The 2008 season began with renewed promise as the majority of the Florida Gator starters returned to reclaim their hold on the SEC Eastern Division and another shot at the Conference Championship.
Multiple returning playmakers such as Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy hinted that the Gator Offense would run circles around their competition. The majority of the Defense also returned with high expectations. Even with the losses of a few key players during Fall practice, depth provided plenty of playmakers on the 2008 team.
After the first three games, I’m still undecided as to my impression of this year’s Gator team. If it were not for a much-improved Defense and potent Special-teams play, I’m not certain that the Gators would be 3-0 at this point.
The Gators may just have the most explosive Kick Returner with Brandon James. This young man has the potential to return every kick for a touchdown.
The potent Offense I expected to see has not played to their potential. I am puzzled with the lack of a consistent passing or running game. There is plenty of talent at the skilled positions.
I feel the coaches have not made enough adjustments in opening the Offense to where Tim Tebow can spread the ball around to the many talented playmakers. There are too many talented athletes with abilities that are not being utilized.
The one major weakness of this year’s team may just be the Offensive Line. Adjustments must be made with the O-Line in an effort to open up larger gaps for the multiple, talented Running Backs and providing Tim Tebow enough time to distribute the ball to the speedy Receivers. Tebow has not had the time to locate open Receivers down the field on a consistant basis.
The Defense has been impressive in limiting Hawaii, Miami, and Tennessee to minimal success. The Linebackers and Secondary play has improved tremendously and it shows. I do feel that the Defensive Line can play with more passion and place increased pressure on opposing Quarterbacks. The Defensive Ends need to step up their productivity and increase pressure from the outside.
Five of the top 10 teams are from the Southeastern Conference. The road to Atlanta is only going to get tougher the next few weeks. Let’s hope the Offensive coaching staff can make the needed adjustments to bring alive the sleeping giant that is the Gator Offense. If not, we may be looking at a repeat of last season. Anything short of a trip to Atlanta would be a disappointment.