Fan Take: Temper expectations?
By: RON aka GATORBOGEY
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Thanks to gatorbogey for providing us with our next edition of "Fan Take," and remember that if you take the time to write out a well-reasoned or helpful post on Gators sports, you could be next! gatorbogey writes:
For the upcoming season, should expectations be lowered?
Most of the optimism, especially offensively, is based, from my observation, on what I would term as ‘Faith.’ There’s really no basis for it, in my opinion. Of course, feel free to knock holes in my rationalizations.
1. Coaching Continuity - More changes on the offense. While we think we’ve upgraded at offensive line coach and coordinator - that may be wishful thinking. Change like this may take a year to take hold [or not]. The new offensive coordinator is still learning the personnel. Players may take a while to get all the plays down pat the way Brent Pease wants them run.
1a: Strength and Conditioning Coach - We had someone in that position that DID provide some continuity over several years. Now, a change. We ‘think’ we’ve upgraded. It remains to be seen, though. Just making a change in routines/approach might help [or not].
1b: Head coach still learning on the job - No doubt, improvements will be made, but, likely, mistakes will be made. Personally, I think even seasoned veterans constantly learn and work to improve their craft....and that applies to second year coaches, two-fold.
2. Offensive Line - Sort of a weak point last season. Another year in the ‘system’ helps, but we’ve sort of switched up the system on them again. I would expect a few blown assignments along the course of the season...may cost a game or two.
3. Running Backs - We’ve kinda cobbled together the RB corps, converted RBs. While I give a big nod to the coaches for this, that shows a glaring hole. Are we justified in thinking we’ll get a lot of production from them? To me: just be overjoyed if, in fact, they do reasonably well and out-produce last season’s group. On paper, though, we shouldn’t be all that optimistic? I mean, if our rivals were in our situation, we’d be berating them...right? [Similarly with the OL].
4. Wide Receivers - Do we have any really established playmakers here? Nope. Again, if you were to look at this group objectively, you can be expecting ‘too much’ from them. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
5. Quarterbacks - Again: TOTALLY unproven and relatively inexperienced group. We can see the tools. We can have hope. We can have faith. But, the reality is for the offense to work and work at its most effective level, you need experienced talent at this position. Throw in the fact that these relative newbies get a new coordinator and position coach, well, it may take a year for them to really gel.
6. Defense - Should be good here. Optimism is justified, in my opinion. Where are the possible issues? Depth along the defensive line? Developing a defensive end that regularly pressures/sacks the opposing quarterback? A relatively young secondary? A run-stuffing linebacker? You can still find some reasons to temper the optimism a bit, though, right?
7. Special Teams - Reliable return men are needed here. That is a question mark. Punter(s) and kicker(s) return. Just hope for improvement in consistency from them. Coverage team, really no change in expectations from any other year. We’ll see what they can do from game to game.
What other thoughts do you have? Or, do you have a differing opinion? Comments welcomed below!
4 Comments so far
Our offense can only get better and less predictable from the last two seasons. With greater options both at QB and in our running game, our passing game should experience major improvement.
As much as I loved and respected Brantley for toughing it out, he wasn’t the William Wallace leader that the team needed. Heck he wasn’t Robert the Bruce. The team lacked fundamental leadership on offense.
The QB that needs to start this year given the physical and statistical numbers are virtually indistinguishable is the one that commands the huddle and rallys the team. We all saw the benefits of that paradigm with Mr. Tebow and Mr. Leak.
If and when one of them convinces a bunch of 6’4” and 6’5” 320 lb. guys to “bleed for him” Florida’s offense will turn the page.
Defensively its another story. We have plenty of experienced personnel and even though injuries have taken their toll, there should be enough of an infrastructure to shut down opponents. Conditioning and depth will play factors in how much we can replicate and improve on our performance on defense from last yeear.
One key area is getting our short yardage defense entrenched. There have to be some incentives set up like fewer laps in practice for motivation.
After coaching for a long time, it was obvious that defense and the ability to run the ball are keys to a successful football team. Realizing that we all know this, and that our defense should be solid and emphasis on the downhill running game this spring, there is hope.
Head coach still learning on the job? Find me one that is not. He hit the percect storm last year, not only coming into a mess, a couple of hires that did not work out (Thank you Kansas), a quarterback, that when healthy, struggled, true freshman being force to play in key positions and times, we will only get better.
Problem is, as I have said before, the standard has been set, three times, and anything else, is unacceptable to many. I went 44-4 over four years, won two state championships, and start 1-2 and get booed at a pep rally.
I remember watching florida get beat unmercifully by LSU last year and my brother ( who is not at all a florida fan ) was getting enraged at the predictability of the offense. with larger running backs in the backfield and the improved offensive line
( hopefully ). Florida may not be a BCS contender this year but they have the potential to be soon. A good many of Florida’s divisional games could have gone either way last year. with a little more experience on this years team, those close ones are a little more likely to go our way this year than they were last year. If the running game can manage an average year and the quarterback play is not horrible, I think our defense can really help us compete for the east title this year.
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|Clermont (Fla.) Montverde Academy|
|Bonifay (Fla) Holmes County|
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