin.
The biggest news for the Gators this offseason mainly involves two transfers. Florida lost a key defensive back, but received a crucial offensive weapon. Other than that, it’s mainly been a snooze fest for Florida these past few months.
Andre Debose Gets a Sixth Season
Wide receiver Andre Debose received a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA, granting him a sixth season. Of course, this comes after the speedy wideout tore his ACL during fall camp and missed all of last season.
Some may say this isn’t a big deal. After all, Debose has been a major bust for Florida. However, if he was ever going to have a breakout season and finally play to his potential, it would be this season. Not only is Florida desperate for offensive playmakers, but Debose has the explosiveness offensive coordinator Kurt Roper needs for this offense to be successful.
Somebody must be able to take the top off a defense, and Debose can do just that when healthy.
He has the ability to be a game changer for the Gators offense this season.
Talks Resume for Possible Florida-Miami Matchup
A couple of months ago, it seemed like we had seen the last of the Florida-Miami rivalry. While it isn’t nearly as big as the annual Florida-Florida State matchup, it’s always fun to see two elite in-state programs battle it out on the gridiron.
It seems like both schools have now come to their senses and begun speaking again. According to ESPN, the rivalry may be renewed on a neutral site, such as Orlando.
They could play in China for all I care. Just get these two teams on the field.
Unfortunately, Pat Dooley of Gator Sports reports that this matchup is nowhere close to being finalized and predicts we likely won’t see a game scheduled until 2023.
I guess college football fans will take what they can get at this point. Anything is better than nothing.
Cody Riggs Leaves for Notre Dame
Florida had the seventh best pass defense in the country last season, allowing 171.8 passing yards per game. Cody Riggs was a big part of that success, as he was fourth on the team with 51 tackles and broke up three passes in 12 starts at safety.
After graduating from Florida, Riggs decided to transfer to Notre Dame.
Riggs didn’t just bring experience to Florida’s defensive backfield. He was a versatile player who could play either safety or cornerback. Talent isn’t an issue in the secondary, but depth is an even bigger issue with this transfer.
Young players such as Marcus Maye and Marcell Harris are going to have to grow up quickly.
Jake McGee Transfers to Florida
While improvement at quarterback and wide receiver was certainly needed for the Gators, they also needed help at tight end. Roper’s offensive system relies a lot on the position, where Florida produced only four receptions last season.
That’s not going to get it done.
Florida received its biggest offseason news when Jake McGee decided to transfer from Virginia to fill the much-needed position. McGee hauled in 71 passes for 769 yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons with the Cavaliers. He’s a big, athletic player who can help stretch the field and, most importantly, get into the end zone.
This transfer couldn’t have come at a better time and was terrific news for a Florida team that hasn’t had much of that in the last year.
Florida's Offense Has Somewhat Improved
In the Gators spring game, they produced more than 400 first-half yards and ran 68 plays. The tempo was quicker, there was life and things just looked different than they did a year ago.
From the looks of it, Florida’s offense appeared to have made drastic strides.
Let’s not get carried away just yet, though.
Quarterback Jeff Driskel still has a ways to go before anybody can feel confident he can lead this team. The receivers need to do a better job of holding the ball, too. Even the offensive line has a couple of kinks it can iron out.
After all, it was just a spring game. The defense was severely handicapped with strict rules.
Still, the Gators will take what they can get, and what they got was an impressive performance given the circumstances. That’s great news if you’re a Florida fan.