There is no doubt that Florida Gators Head Coach Will Muschamp isn’t getting much sleep this spring in Gainesville.
His Gators are basically replacing an entire defense and are looking at quite possibly the toughest schedule in all of the BCS in 2013. Add to the list that no one, including Muschamp, believes his team can put up 20 or more points in a lot of games this season. Mix all that together and things are not looking good at all for Florida.
The formula for last season in keeping the game close with defense and picking up enough big plays to win ballgames isn’t going to be able to get the job done in 2013. Muschamp knows he has to be more aggressive and find a better balance in the Gators’ offensive attack. But what he doesn’t know yet is if he has the talent to get the job done. Can Jeff Driskel be the leader he needs to be on the field? Sure he can, but Driskel needs weapons so that he is not carrying the ball as much and speedsters on the outside he can trust to catch the ball.
Florida built its name and its program on dynamic play makers on both sides of the ball. Not just one or two here or there, but six or seven year in and year out. Yes, there is Braxton Skinner, Trey Burton, Matt Jones and Clay Burton, but who else? Do Gator fans expect Andre Debose at 5-11 to be the difference maker on the outside or the possession receiver in the slot?
Now there is potential with the likes of freshmen WR Demarcus Robinson and Jacob Brandenburg who have the size and the speed to make a difference to keep defenses honest, but they are freshmen who will be playing in the SEC so all bets are off until they are battled tested in a few games.
So when you add this to a brutal schedule and one where the Gators’ bye week is on September 14, things could get ugly for Florida. It is very possible the Gators could be 4-3 as they enter their big rival game with the Georgia Bulldogs on November 2. And 4-3 is being optimistic if you want brutal honesty.
A powerful and dynamic offense will solve a lot of problems. But when you can’t even have enough healthy offensive linemen for two teams in the spring game along with the questions at the skill positions, things are shaping up to be extremely tough in Gainesville in 2013.
M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.
Follow him @woodysmalls.