Fall camp is over and done with for the Florida Gators, and now it’s time to prepare for next week’s opponent in the Idaho Vandals. Football season is finally here, ladies and gentlemen!
With camp finally wrapped up, we leave you with one final update on all of the key things that happened over the last week.
The coaching staff continues to marvel over quarterback Jeff Driskel, the offensive line continues to take steps forward and a certain defender seems to be back on the right track. Oh, and coach Will Muschamp was the latest to take one for the team.
Offensive Line Has Made Progress
Florida’s offensive line depth has been a major concern this offseason. While the Gators have one of the top starting offensive lines in the SEC on paper, the backup unit is inexperienced and raises a cause for concern.
Head coach Will Muschamp addressed this issue last week, according to Antonya English of the Tampa Bay Times.
"Depth on both lines of scrimmage, especially on the offensive line," Muschamp said. "Again, I feel really comfortable probably with seven guys right now. We need to have eight or nine. That's a critical issue."
With Chaz Green and D.J. Humphries injury-prone and the physical toll it takes to play in the SEC, Florida needs quality depth in the trenches. However, Kurt Roper seems to be just fine with his offensive line with the season opener about a week away. Florida’s new offensive coordinator doesn’t seem worried, according to Thomas Goldkamp of 247Sports.
"I think we're pretty good there," Roper said. "We've got to go play a game. You like to take it one game at a time and not get too far ahead of yourself but I think we've got a good group. I really do."
Speaking of Humphries, Muschamp really likes what he sees from his left tackle.
Muschamp: #Gators LT D.J. Humphries "is a better player than he was at any time last year."— Jeff Barlis (@JeffBarlisESPN) August 18, 2014
Depth concerns or not, Florida has to hope it can avoid the injury bug in order to stick with the five starting offensive linemen who give the team the best chance to win.
Antonio Morrison Is Back
Although he finished second on the team in tackles last season, Antonio Morrison didn’t exactly have the sophomore year many expected. It started with off-the-field issues, suspensions and then showing up overweight and not being the explosive player he was as a freshman.
With the past behind him, Morrison expects to be a completely different player and live up to expectations, according to Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel.
"I don't even like thinking about last year anymore," he said. "We learned from it and we know what to do this year. Win."
Morrison's personal goals: “I just want to win, man. I just want to win. I just want to win, thats it. I dont care as long as we’re winning”— OnlyGators.com (@onlygators) August 19, 2014
It all started with dropping weight, as Morrison is a healthy 220-225 pounds, according to the report, instead of the 240-plus he was last season. That will certainly allow him to be more effective and become a bigger part of what projects to be one of the top defenses in the country.
Defensive lineman Darious Cummings likes what he sees from his teammate, per Thompson.
He's going into this year like he has a chip on his shoulder because he didn't play as well as he wanted to last year. And so, just the fact that he hurt himself and the fact of stuff that happened off the field, too, he feels like he has a lot more to prove.
And it's rubbing off on us, too.
With a healthy and motivated Morrison along with the rest of Florida's defensive talent, the Gators should have no problem possessing one of the better defenses in college football.
With fall camp pretty much in the books, it’s only right we leave you with one last quarterback update. After all, it’s been the ongoing story throughout Florida’s offseason.
Updates with Jeff Driskel remain positive. He’s adjusting to the speed of his new offense, making quicker decisions and is starting to look more like an actual quarterback. Although the one thing that has really caught Roper’s eye is his confidence, according to Robbie Andreu of Gator Sports.
I guess since I’ve been here, he’s a confident guy. He’s got a great look in his eye. He’s a bright-eyed guy. I don’t think he’s ever lacked confidence. I think where you see the confidence growing is in understanding what we’re doing offensively.
The more understanding you have, the faster you can make decisions, the faster you can play. You have to be able to play fast and be decisive. I think that’s probably the most important attribute a guy has is being decisive as a quarterback. I think I see his confidence growing in that realm.
It's no secret that Driskel has been heavily criticized throughout his Florida career, and if that hasn't rattled him yet, nothing will. It's always good to have a confident quarterback and somebody who can focus on the next play.
As for the backup position, Florida's coaching staff has as many answers as they did before practice began, per Robbie Andreu.
“Right now, really no separation at quarterback behind Jeff,” Muschamp said. “We'll continue to work throughout the week. We don't have a definite timetable on that right now. Just after watching the film on Saturday there was some good and bad. We'll continue to work through that.”
The job will likely be decided between freshmen Will Grier and Treon Harris.
Muschamp was the latest to get involved in the Ice Bucket Challenge after being called out by Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
Way to go, coach!