The Florida Gators have high hopes for the 2013 season, but there is one player who must step forward in a big way if the Gators are to reach their lofty goals this year.
That player, of course, is the much-maligned Jeff Driskel. Last season was a disappointment for Driskel, but Florida was able to win at a high rate despite his inefficiency. However, the 2013 season will be different.
Will Muschamp proved last season that he would like to win in the Southeastern Conference by playing great defense and running the ball effectively. The Gators were able to do both of those things last year, but 2013 figures to be a different story.
The Florida defense, under Muschamp’s direction, was new to the SEC. Offensive coordinators have now had time to study the defense, and will be ready to attack it this fall.
However, the more glaring change for Florida is that Mike Gillislee is no longer in the backfield. Last season, Gillislee was a workhorse for the Gators, carrying the ball 244 times for 1,152 yards and 10 touchdowns. That production is gone, and the Gators must find other ways to move the ball.
That’s where Driskel comes in. While he did complete 63.7% of his passes last season, he only threw for 1,646 yards, with just 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Driskel must improve his passing numbers this fall for Florida to once again approach double-digit wins. Florida also needs to find a reliable running back or two to carry the load on offense if Driskel is not effective.
Florida did post an 11-2 record last season, but there were serious doubts about the team after the Sugar Bowl loss to the Louisville Cardinals. If the Gators can use that game as motivation, and if Driskel can improve his play, Florida should be in the mix for the SEC title.