Two seasons ago he was the hot name in spring and fall camp. The player that coaches and other players singled out as someone who was ready to make an impact on the field.
Dunbar struggled to make that impact, but in all fairness, the receivers as a group all struggled to make a big impact for Florida last season. Part of that was due to the uncertainty at quarterback, which kept either quarterback from building a solid relationship on the field with his receivers.
“Just last year, we didn’t know who the starting quarterback was going to be. Neither of them [Driskel and Brissett] could really get a grasp of the receivers because they didn’t know which one was going to play,” Dunbar said on Tuesday. “They both got equal reps, so it’s kind of hard if you’re not getting most of the reps to get the routes down pat with the receivers.”
A new year has begun and the same name is coming out of coaches and players mouths’: Quinton Dunbar. But what is different this year? What will turn Dunbar’s offseason success into success on Saturday’s this fall and tangible numbers at receiver?
It starts with the weight room. Dunbar admittedly wasn’t a big fan of the weight room when he got on campus, but that has changed now.
“We felt like it was never my playing ability, it was more of [me getting in the] weight room.” Dunbar said. “At first I didn’t like the weight room, but as I progress, I got better in the weight room, got stronger and got my weight up.”
He didn’t realize it early on in his career but Dunbar now sees the value of getting into the weight room and putting in the work to get bigger and stronger.
“Strength plays a big part in your route,” Dunbar said. “Because every route you’re not going to beat a cornerback off the ball totally, so when he gives you a little nudge, you have you able to take that nudge and still get into your route.”
Another thing that will aid Dunbar – and the rest of the offense – is familiarity with the playbook. For the first time in a long time, the Gators offense will be able to use a playbook for more than one season. That is something that Dunbar says is helping everyone on offense play faster.
“Just knowing the playbook. I mean, we’re out there playing fast.” Dunbar said. “When you know what you’re doing, it’s easy to go out there but when you don’t it’s hard.”
The last reason that this season looks to be the breakout year for Dunbar is that he is stepping into and accepting a leadership role on the team. Dunbar has taken the younger receivers under his wing, showing them how to do things both on and off the field.
“Just leading by example, showing what I can do, helping the younger guys when they need help and being in the front of every line,” Dunbar said. “I feel like it’s very important just to show them how things go so they won’t slip up.”
In order to improve on the nation’s 118th ranked passing offense, the Gators will need everyone on offense – Driskel, the line and the receivers – to get on the same page this season, Dunbar believes that the team is ready to do that and to take the next step.
“I just feel like everybody is competing,” He said. “Everybody has a chip on their shoulder, so they’re trying to go out and show what they can do.”