Florida Gators in Search of Playmakers

By Tim Letcher
John David Mercer, USA TODAY SPORTS

The Florida Gators once ran an offense that was called the “Fun-n-Gun” because of its ability to throw the ball and put points on the board.

Gator fans would love to return to that style of offense, but last season’s team struggled to score. Florida ranked 10th out of the 14 Southeastern Conference teams in scoring last season (26.5 points per game), and the Gators were 14th, dead last, in passing offense (146 yards per game).

For things to improve in Gainesville this year, the Gators are going to need some playmakers to emerge on offense. It all starts with quarterback Jeff Driskel, who passed for 1,646 yards last season. However, Driskel had only 12 touchdown passes and threw five interceptions. The Florida signal caller must improve those numbers this season, even if the Gators are able to rush the ball as efficiently as they did in 2012.

Other than Driskel, there are lots of questions on the offensive side of the ball. Running back Trey Burton returns for his senior season. Burton’s career started with a bang, but his production has dropped off over the last two seasons. Head coach Will Muschamp would love to see Burton rebound with a strong final season.

Quinton Dunbar was second on the team last season in receptions (36) and receiving yards (383). Dunbar finished last season with career highs of five receptions and 77 receiving yards in the Gators’ loss to the Louisville Cardinals in the Sugar Bowl.

Andre Debose had a nice sophomore season but caught only three passes last year as a junior. Debose was primarily a kick returner last season. If he can recapture the form of his 2011 season, Debose could be a contributor in 2013.

Florida will also have a pair of freshmen that might be able to help the cause. Wide receiver Demarcus Robinson should quickly become a primary target for Driskel. Robinson is a big receiver who is expected to contribute right away.

Running back Kelvin Taylor, son of former Gator Fred Taylor, is also expected to play immediately. The younger Taylor became the state of Florida’s all-time high school rushing leader during his junior season at Glades Day High School, breaking the record of another former Gator, Emmitt Smith.

If Florida hopes to improve on offense, some of these players must step up this fall. If none are able to do so, Florida could look the same as it did last year, a running team that relies heavily on its defense to win games.

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