April 7, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease talks to running back Hunter Joyer (41) during the first half of the Florida-Spring Game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE
There are five days until Florida's September 1 opener with Bowling Green. There are 51 entries left in the 100 For 100 series. When I come back like Jordan, wearin' the fo'-five, it ain't to play games wit' you.
So I had a class cancelled and a wild goose chase for a phantom course pack derail the course of my day, which is why we haven't gotten to any of the other parts of Bill Connelly's look at Florida like I said we would. But we will!
First, a look at part of why the offense might be better and faster than anticipated.
Pure athleticism and potential do allow for quicker turnarounds, however. If a new offensive coordinator is able to establish solid inside running with Mike Gillislee, teach Andre Debose to run something other than a Go route, find a few four-star youngsters ready to play like it, and establish some level of quality up front, then whoever wins the quarterback job will find the going much easier in 2012.
There's a lot of talent on Florida's offense (the only projected starter who didn't have at least four Rivals stars is Jon Halapio, who was and remains underrated), and the question is really about that "level of quality" more than anything. That's where Greg Luca's skepticism comes in.
Luca has an uncommonly @NotGregLuca-ish column in today's The Alligator, arguing that this Florida team is far from good on offense. Luca targets the line in particular, which he calls "horrendous" in its 2011 iteration:
The offensive linemen will tell you they can succeed because of chemistry and cohesion, then in the next breath say they don’t know who is starting where because reps are split so evenly.
They’ll tell you things will be different because of a new strength program, even though a lack of agility and technical ability had much more to do with 2011 struggles.
They’ll even tell you that another year of experience makes them better, but how much stock can really be put in that? With the exception of Chaz Green, who is entering his junior season, all four projected starters are beginning at least their fourth year on campus. I can buy freshman to sophomore jumps, and I can buy jumps from Year 2 to Year 3. But if you want to tell me that a guy who has been here for three years will suddenly bust out in season four, I’ll believe it when I see it.
This seems a little specious from the usually very sound Luca, who neglects to mention that the departure of Charlie Weis (which he hilariously terms "one of the game’s greatest offensive minds leav(ing) to take the head coaching gig at Kansas") also brought about the eviction of Frank Verducci from the role of offensive line coach.
Jeff Dillman's work with the players has been apparent, as bulk has been added to a line that needed it in 2011, but Luca's right about the agility and ability being more important ... so why didn't he mention that Florida now employs Tim Davis, who coached lines at USC that anchored teams that went 36-3 in his three years in Troy and allowed Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart to win Heisman Trophies? Surely, Davis, who has been an offensive line coach for about 20 years, knows a bit about coaching technique?
I'm cautiously optimistic about the Florida offense, even if I suspect I'm in the minority in thinking that the two-quarterback gambit is going to pay off, and even if I'm bullish on Brent Pease's ability to do Boise State things with Florida talent while zigging against the flow on offense. And while I see the reasons to be pessimistic, I think the reasons for optimism outnumber them.
We'll have to see it to believe it, though.