Florida Firepower: What To Expect From The Offense In 2011
As everybody knows, Florida's offense was atrocious in 2010. They never really found an identity and stumbled to an 8-5 season.
But Steve Addazio, the "mastermind" behind that offense, is gone.
Pause for a second to scream with joy.
OK, now on to the football part. Florida hired Charlie Weis, an offensive genius who is known as a top play-caller in football, to run their offense in 2011.
Here's what Florida fans can expect (aside from the pro-style offense; everybody has known that since the day Will Muschamp was hired).
Unpredictable, daring play-calling
Weis is known for being an excellent play-caller to start with. That said, Florida has the weapons to do pretty much whatever the hell they please on offense. Addazio was just too much of a p*ssy to use them.
This means that if Weis is in the mood to see the "Touchdown Gators!!!" graphic in the Swamp in a split second, he can call for a deep bomb to Deonte Thompson, Andre Debose, Chris Dunkley, JaJuan Story, Gerald Christian...or any of the other 4- or 5-star recruits. If Weis gets tired of seeing the graphic, he can run Mack Brown up the middle all day and pound it for first downs.
Will Florida's offense be better in 2011?
If he wants to bleed clock AND score, then he can run Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey or Mike Gillislee to the outside, and it'll happen.
This is almost a guarantee to happen. Assuming there are no major injuries, Florida's offense will return to being the exciting, high-powered offense it was under Dan Mullen just three years ago.
Andre Debose will be more involved
How Addazio never even tried his hand with this guy amazes me. I mean, we all know he's an idiot, but there's GOT to be a limit. There is no excuse for missing on this guy's talent. I think what happened is that Addazio mistook Debose for some kind of wizard on campus because everybody's always talking about how every time he touches the ball, something magical happens. Expect that to change NOW.
Debose, whether he likes it or not, has drawn comparisons to Percy Harvin. I'm not going there right now. What I will say is that this kid definitely has the potential to be a game-changer. His lightning speed and nearly four-foot lateral jukes (3'10") all rolled into one make him a nightmare for even the stingiest defense. Oh, and he's also got great hands.
Charlie Weis is no dummy. He knows what he is doing, and unless Debose is injured, there's no way he doesn't become a big part of this offense.
Is John Brantley going to have a breakout senior season?
John Brantley will throw a successful deep ball at least two or three times a game
Again, Weis knows what he's doing. This includes the fact that nothing can take the air out of a defense or an opposing crowd like a deep bomb TD. He's worked with Tom Brady before, and he's definitely capable of turning John Brantley into a deep threat.
Brantley himself is not a bad QB—he's actually a pretty damned good one. But again, nobody misuses players or does more with less talent than Addazio. Rather, it was the unbelievably stupid decision to run a spread, option-oriented offense with a drop-back, pro-style QB that won the National Player of the Year in high school and broke Tim Tebow's TD passes record.
Here's my take on Brantley: Not a statue in the pocket, he can run surprisingly fast if he has to, but his arm is a much bigger weapon. So the best way to utilize his talent is to allow him to air it out. Again, Brantley can run as a last resort, but if given a choice, he'll throw—and pretty well, I might add.
Jeff Driskel will get some valuable playing time
This isn't to say that Muschamp will pull Brantley for no reason at halftime in a tie game against Georgia, but I do believe that Jeff Driskel will get a shot at running the offense a little bit. He's a legitimate drop-back passer, just like Brantley, with a rocket arm to boot.
Is Deonte Thompson going to have a breakout senior season?
Unlike Brantley, however, Driskel isn't afraid to lower his shoulder and power forward for an extra yard. At least, that's what he did in high school. Obviously, the SEC is not high school. We shall see about this.
Deonte Thompson will be heavily leaned on to finally have a breakout year
For three years now, Gator fans have been hearing about how fast and explosive Deonte Thompson is. But with every story about how this burner streaked from the Belle Glade cane fields and into the Florida football program, Florida fans get more anxious: What the hell is going on with Thompson?
Here's his chance to show everybody just how idiotic Steve Addazio really is. With Florida running an offense to fit Thompson's style, his blazing speed will be depended on. He doesn't have the greatest hands in the world, but they aren't awful either. So if he uses his 4.18 speed to torch defenders and get in the clear, he's going to catch at least some of the deep balls.
But he's going to be depended on to produce big time as the younger but equally fast skill players develop. Whether he finally has that breakout year or not will go a long way in telling just how good Florida is in 2011.
Will Florida's run game hit the home run every game?
Florida will hit some home runs in the running game
The Gators have enough speed to form an Olympic track team: Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey, Mike Gillislee and Andre Debose all run 4.3 40s or less. Unlike last year, they will all see significant playing time. This year, they've got a play-caller who knows what to do with them.
Under Addazio, Demps, Debose and Gillislee all saw limited action, if any, and Rainey saw a bit when he returned from suspension. But it was not due to injury, as Addazio claimed. Being the dunce that he is, he had a rule that if players didn't practice with great emotion, they wouldn't play. For good reason, the fans get pissed when they hear this. To avoid fans coming for his head, players that didn't practice with high emotion were called "sprained ankle game time decisions."
Obviously, this is no longer in effect. Each and every one of these players will get a shot, even in a pro-style offense, or perhaps especially in a pro-style offense, to break a big one. No longer will running plays be called in order to gain three yards.
Florida's young defense will be nasty and physical to set up the offense
Litter the field with 4- and 5-star talent, throw in a blitz-happy, attacking defensive-minded coach and this defense will be lights out. Expect Muschamp to dial up blitzes on nearly every down. Sharrif Floyd, Dominique Easley, Jelani Jenkins, Jaylen Watkins—the list goes on and on of young but extremely gifted defenders. The defense should remain as fast as ever, as that's one of the top things on Muschamp's list of priorities when recruiting defenders.
Because of this, expect turnovers to be forced quite often. As a result of this, Florida should get help with a layup touchdown or two a game. This can fuel an offense for quite some time, knowing that the defense has its back. There will probably be times when Florida only has to go 20 yards for a TD or, even better, watch as the defense scores on its own.
Trey Burton's days as a QB are done
There's no room for him anymore, even as a pure Wildcat QB. You've got Brantley, Driskel and Jordan Reed all fighting for the position. Rest assured, Gator fans, Burton was a very productive tight end. He is very dangerous in the open field and can block at a much higher level than one would think looking at his size. Expect him to either win the starting job or play as the second tight end, as he is simply too versatile to keep off the field.
Florida will be dangerous next year and far better than people think. Go ahead, people—write them off. Watch what happens.
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